Can I still sue if I was in a car accident but wasn’t wearing my seatbelt?

You have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim in a car accident case, otherwise known as a statute of limitations, if you intend to sue the other parties involved. After two years, you will not be able to file a lawsuit. You are allowed to file a claim whether you were wearing your seatbelt or not during the accident.

Connecticut law requires all drivers and passengers to wear seatbelts. You can be fined $92 for not wearing your seatbelt or having a passenger wear one. The law does not prohibit the driver or passenger from filing a claim if they are involved in an accident and were not wearing seatbelts. Depending on the accident and the type of injuries that were sustained, the lack of seatbelt use might not affect the case.

Connecticut follows a modified comparative negligence principle when it comes to car accident compensation cases. Under this rule, you would be able to recover damages as long as you are less than 50% at fault. However, if you are more than 50% or more at fault, the court will not allow you to collect any damages.

Here is an example: You are suing a driver for damages arising out of a car accident. At trial, the jury decides the total amount of damages is $100,000. The jury also decides that you were 10% at fault and the other driver 90% at fault. In that case, you would be able to recover 90% of $100,000 or $90,000.

If you sustained more serious injuries due to the lack of a seatbelt, you are still able to sue and claim your medical bills relating to those injuries.

Please contact Tremont Sheldon PC today to see how we can help. It is important not to delay and call soon after your accident.

Auto Accident Frequently Asked Questions

What is a personal injury attorney?

A personal injury attorney represents victims and their families who have been injured due to someone’s negligence or reckless actions. A personal injury attorney can help you find justice after an accident by pursuing compensation to help pay for your medical care, lost wages, pain and suffering and damages depending on your case.

When should you contact a lawyer after a car accident?

You should call a lawyer before you speak to the insurance company. An attorney can protect your rights by collecting evidence, evaluating all options for recovery and negotiating with the insurance company to maximize the compensation in your case.

When should you hire an attorney after an accident?

Hiring an attorney is a big decision, especially after you have been injured. However, it is one that should be made as soon as possible so your right to file a claim is protected.

What are your rights after a car accident?

You have the right to pursue a legal claim against the driver responsible for the accident. To protect yourself, do not admit fault after an accident. You also do not need to make statements to the insurance company or sign any settlement agreements without consulting a lawyer first. Speaking to a lawyer can help you protect your right to file a lawsuit after an accident.

How do I know if I have the proper auto insurance?

Tremont Sheldon P.C. repeatedly reminds and educates our clients regarding the importance of having appropriate auto insurance coverage. Over and over again, we see clients who are left unprotected with inadequate insurance. Tremont Sheldon P.C. would like to share with you the seven do’s and don’ts for selecting the best auto insurance protection for your family.

1. DO understand your policy. Can you answer the following questions?
1. What is the amount of my bodily injury/liability (BI) coverage?
2. What is the amount of my uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage?
3. What can I do to obtain conversion coverage or double UM?

2. DO increase your UM/UIM coverage, if possible.
We always hear people tell us that they have purchased umbrella insurance coverage, yet they do not know their UM/UIM limits. While umbrella, excess and BI coverage protect you if you cause an accident, they afford no protection if an uninsured or underinsured motorist injures you. The only way to protect yourself is to increase your UM/UIM coverage and request double coverage. Example: If you have $300,000 BI and $300,000 UM, request double UM coverage and increase your UM limits to $600,000.

3. DO purchase underinsured motorist conversion (UIMC) coverage.
UIMC coverage guarantees that you and your family will be afforded the full extent of the coverage you purchased, no matter how much is recovered from the driver who caused the collision. Otherwise, the amount that you receive from the other driver will be deducted from your coverage. Example: At-fault driver pays out to injured person his $20,000 limited policy. Injured person has limited $50,000 without conversion. Injured person can only make claim for remaining $30,000 in coverage (50,000-20,000 = 30,000). With conversion coverage, injured person can make a claim for $50,000. If the injured person had double UM, he will have $100,000 of coverage in addition to the $20,000 received.

4. DON’T be cheap – be smart.
A few dollars saved can result in inadequate coverage, which basically is no coverage at all. Although the law only requires limits of $20,000 worth of coverage per person and $40,000 worth of coverage per accident, such limits are woefully insufficient to cover the costs resulting from serious injury. Remember to purchase the maximum amount of insurance that you can afford as it is money well spent.

5. DON’T “write down” your UM/UIM motorist coverage.
Always reject any offer to reduce your UM/UIM coverage to below the amount of your BI coverage.

6. DON’T be left without medical coverage.
The law no longer requires you to purchase no fault or medical benefit coverage. However, if you do not have health insurance coverage, you should still purchase this optional coverage in order to protect yourself. If you do have health insurance, the premium for this coverage may be better spent increasing your UM/UIM limits.

7. DON’T think “It won’t happen to me.”
Unfortunately, Tremont Sheldon P.C. has seen many situations where clients have been injured by uninsured or underinsured drivers and these clients have had inadequate UM/UIM coverage. Hopefully, you will never need it, but be smart and protect yourself.