Car accidents can be incredibly tragic. If you’ve ever seen one on the side of the road, you know how bad the damage can be. You can only hope that the people involved were wearing seatbelts during the crash. Even people involved in low-speed crashes can suffer serious, life-threatening (or even fatal) injuries—and the risks are even greater if they’re not wearing seatbelts.
The most important thing you can do when you get into your car—or someone else’s car—is to buckle up. Make it a habit of fastening your seatbelt before you even put the key in the ignition. The primary reason is safety. There’s a secondary reason, though, and it involves what happens after a car crash.
The short answer is yes. Arizona law requires you to wear your seatbelt when you’re in the front seat of a vehicle that is able to carry 10 or fewer people. Because you’re supposed to act like a “reasonable person” under the law, you’re supposed to obey the requirement and buckle yourself in. You’re also supposed to insist that your front-seat passengers are buckled and that all passengers under the age of 16 are wearing seatbelts, no matter where they are in the vehicle.
If you get injuries in a car accident, it’s important to know that Arizona is a comparative fault state. That means if the defense can prove that your injuries are due to your failure to wear a seatbelt—even if the person who caused the car accident was completely at fault—you may be denied compensation.
However, that does not mean that you shouldn’t try to file a lawsuit to help pay for your medical costs, lost wages, and other financial burdens if you were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident. Only a licensed Arizona personal injury lawyer can give you case-specific advice, so it can’t hurt to call for a free consultation to find out whether you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries.