When the media reports on motor-vehicle accidents they often mention whether the involved drivers or passengers were wearing a seatbelt (or if the injured bicyclist or motorcyclist was wearing a helmet). The fact that the media consistently brings this detail to our attention makes it seem significant. However, it is important to remember that, in accordance with the rules of evidence, an injured person’s failure to wear a seatbelt (or helmet) cannot be admitted in Washington Courts.
Less than a week ago there was an accident in Suquamish that killed a 43-year old female passenger and seriously injured the 41-year old male driver. The car hit a tree; police believe alcohol and excessive speed to be factors in the accident. The woman who died was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the car.
Don’t believe the common misconception that failing to wear a seatbelt prohibits your recovery. The family of the deceased passenger can recover from the driver’s insurance company despite the fact that she was not wearing a seatbelt.
For more information on this subject, please refer to the section on Car and Motorcycle Accidents.