Does Not Wearing a Seatbelt Affect a Car Accident Lawsuit?

not wearing seatbelt affects lawsuitAll drivers and passengers are required by law to wear their seatbelts while travelling on Ontario roadways. However, what happens when you become injured in a crash while not buckled in? Find out how not wearing a seatbelt could affect your potential lawsuit and being able to recover compensation.

If you have a case, a Windsor car accident lawyer from our firm is ready to protect your rights and advocate for your best interests. Request a free, no-obligation legal consultation to get started.

Ontario Seat Belt Laws

Under Ontario law, seat belts are mandatory for everyone in a motor vehicle. Adults who fail to wear a seat belt may be charged or fined by a police officer. If a child is found not buckled in a vehicle, the parent or adult in the vehicle will be charged. Seat belt laws are mandated by the Highway Traffic Act. All provinces and territories in Canada have their own laws requiring the use of seatbelts.

The proper way to wear a seatbelt is having the pelvic restraint securely fastened and worn firmly against the body and across the hips, and the torso restraint securely fastened and worn firmly over the shoulder and across the chest. Seatbelts should also not be worn by more than one person at a time.

Failure to Wear a Seat Belt as a Driver

Drivers operating a motor vehicle must properly wear a seat belt or face fines. The driver is responsible for making sure any passengers under the age of 16 are seated in a location where a seatbelt is present for their use and that the seatbelt is being properly worn. Having a younger child as a passenger who requires a specific seating or restraint system must also be properly secured before operating a vehicle.

Failure to follow these rules means facing fines. These fines can range between $200-$1000 and you will receive two demerit points on your driving record. Having a record of this could impact your potential car accident lawsuit because it allows the insurance company to try and discredit your injuries. Had you been wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash, perhaps you would not have been as seriously injured.

Failure to Wear a Seat Belt as a Passenger

Passengers who are over the age of 16 are responsible for buckling themselves in and could be held liable for not using or wearing a seatbelt properly. However, there are situations in which seatbelts are not required by certain passengers. These passengers include the following:

  • Individuals with medical certificates showing they cannot wear a seatbelt
  • Individuals whose work requires them to frequently enter and exit the vehicle
  • Individuals in police custody and being transferred to a police station, jail or prison 
  • Individuals who are employed by Canada Post to deliver mail
  • Individuals who work as ambulance attendants and those transported in an ambulance
  • Individuals who work as firefighters while responding to an emergency

Recovering Compensation Without a Seat Belt

Even if you were not wearing your seat belt at the time of the accident, you may still be eligible to pursue compensation to help cover costs related to medical bills, etc. However, you may be held partially responsible for your own injuries. This is because Ontario follows a contributory negligence statute that allows the court to reduce any award amount based on everyone who shares responsibility  for the crash. Compensation would then be reduced according to your percentage of fault.

For instance, if the court awards you $120,000 but you are found to be 20 percent responsible, your award amount would be reduced by 20 percent or $24,000. You would receive a total of $96,000.

It is important to note that the insurance company will try and argue that not wearing a seat belt was the primary cause of your injuries and will attempt to argue that your damages should be substantially reduced because of your failure to buckle in. This is why it is important to have a lawyer by your side.

Discuss Your Rights With a Licensed Lawyer

Have you been injured in a car accident and need legal help?

Our legal team at Greg Monforton & Partners may be able to help you file a car accident lawsuit to help pursue maximum compensation for your injury and other-related damages.

Find out more about your legal options during a complimentary and confidential consultation. There is no risk in calling us and no obligation to take legal action. There are no upfront fees unless you win.

To see if you are eligible, give us a call at (866) 320-4770.