You can if the accident was not your fault. If the accident was the fault of another driver, then you can submit a claim against that driver. However, seatbelts are compulsory under UK law and it will be taken into account that you were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident. This may affect the amount of compensation you are awarded.
Not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident may mean that you sustained injuries you might otherwise not have if you’d been wearing one. It may also mean that some of your injuries are more severe than they would have been because you failed to wear a seatbelt. This is known as contributory negligence and can result in a percentage of your compensation award being deducted. It is the responsibility of the defendant and their legal team to prove that you negligently contributed to your injuries.
If you would have suffered no injuries as a result of the accident if you had been wearing a seatbelt, you will lose 25% of your award. If your injuries would have been less severe if you had been wearing a seatbelt, you will lose 15% of your award. It may be deemed that your injuries would not change regardless of whether you were wearing a seatbelt or not. In this case, there would be no deduction from your award.
By law, the driver is responsible for ensuring that all passengers under the age of 14 are wearing a seatbelt. It is estimated that in road collisions occurring at a speed of 30 miles per hour, you will be thrown with a force of 30-60 times your own body weight if you are not wearing a seatbelt.
When injuries are sustained by children or passengers under the age of 14 because the driver failed to ensure they were wearing a seatbelt, it is possible for the child or their parent or guardian to make a claim against the driver. For passengers who are over 14 years of age, it is their own responsibility to wear a seatbelt and they will not be able to claim compensation from the driver for failure to do so.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, a personal injury compensation claim may still be possible, even if you weren’t wearing a seatbelt at the time. For more information on how Cute Injury can help, get in touch with us today.