Of course, everyone should buckle their seat belts when riding in a motor vehicle. It’s the safe thing to do and, in New Jersey, it’s the law for all occupants to buckle up, regardless of where they are sitting in the car. Despite this, however, there are still a large number of people who drive, or ride, without buckling their seat belts.
If you are in a motor vehicle accident that is not your fault, compensation for your injuries could be greatly reduced if you were not wearing your seat belt. The defense may hire a seat belt expert, who will testify to the fact that your injury either (1) would not have occurred if you were wearing a seat belt; or (2) would not have been as severe if you were wearing a seatbelt. Either of these opinions could be detrimental to your case and a jury may hold you responsible, at least in part, for your decision not to buckle up.
The State of New Jersey, Department of Law & Public Safety notes on their website (http://www.state.nj.us/oag/hts/seatbelts) that:
More than 2,000 unbuckled drivers and front seat passengers died on New Jersey’s roadways in the past 10 years.
Approximately 700 unbuckled drivers and front seat passengers were thrown out of their vehicles during crashes and killed in the past 10 years.
These reasons alone should be enough to encourage everyone in the car to buckle up for safety. But, also know, that if you choose not to, you could be hurting your chances to be compensated for any injury you receive, even when the collision is not your fault.