Wearing a seatbelt is required by law in the UK, so you might think you won't be able to claim compensation if you were not wearing one and were involved in a collision. However, this isn’t true - you might still be able to claim damages even if you were not wearing a seatbelt.
Our lawyers have experience with a wide range of road traffic accident claims. We have secured over £1 billion in personal injury compensation for our clients in the past two years.
If you have been injured while not wearing a seatbelt, you may still be able to claim. Contact us on 0800 056 4110 for a free consultation, or find out more below.
What's The Law On Wearing A Seatbelt?
If you’re travelling in a vehicle that has seatbelts fitted, you’re required by law to wear one.
The driver of a vehicle must ensure that all children under 14 years of age wear seatbelts, or sit in an approved child seat. If a child is under 1.35 metres tall, a baby seat, child seat, booster seat or booster cushion suitable for the child's weight must be used, and it must be fitted to the manufacturer's instructions.
However, you don't have to wear a seatbelt if:
- You’re a passenger on a bus that’s not been fitted with seatbelts (or were a standing passenger)
- You have a medical exemption certificate
- You're making deliveries or collections in a goods vehicle, and are travelling less than 50 metres
There are other specialist exemptions for very particular circumstances. If you should have been wearing a seatbelt in an accident, and are injured or suffer worse injuries as a result, then this could affect the amount of compensation you receive.
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What is Contributory Negligence?
If you have suffered an injury where someone else is to blame, but at the same time you were also partly to blame for the accident or your injury in some way, then this is called "contributory negligence".
Simply put, it means that your own behaviour has in some way contributed to the injuries – and your opponents’ solicitors could use this as an argument for reducing the amount of compensation you can receive.
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What Are Some Examples Of Contributory Negligence?
Contributory negligence can apply in many situations. Below are some examples:
- If a driver or passenger wasn't wearing their seatbelt in a road traffic accident, and was injured, or more badly injured, as a result
- If a pedestrian crossed a road and failed to wait for an approaching vehicle to pass
- If a cyclist was struck by a car at night but the cyclist did not have the correct lights
- Being carried as a passenger in a car where you knew that the driver was unfit to drive due to drink or drugs
This isn't an exhaustive list – there can be many other situations where contributory negligence can apply.
If you're unsure whether contributory negligence could apply in your claim or not, call us today on 0800 056 4110 for a free initial consultation.
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How Much Can I Claim If I Wasn't Wearing A Seatbelt?
The amount you could claim will depend on the circumstances of your accident, injuries, and occupation.
The law is not fixed but general guidance has been given by the courts. If you weren't wearing a seatbelt, the amount you could claim might be reduced by a percentage of the total sum:
- If your injuries would have been avoided if you were wearing a seatbelt, then your compensation can be reduced by 25%.
- If your injuries would have been less serious if you were wearing a seatbelt, then your compensation can be reduced by 15%.
- If your injuries would have been exactly the same if you were wearing a seatbelt, or worse, then your compensation should not be reduced.
However, a Court can impose whatever reduction it considers is fair and just in the circumstances.
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If you have any questions about how your claim could be affected by not wearing a seatbelt, please contact us today on 0800 056 4110 for a free consultation. We'll discuss your accident, and advise on whether we think you could make a claim. You can also contact us by email.
The above information relates to the law in England and Wales.
* Subject to entering into a ‘No Win No Fee’ agreement in conjunction with our Allianz Litigate insurance policy and complying with your responsibilities under its terms.
All Scottish cases will be handled by the Scottish law firm with which we’re associated, Irwin Mitchell Scotland LLP. The law relating to funding is different in Scotland and you’ll receive separate advice about what that means as well as a separate funding agreement.