Who is liable for medical billsregarding injuries sustained because a driver and passengerdidn’t wear their seatbelts?

UPDATED: Jan 16, 2011

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Who is liable for medical billsregarding injuries sustained because a driver and passengerdidn’t wear their seatbelts?

I was driving when I hit another driver from behind; he was stopped dead at a right of way T junction. There were no oncomming traffic, so he shouldn’t have stopped. They now want to claim for injuries (both the driver and passenger) on their back and neck (however the driver mentioned that his neck was an old rugby injury that was re-activated by the accident). Am I liable for their injuries, as they were not wearing any seatbelts?

Asked on January 16, 2011 under Accident Law, South Carolina


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

If the state in which the accident occurred requires seat belt use for adults and children alike, and but for not wearing the seat belt, the injury would not have occurred, it could be considered contributory negligence or comparative negligence in your state.First, you hit them from behind.  The consideration between your lawyer/insurance company and the other driver's lawyer/insurance company will be if their negligence for stopping when they shouldn't have contributed.  In other words, could you have stopped even if they were stopped or were you going at such a high rate of speed that your negligence caused the accident? As to the aggravated injury, you take your victim as you find them so that may not work to your favor.

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