Does Failing to Wear a Seat Belt Affect an Alabama Victim’s Ability to Recover Damages?

Under Alabama law, all individuals seated in the front seat of a vehicle are required to wear seat belts while the vehicle is in motion, although there are some exceptions to the law. The next question is whether this law affects an individual’s ability to recover compensation in an Alabama car accident case if the person was not wearing a seat belt when a crash occurred.

The Seat Belt Defense in Alabama

Under Ala. Code 1975 32-5B-7, failing to wear a seat belt “shall not be considered evidence of contributory negligence and shall not limit the liability of an insurer.” What this means is that an individual’s failure to wear a seat belt cannot be used against him as evidence of contributory negligence. It also cannot be used against the plaintiff as evidence of the plaintiff’s failure to mitigate damages.

Contributory Negligence in Alabama

Alabama follows the doctrine of contributory negligence, which often comes up in car accident litigation. It is one of the few states that follow the doctrine of “pure contributory negligence.” That means that if the plaintiff is found to be negligent, then the plaintiff cannot recover any damages.

However, although the failure to wear a seat belt is generally not considered as evidence of contributory negligence, Alabama courts have allowed evidence of a failure to wear a seat belt to show contributory negligence as a defense regarding a plaintiff’s “use of the product” in product liability claims. In one case, the plaintiff brought a product liability claim against a car manufacturer, alleging that the seat belt did not properly restrain the plaintiff. The court in that case allowed the manufacturer to present evidence that the plaintiff was not wearing the seat belt as a defense.

 Auburn woman killed in head on collision

A two-vehicle head-on collision in Opelika killed one person and left another with serious injuries at a Columbus, Georgia hospital on March 13, 2018, a Tuesday night.  The collision took place around 5:47 p.m. in the 3400 block of West Point Pkwy.  The driver died instantly from multiple blunt force injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene at 6:40 p.m.

“It appears that one of the drivers was traveling north on West Point Pkwy when she apparently ran off the side of the roadway, over corrected and came back across the highway into the oncoming lane, striking a pickup head-on,” according to the Lee County article.

Neither driver were believed to have been wearing seatbelts.  Alcohol is not suspected to be a factor in the accident.

Contact an Alabama Car Accident Attorney

If you have been injured in Alabama due to someone else’s carelessness or wrongdoing, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. The Alabama car accident attorneys at The Reeves Law Firm can help you today. We specialize in accident cases and can help you receive compensation for accident-related injuries, lost wages, or impaired lifestyle. At The Reeves Law Firm, we understand how important it is that you obtain financial compensation for your damages. We serve victims in Decatur and Huntsville and throughout Alabama. Call The Reeves Law Firm at 256-355-3311 for a free and confidential consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Seeking Justice for Alabama Crime Victims, Alabama Injury Lawyer Blog, February 19, 2018

Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Protection and How It Can Help Alabama Car Accident Victims, Alabama Injury Lawyer Blog, January 18, 2018