As a pure comparative negligence state, Louisiana allows drivers to collect compensation even if they are partially at fault for an accident. However, neglecting to buckle up before getting behind the wheel is not one of the factors considered when fault is assessed.
How Seatbelt Laws Affect Your Ability to Recover Damages After an Accident
Louisiana state law requires all drivers to wear a seatbelt unless they have been granted an exemption due to disability, the type of vehicle they're driving, or the type of work they're performing. The fine for failing to wear your seatbelt is $25 for the first offense and $50 for the second and any subsequent offenses. An additional $20 penalty is assessed for violations in the Orleans Parish.
If you're involved in an accident and aren't wearing your seatbelt, you can expect to receive a ticket for violating the state's seatbelt law. However, Louisiana does not consider failure to wear a seatbelt to be comparative negligence. There is significant evidence suggesting drivers who don't wear seatbelts are more likely to be injured than those who are properly restrained, but your ability to receive compensation for your injuries will not be affected in any way. The only types of conduct that would potentially reduce your compensation are violations of traffic laws such as speeding, failure to yield, or running a red light.
Protecting Your Right to Compensation
After a serious car accident, hiring an attorney to negotiate a settlement on your behalf is the best way to protect your legal rights. The laws surrounding personal injury claims can be quite complex, and insurance agents have little motivation to settle until litigation has begun.
Neblett, Beard & Arsenault has extensive experience helping Louisiana residents receive the compensation they need to move forward with their lives after being injured by negligent drivers. If you're struggling to obtain a fair settlement from your insurance company, please complete our contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.