Ohio Law Only Requires The Use Of Seat Belts By Drivers And Front Passengers

Passage of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act in 1966 authorized the federal government to set and regulate standards for motor vehicles and highways, and led to adoption of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards two years later. This included a requirement that American cars and imports be equipped with safety devices, including head rests, energy-absorbing steering wheels, shatter-resistant windshields and seat belts.

While many states encouraged seat belt use afterward, New York was the first to require it (December, 1984). Ohio followed suit one and one-half years later.

If you were injured in an auto accident, and you were not wearing a seat belt, you might think that your injuries are automatically your fault. At Crandall & Pera Law, our lawyers want you to know that is not necessarily the case. If another driver is to blame for the crash, he or she may still be held liable for the accident. Our attorneys have decades of experience handling complex cases like these, and have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients.

The Rationale Of Seat Belts

The value of wearing a seat belt seems unquestionable, no matter where one is seated in a vehicle. Restraining devices prevent passengers from being ejected from a car during a collision or rollover. For example, in 2008, there were 25,351 passenger fatalities nationally, and 55 percent of the vehicles’ occupants were unrestrained. Being ejected from a fast-moving vehicle by impact is typically a formula for catastrophic injury or death.

What Are Ohio’s Seat Belt Regulations And Exceptions?

A driver, anyone over age 15 occupying the front passenger seat and other occupants from ages 4 through 14 in any seat must wear seat belts. Passengers under age 4 must be properly secured in an infant car seat or on a booster. Adult rear seat passengers are not required to wear seat belts at all.

What If I Suffer A Catastrophic Injury Or Death In An Accident And Was Not Wearing A Seat Belt?

Because of Ohio’s “comparative negligence” rule, a driver who causes an accident may argue that the victim is responsible for the extent of their injuries because they neglected to secure themselves. Failure to wear a seat belt will not necessarily exclude you from recovery, but it might affect the amount of damages you recover.

Insurance companies often deny or limit claims in which the injured claimant failed to wear a seat belt.

Can Our Ohio Auto Accident Attorneys Help?

It is possible to contest your degree of responsibility, since courts and juries consider all the facts in a case, including whether a seat belt would have made any difference. A Crandall & Pera Law attorney can also deal with insurance carriers who refuse or delay payment.

Speak about your situation with one of Crandall & Pera Law’s traffic violations specialists? Please call us at 855-444-6651 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We have five Ohio law offices conveniently located in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Chesterland and Chagrin Falls.