Both the states of Missouri and Kansas require their citizens to wear a seat belt while driving a motor vehicle. In fact, in both states, a driver can receive a ticket and a fine for not wearing a seat belt. However, while driving without a seat belt may result in a ticket, you still have the legal right to receive compensation from a negligent party following a car accident.
Liability in Car Accidents
Following a car accident, police arrive at the scene of the crime and make an independent investigation regarding the cause of the accident. In many cases, liability can be determined at the scene of the crime given the facts and circumstances of the collision. A police officer will take statements from all witnesses, passengers, and drivers of all vehicles involved in an accident. Following the investigation, a police officer will make a determination regarding which party has liability and responsibility for the accident.
Seat Belts and Car Accidents
If you are involved in a car accident, wearing a seat belt may save your life. However, whether you wear a seat belt or not does not prove negligence in a car accident. In fact, a police officer will not make any determination regarding liability or false with respect to whether or not a person was wearing a seat belt. Therefore, if you are not wearing a seat belt in a car accident, you may still have the right to receive compensation for your injuries and losses resulting from that accident from the negligent party.
Seat Belt Defense
There is an important piece of information you should know if you were not wearing a seat belt and suffered injuries in an accident in Missouri. Missouri statute RSMo § 307.178 sets out the requirements and penalties for not wearing a seatbelt. In short, your judgment can be reduced by 1% if you weren’t wearing a seatbelt in a Missouri accident. Kansas follows a different set of rules regarding the compensation and calculation of damages for victims that did not wear seat belts. However, in both cases, if you were not wearing a seat belt, it is likely that your injuries are much worse than if you had been wearing seat belts. As a result, the negligent party can still indicate that they were responsible for the accident, but they are not responsible for the additional injuries that you suffered as a result of your decision not to wear a seat belt. These often prove to be complicated cases involving serious statistical analysis and making a determination regarding how much more a victim was injured due to the fact that they were not wearing a seat belt. Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney can help you understand your legal rights, and help you understand how much compensation you can receive as a result of your car accident.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
The law is handled very differently in Kansas and Missouri regarding seat belts and car accidents. Contact our experienced personal injury attorneys at Griggs Injury Law at (816) 474-0202 to learn your legal rights in your specific set of facts and circumstances, and how much compensation you can receive for your injuries if you were not wearing a seat belt.