Did you sustain injuries in a Kansas car accident through no fault of your own? In many cases, this means you could demand monetary compensation for your suffering by filing an auto accident injury claim against the at-fault party. But what happens if you were in a car crash without a seat belt?
Seat belt usage has no impact on your risk of being in a crash. But it can affect the nature and severity of the injuries you suffer. Consequently, insurers and defendants have been known to claim that they are not fully responsible for a crash victim’s injuries from not wearing a seat belt. For this reason, it’s worth considering how driving without a seat belt could apply to your accident claim in Kansas.
Kansas Seat Belt Laws
Back in June of 2010, Kansas lawmakers passed a new seat belt law making not wearing a seat belt while driving a primary offense. This means that Kansas police officers can stop and ticket drivers who are not wearing their seat belts, even if they are not committing any other offenses.
Law enforcement can also stop and ticket drivers when they see young children riding in vehicles without proper safety restraints. Lawmakers amended the Kansas Child Passenger Safety Act in 2006 to require drivers to secure children between the ages of four and seven in booster seats, which reduce the risk of injury by 59 percent.
Can I File a Car Accident Claim If I Wasn’t Wearing a Seat Belt?
Kansas follows a “no-fault” auto insurance model, meaning crash victims file their initial claims with their own insurance providers after an accident. Your no-fault insurance policy should provide compensation to help you cover crash-related medical expenses and certain other losses, regardless of who caused the accident.
If your medical expenses exceed the limits of your policy or your injuries qualify as “serious,” you might also have grounds for a third-party claim against an at-fault driver or other road user. In that case, your failure to wear a seat belt would not prevent you from filing a claim because it did not directly increase your chances of crashing.
Does the Seat Belt Defense Apply in Kansas?
Many at-fault parties attempt to use the “seat belt defense” in auto accident cases, claiming that crash victims are at least partially responsible for their injuries that were worsened by not wearing a seat belt. However, Kansas does not allow defendants in car accident cases to hide behind this excuse. If the other driver or their insurance company tries to avoid responsibility by playing the seat belt defense, our experienced attorneys can help you fight back and demand a fair recovery.
Talk to an Experienced Auto Accident Attorney in Wichita, KS Today
If you were injured in a car accident with no seat belt, you may still be owed compensation for your injuries. To learn more, don’t hesitate to contact Mann Wyatt Tanksley Injury Attorneys for your free initial consultation session.