Everybody knows that you are legally required to wear your seatbelt while driving in Dallas. If you get into a car accident and don’t have your seatbelt on, it may hurt your chances of collecting damages. The good news is that your Dallas car accident lawyer may still be able to get you compensation for your injuries.
Normally, You Can Sue the Other Driver for Damages Under Personal Injury
Whenever someone is hurt in an accident, they can usually sue for personal injury. As long as your accident attorney in Dallas can prove that the defendant was at fault, you’ll receive damages.
However, if you contributed to the accident in any way, it will impact your claim. Of course, your lawyer will do their best to prove that the other driver was primarily responsible for the crash.
The Reason You Hire an Accident Attorney in Dallas is to Be Compensated for Your Injuries
Our Dallas car accident lawyers understand that the only reason you hire a lawyer is so that you can be compensated for your injuries. For this to happen, your attorney needs to prove negligence.
Negligence just means that you have to demonstrate that the defendant didn’t behave in a reasonable manner. You also have to prove that you suffered some sort of injury. If your accident attorney in Dallas can do these two things, you should win your case.
Of Course, You Must Suffer an Actual Injury to Collect Any Damages
Every now and then, a client comes to us looking to file a lawsuit against the other driver in a car accident. They assume that they’re entitled to damages simply because they were involved in a car crash.
The truth is that you need to actually prove that you suffered a physical injury. Of course, you can sue for damage to your vehicle. However, for your case to have any real value, your Dallas car accident lawyer must prove that you were hurt.
To Collect Any Damages, Your Dallas Car Accident Lawyer Must First Prove Negligence
As briefly stated above, in a car accident lawsuit, you must prove negligence. To do this, your accident attorney in Dallas must prove the following four things:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care
- They breached this duty
- You were injured
- Your injuries were caused by the defendant’s negligence
If your attorney is unable to prove each element, you will not be entitled to damages.
Your Accident Attorney in Dallas Must Demonstrate That the Defendant Acted Negligently
In every car accident case our Dallas car accident lawyers have handled, it’s impossible to prove that one driver was 100% at fault. Usually, both drivers contributed to the crash in some way.
The important thing is that you’re able to demonstrate that the defendant was more at fault than you were. For example, if they claim that you weren’t wearing your seatbelt, that won’t be enough to relieve them of liability.
If You Weren’t Wearing Your Seatbelt, the Defendant Will Argue You Were Partially at Fault
Georgia law requires that drivers and passengers wear their seatbelts at all times. If you did not have your seatbelt on at the time of the crash, you are technically in violation of the law.
As stated here, one of the elements of negligence requires you to prove that the defendant breached their duty of care. The defendant’s attorney will claim that you were negligent by not wearing your seatbelt.
The Defendant Will Try to Prove That You Were Partially at Fault
Of course, the first thing the defendant will do when you file suit is claim that you caused the crash. Typically, once they receive your complaint, they will file their response. In their answer, they will make allegations against you.
One of the first things the defendant will say is that you weren’t wearing your seatbelt. They will try to push liability back on you. They will try to argue that you wouldn’t have been hurt had you been wearing your seatbelt as required by law.
Georgia Follows the Modified Comparative Negligence Rule
The interesting thing about Georgia law is that you can still collect damages, even if you were partly at fault. Georgia follows the modified comparative negligence law. This means that, as long as you’re less than 50% at fault, you can still prevail.
What your Dallas car accident lawyer will do is challenge any claim the defendant makes. If they claim that you caused the crash, your attorney will have an expert witness testify that it was the defendant’s fault.
Can You Still Collect Damages if You Were Partly to Blame for the Crash?
While you can still collect damages if you were partially at fault, they will be reduced. Georgia law dictates that, if you were partly to blame for your accident, your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
This means that, if the defendant can prove that you weren’t wearing your seatbelt at the time of the crash, you may be found partially at fault. Imagine that your accident attorney in Dallas sued for $100,000.
If the court finds you to be 20% at fault, your damages will be reduced from $100,000 to $80,000. This is because your claim will be reduced by 20% – or $20,000.
The Best Thing to Do is to Call One of Our Dallas Car Accident Lawyer as Soon as Possible
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you may be able to sue the other driver for damages. The best way to know for sure is to meet with an accident attorney in Dallas, Georgia. They can review your case and let you know if it’s worth pursuing.
We do offer new clients a free, initial consultation. This gives you a chance to ask any questions you may have. Our Dallas car accident lawyers may even be able to give you an idea of what your case is worth. Call The Weinstein Firm today for a Free Consultation. #WeinsteinWin!