If I Don’t Wear a Seatbelt, Can I Still File a Car Accident Claim?

St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer - Law Offices of Kevin J Roach, LLCYou were injured in a car accident after another vehicle collided with your own. You have filed the accident claim, but you are worried about the fact that you did not wear a seatbelt during that accident. How will this affect your ability to claim compensation and if you were at all negligent, does that mean you will not be able to get any compensation? After all, you didn’t cause the accident and the other driver was negligent, so why should you have to suffer the consequences because of one mistake?

Unfortunately the answer is not as straightforward as you would think and instead requires you to understand the complexities of negligence laws here in Missouri. Every state has their own negligence laws and these are what help determine fault and liability in a personal injury claim.

What is Negligence?

Negligence is not a law, but it is something that must be established in a personal injury claim. It is what you, the plaintiff, must prove in order to file a successful personal injury claim. The courts will compare the actions of the defendant to a reasonable person to determine if they acted reasonably, owed a duty of care or if they breached that duty and contributed to your injury.

In an accident where you were also partially to blame for your injuries, it is important that you understand that a different set of negligence rules will apply to your claim – and these can make or break your case.

Comparative Negligence in Missouri

Also referred to as comparative fault, this system is used by the courts to determine who is negligent. The courts in Missouri rely on pure comparative fault. That means the percentage you are considered at fault will lower your compensation. So, for example, if you were awarded a $100,000 settlement, but the jury has also determined that you were 20 percent at fault, then your settlement of $100,000 would be reduced by 20 percent. You can be up to 50 percent liable in the state of Missouri and still collect compensation for your injuries, but if you are considered more than 50 percent at fault, the courts will not allow you to collect.

After an Accident, Contact an Attorney

Comparative negligence laws are highly complex. If you feel that you have contributed to your injury in any way, it is imperative that you speak with an attorney. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Kevin J. Roach, LLC can assist you with your case. We will help determine if comparative negligence applies and work to prove the other party’s contribution. To start, contact us for a no obligation consultation at 636-519-0085 or fill out an online contact form with your questions.