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Who is Most Impacted by Seatbelt Misuse in Colorado?

By Peters & Nolan, LLC on January 10, 2022

Seatbelts are a required safety feature – when used. When a seat belt does not secure a driver or passenger, it can lead to serious or fatal injuries. One segment of the population is the least likely to use seatbelts: Young males aged 20 to 39, as reported by the Colorado State Patrol. In the words of Chief Matthew C. Packard:

“Colorado State Troopers responded to more serious injury and fatality crashes involving improper use or no use of seatbelts with our male drivers between the ages of 20 – 39 than any other group.”

Injuries in Car Accidents and Seatbelt Use

The types of injuries sustained in a collision when a driver or passenger is not wearing a seatbelt can be life-changing or fatal. Common serious injuries include:

  • TBI (traumatic brain injuries)
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Severe lacerations and contusions
  • Internal organ damage
  • Amputations
  • Disfigurement

Not Wearing a Seatbelt? How Will This Affect a Settlement or Jury Award?

Insurance companies employ every possible strategy to deny or reduce the value of an injury claim, even when a driver was clearly at fault. In Colorado, claims are valued under the legal concept of comparative fault. When more than one driver is negligent (including failure to wear a seatbelt), the injured person may be deemed to have some percentage of fault in the severity of the injuries sustained.

Under the legal concept of comparative negligence, each party that played a role in the accident can be held accountable for a percentage of the damages. However, evidence proving you were not wearing a seatbelt does not restrict you from recovering compensation. The amount awarded for pain and suffering may or may not be reduced in value. The other damages, including medical bills, lost wages, the cost of future medical treatment, and other damages, are not reduced, as outlined in C.R.S. 42-4-237(7), which reads:

Evidence of failure to comply with the requirement of subsection (2) of this section shall be admissible to mitigate damages with respect to any person who was involved in a motor vehicle accident and who seeks in any subsequent litigation to recover damages for injuries resulting from the accident. Such mitigation shall be limited to awards for pain and suffering and shall not be used for limiting recovery of economic loss and medical payments.”

The Compensation You Deserve – It Matters.

If the insurance company or their attorneys argue that the lack of a seatbelt contributed to the pain and suffering of the victim, it may or may not be true. Some injuries in auto accidents occur whether a person is seat belted or not. The quality and experience of your personal injury lawyer are essential in such a case. Call Peters & Nolan, LLC, to discuss your case before agreeing to a settlement.

Contact Us.

At Peters & Nolan, LLC, we are available for a free case consultation to injured people in our region. Our approach is thorough, meticulous, and will involve a full investigation into the facts. When we take on a case, we vigorously pursue every possible form of compensation. Call us today at (970) 243-4357.

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Posted in: Car Accidents

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Peters & Nolan, LLC is your ideal source for high quality legal representation throughout the state of Colorado. Known for being personable and responsive, attorneys Andrew J. Peters and Andrew Nolan are aggressive trial lawyers with an excellent record of trying and settling cases in criminal defense, DUI/DWAI and personal injury.

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