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New Law Allows Not Wearing a Seat Belt to be Admissible Evidence in Court

New Law Allows Not Wearing a Seat Belt to be Admissible Evidence in Court

In 1974, the contributory-negligence system could deny a plaintiff from seeking recovery if they had even a shred of involvement in causing the accident. A law was passed, stating that the issue of whether or not a person was wearing a seat belt could not be considered admissible in court. This could not be used as evidence and could not render a plaintiff partially to blame.

Now, the reform in the law supports a contributory-negligence system. This means that plaintiffs who file lawsuits over car accidents can now be considered partially at-fault if there is evidence.

Reversing Judgments on Previously Won Cases

An accident in 2003 involving a family travelling in their minivan was struck by a transport truck working for Nabors Well Services. Most of the family members were ejected from their seats and sustained serious injuries, and one child was killed. During testimony in court, some members of the family revealed that they had not been wearing seat belts.

Here are some of the major points regarding Texas seat belt law:

  • All drivers and passengers must wear a seatbelt
  • Fines for violation can range anywhere between $25-$200
  • All children under the age of 8 or under 4’9 must be secured in a car seat

The defendants in the case brought in a biomechanical engineer to testify that because family members did not wear seatbelts, the lack of restraint is what caused them to eject them from their seats. Despite this, because this was not an admissible piece of evidence, the family won their case and were awarded $2.3 million in compensation. Now, the decision is being reversed due to the passage of this new law.

Seat Belt Law Litigation Strategies

Moving forward, it is up to the Court to decide whether or not to reverse the numerous past decisions regarding cases where plaintiffs did not have their seatbelts buckled. In the meantime, while this brings challenges to plaintiffs and the legal teams that support them, there may still be strong arguments in favor of plaintiffs who were found not wearing their seat belts. If it can be proven that there was no correlation whatsoever to the collision or that the product was defective, then these avenues may certainly be worth exploring.

No matter how complicated you believe your case is, your worries can be put to rest once you enlist the services of our Victoria car accident lawyer at Daspit Law Firm. Count on proven experience and trustworthy representation to see your case through from beginning to end.