Responsibility for wearing a seat belt after an accident in Massachusetts

In order to understand how seat belt use affects your ability to recover a settlement, you must first understand how comparative negligence works in Massachusetts.


We all know that seat belts are important for car safety. Most people choose to wear their seatbelt without thinking twice, and it’s obviously the right decision. After all, automobile fatalities dropped dramatically when seat belts were first introduced, and these safety devices are probably more effective than any other safety device you might find in a modern car. Seat belts have been around for decades, but they’re still going strong. But what if you didn’t wear your seat belt before you were injured in a crash in Massachusetts? This question raises the question of “seat belt liability”, which is slightly complex.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, it makes sense to contact a qualified and experienced attorney as soon as possible. Whether you are wearing your seatbelt or not, you always deserve the right to explore your legal options and determine the best course of action. Under certain circumstances, you may still be able to recover a substantial settlement for your injuries. However, it is more important than ever to work with a qualified attorney in this situation.

Comparative Neglect Explained

In order to understand how seat belt use affects your ability to recover a settlement, you must first understand how comparative negligence works in Massachusetts. Under this system, you can still recover a settlement even if you were partly responsible for your own injuries. However, Massachusetts follows a “modified” system of comparative negligence, under which you are excluded from any compensation if you were responsible for more than 50% of your own injuries.

seat belt defense

A seat belt enforcement stop near FE Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming. US Air Force photo by RJ Oriez, courtesy of warren.af.mil.

So why is comparative negligence important in this situation? When you sue negligent parties for causing your accident, you may encounter what is called the “seat belt defense”. That’s when the defendant claims that your failure to wear a seat belt contributed to your injuries. In many states, this type of defense is not allowed. However, defendants can use this strategy in Massachusetts, which may affect your ability to recover a settlement.

That being said, they would have to prove that your failure to wear a seatbelt was the main reason for your injuries in order to completely prevent you from recovering any compensation. Additionally, it is important to remember that failure to use a child restraint cannot be used as evidence in a civil action under Massachusetts law. Thus, if your child has injured himself, the seat belt protection cannot be used.

Seek the help of a qualified lawyer today

If you’ve been searching the Boston area for a qualified and experienced accident attorney, there are plenty of legal professionals waiting to help. Get help from one of these attorneys and you can approach your accident lawsuit effectively and confidently. Although the so-called seat belt defense can be problematic, a qualified attorney can still help you get the settlement you need and deserve. Contact us and book your consultation today.