Wearing a seat belt while driving or riding as a passenger in the front seat of a motor vehicle has been required in Ohio since 2004. The Ohio Revised Code states in part:
(B) No person shall do any of the following:
(1) Operate an automobile on any street or highway unless that person is wearing all of the available elements of a properly adjusted occupant restraining device, or operate a school bus that has an occupant restraining device installed for use in its operator’s seat unless that person is wearing all of the available elements of the device, as properly adjusted.
Effective Date 03/09/2004.
Some states allow for personal injury damages to be reduced depending on whether or not the injured person was wearing their seat belt during a car accident. Ohio case law does allow the “Seat Belt Defense” to be used in terms of comparative negligence. If you are proven to be comparatively negligent by the person who is at-fault for the accident, then some of your injuries are not attributed to the at fault party—part of your injuries are said to be your own fault.
There are two impacts during a collision: The primary impact (The initial impact of the vehicles) and the secondary impact (the impact to the person inside the vehicle with the interior of the vehicle). The legal theory behind reducing personal injury damages for non-use of a seatbelt is this: While non-use of a seat belt does not cause a primary impact, it can cause further personal injury during the course of the secondary impact inside the vehicle. To use the seat belt defense, the at-fault defendant must prove that the plaintiff would have had fewer injuries had they been wearing their seatbelt during the collision.
Studies repeatedly show that seat belts lessen injuries during auto accidents. Ohio law requires seat belts. Ohio law allows for evidence of seat belt non-usage during a collision to be used against an injured person.
Personal injury damages can be reduced if you are injured in a car accident and not adhering to Ohio law and wearing your seat belt.
If you have been involved in a car accident anywhere in Ohio, please call 1-888-534-4850 for a free consultation with anattorney experienced with Ohio automobile accidents.