Can I Get Compensated for Car Accident Injuries if I Wasn’t Wearing My Seatbelt?

Date: October 7, 2020

Driver and Passenger Seat Belt Laws in Pennsylvania

Everyone knows that wearing your seatbelt at all times prevents serious injury and death.  Acknowledging this reality the Pennsylvania Legislature in 1983 passed the Pennsylvania Seatbelt Law.  The statute found in the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle code 75 Pa. C. S. 4581 requires all adult front seat passengers to be in a seatbelt.  The law also requires all infants and individuals under the age of 18 to be properly belted and secured in car seats.  Failure to wear a seat belt for an adult is a secondary summary offense; in other words you can’t be pulled over for not wearing a seat belt but can be ticketed if you are pulled over for speeding or some other primary offense and found not to be belted.  Failure of minors to be properly belted in is a primary offense for which a police officer can pull someone over and give them a ticket.

Will Failing to Wear a Seatbelt Prevent Recovery of Damages in a Pennsylvania Injury Lawsuit?

The question arises as to what happens if you are an innocent driver or passenger involved and injured in an automobile accident in Pennsylvania while NOT wearing your seat belt.  Can the insurance company for the careless driver use your lack of use of a seatbelt against you and are you barred from filing a claim?   The answer to both of these questions is NO.  In an effort to encourage seatbelt use and not overly penalize innocent drivers and passengers injured or killed in an accident that was no fault of their own, the Pennsylvania Legislature included the provision in the law, SECTION 4581 (E),  that the lack of use of a seat belt is NOT relevant or admissible in a civil case in Pennsylvania.  In other words, if you failed to buckle up the insurance company cannot use this as a defense.   More important, it does NOT have any bearing on your right to pursue a case against the responsible party.  Defendants and insurance companies have fought the law without success since it passed including the leading case of Guadio v Ford Motor Company a case out of Pike County decided by the Pennsylvania Superior Court in 2009.

Get Legal Help If You Have Been Injured in a Car Accident

If you or a loved one is injured or killed in an automobile accident or truck accident in Northeast or Central Pennsylvania please call the trial team at Dougherty Leventhal & Price, LLP.  Remember: Injury? Call DLP! (570) C-A-L-L-D-L-P.

Joe Price
Attorney Joe Price is a seasoned Trial Lawyer serving Northeast, Central and Southeast Pennsylvania for the past forty (40) years. He has handled serious personal injury cases in courts throughout the Federal system including New Jersey and New York. Attorney Price is A.V. Rated by Martindale Hubble. He is Board Certified in Civil Practice by the National Board of Trial Advocacy since 1996.