PERSON INJURED IN MN AUTO ACCIDENT NOT WEARING SEAT BELT STILL HAS CASE
Our lawyers are often asked, “does a person still have a case if they are injured in a MN car accident while not wearing a seatbelt.” The answer is that evidence that you were not wearing a seat belt, or that a child restraint was not being used, cannot be used in any litigation involving personal injury or property damage resulting from the use or operation of any motor vehicle. MS 169.685(4). The only exception to the rule against using seat belt evidence in Minnesota is that if the seat belt or restraint was defective, the injured person can still bring a claim against the manufacturer.
There is no question that seat belts save lives and greatly reduce injuries. Our auto accident lawyers have represented many people who have greatly benefited from having a seat belt on at the time of a crash. However, we have also had many cases where our client was not wearing a seat belt in a car accident, and the resulting injury was very serious. The question at that point is whether the insurance for the driver who caused the crash should be able to avoid paying fair compensation because the injury victim was not wearing a seat belt. So far the MN legislature has determined that a distracted or negligent driver has to pay the damages for his or her bad driving, even if the damages would have been less if the victim had been wearing a seat belt. However, the insurance industry has been lobbying for years to change this and allow lack of seat belt use to be considered in determining compensation. Our car accident attorneys have spent years representing people injured in a car accident because of a distracted driver, drunk driver, texting driver. We certainly would not want to see compensation awards reduced so our clients can’t get medical bills and other necessary compensation just so the insurance companies can make more money.