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Driver or Passenger: Who Is Responsible for No-Seatbelt Injuries?

Posted by Raj Chohan | Aug 25, 2022 | 0 Comments

Is the driver responsible for passengers wearing seat belts? This is a common question among people living in Colorado who are seeking compensation after an accident. When involved in a car crash, you can suffer minor and severe injuries. Every vehicle accident injury case needs to be carefully assessed and treated seriously. Some injuries can lead to lifelong permanent disability, while others can cause death. Even seemingly minor injuries can cause significant disruption to your everyday life.

Failure to wear a seatbelt will not prevent you from recovering compensation for your personal injury claim. It may, however, reduce the damages you can collect for pain and suffering, which are described in further detail below. Lack of seatbelts should not impact your ability to recover for damages relating to medical bills, permanent physical impairment, or disfigurement.

WHAT ARE THE SEATBELT LAWS IN COLORADO?

Is the driver responsible for passengers wearing seat belts? In Denver and Northern Colorado, any adult seated in the back seat of a vehicle doesn't have to wear a seatbelt. However, the driver and the person sitting in the front should wear a seatbelt. The seatbelt is most effective for passengers seated in the front. But this doesn't mean that a seatbelt isn't effective for the people in the back seat. When seat belts are worn correctly, they can save lives, no matter where the person is seated in a vehicle. 

In Denver and Northern Colorado, all minors (anyone under 18 years) must wear a seatbelt, despite where they are sitting in a vehicle. Under Colorado Seat Belt Law, children need to be in an appropriate restraint seat until they are eight. So, if a child passenger is not wearing a seat belt, who gets the ticket? In this case, the parents will get a ticket if any of their children aren't wearing a seat belt or buckled in a car seat. But is the driver responsible for passengers wearing seat belts? It's certainly good for the driver to ensure all passengers wear seatbelts.

WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR NOT WEARING A SEATBELT?

A police officer isn't permitted to stop a car because the driver and passengers aren't wearing seat belts in Denver and Northern Colorado. However, if your vehicle is stopped for another traffic violation offense, you may get a ticket if you and your passengers are not wearing seatbelts. Penalties start from $65, and if you have improperly buckled your child, you may have to pay a minimum fine of $82. Wearing a seatbelt is an easy decision, and it can save your life. 

WHAT IF I WAS INJURED IN AN ACCIDENT AND WAS NOT WEARING A SEAT BELT? 

THE SEAT BELT DEFENSE

Suppose you weren't wearing a seat belt in Denver and Northern Colorado – this might affect your injury damages. The law requires anyone sitting in the front seat of a car to wear a seat belt. If you were sitting in the front but failed to wear a seat belt and were injured in an accident, the fact that you didn't wear a seat belt may lower your damages for pain and suffering – Colorado law permits this. To increase your chances of getting better compensation, you need a personal injury lawyer to handle your case.

PAIN AND SUFFERING

It's hard to define pain and suffering. It usually consists of a collection of damages that includes inconvenience, emotional stress, and life quality impairment. Emotional stress is not the same as psychological injuries like depression, PTSD, or anxiety. Fortunately, no one can scrutinize your psychological history if you seek emotional stress compensation as part of pain and suffering damages. Inconvenience in pain and suffering damages refers to the trouble of attending medical appointments, not being able to get around, or attending work or school. Quality of life impairment refers to experiencing chronic pain or not being able to do activities that you like, such as:

  • Camping
  • Sports
  • Family gatherings
  • Working out 
  • Walking

The pain and suffering phrase in Colorado's Seat belt defense allows a jury to consider the violation of the seat belt law to reduce damages in a vehicle negligence case. But the pain and suffering phrase does not include disfigurement damages and physical impairment. 

DENVER, PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY

If you have been injured in a vehicle accident, you may need a lawyer to help you with insurance claims. In most cases, experienced personal lawyers will help you recover more money for your injuries compared to when you do it yourself. You can click here to get more information about an auto accident lawyer in Denver. Contact us today if you need an experienced lawyer to handle your injury claims.

About the Author

Raj Chohan

Raj Chohan is a personal injury attorney with a passion for helping injured Coloradans seek the compensation they deserve and the justice their cases demand. He is a former prosecutor with extensive jury trial experience in some of the most complex and serious cases that exist under Colorado law...

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