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Charleston Personal Injury Lawyer > Blog > Personal Injury > Can I File a Personal Injury Claim in Charleston if I Was Not Wearing a Seat Belt?

Can I File a Personal Injury Claim in Charleston if I Was Not Wearing a Seat Belt?


Research has found that seat belts reduce accident-related injuries and deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for drivers and front-seat passengers, wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of death by 45% and the risk of severe injuries by 50%. States understand the importance of wearing seatbelts, which is why state laws require drivers and passengers to wear seatbelts. Unfortunately, it is common for some drivers and passengers to avoid wearing their seatbelts. Some drivers and passengers get into crashes while not wearing their seat belts and end up with fatal or severe injuries. If you have recently suffered severe injuries in a Charleston car accident and were not wearing your seatbelt, you might be wondering if you can still file a personal injury claim and recover compensation. So, can you file a personal injury claim in Charleston if you were not wearing a seat belt? Read on to find out the answer to this question.

What Are the Seat Belt Laws in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, all drivers and passengers of a vehicle must wear a seat belt that complies with federal law when on the state’s highways and public streets. Additionally, the law states that drivers are responsible for ensuring every vehicle occupant aged 17 or below wears a seat belt or is secured in a child restraint system. But, if an occupant is 17 years or younger and has a driver’s license, learner’s permit, or restricted license, a driver is not responsible for them.

South Carolina’s seat belt laws do not apply to, among others, the following;

  • School, daycare, or church buses
  • Individuals with written verification from a doctor that they cannot wear a safety belt for medical or physical reasons
  • United States mail carriers
  • Passengers who are in a parade
  • Public transportation vehicles, expect taxis

Can You File a Personal Injury Claim in Charleston if You Were Not Wearing a Safety Belt?

In Charleston, you can file a personal injury claim even if you were not wearing a seat belt at the time of your accident. Your failure to wear a safety belt does not bar you from filing a personal injury claim and recovering compensation. According to South Carolina law, the failure to wear a seat belt is not considered negligence per se or contributory negligence and cannot be used as evidence in a civil action.

However, while your failure to wear a seat belt cannot be used as evidence when determining comparative negligence, you can expect that the defendant’s insurance company or attorney will use your non-compliance as a reason to offer you a low settlement. They may argue that if you had been wearing your seatbelt, your injuries would not have been as severe as they are. A qualified personal injury attorney can stand up for your rights and prevent the defense side from trying to get out from paying you what you deserve.

Contact a Charleston Personal Injury Lawyer

You deserve compensation if you suffered injuries in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, even if you were not wearing a seat belt. Our qualified Charleston personal injury lawyer at Gus Anastopoulo Law Firm can help you recover the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.



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