West Virginia Seat Belt Laws Affect Car Accident Claims
Miley Legal Group
West Virginia seat belt laws are some of the toughest in the nation when it comes to car accident claims and their civil court proceedings. If your West Virginia car accident claim goes to trial, you need to be prepared for how non-use of your seat belt can impact your case’s outcome.
West Virginia seat belt laws became effective on September 1, 1993, and state that all persons riding in a passenger vehicle must wear seat belts if they are in the front seats, and all passengers ages 8 – 17 years must wear seat belts in all seats.
The law also has specific rules pertaining to children, and states that all children younger than 8 years must be secured in either a child safety seat, or a booster seat, as applicable under the code.
A child who is at least 4′ 9″ tall can ride in the back seat secured with a seat belt. While there are exceptions for individuals with qualifying physical disabilities, the person claiming their disability prevented them from wearing a seat belt must have a doctor’s certificate and go through a regulatory process for the exemption to be valid.
Although the seat belt laws are generally not designated as primarily enforceable, if you are in a West Virginia car crash and it was discovered that you were not wearing your seat belt at the time, you may face a penalty in the form of a reduction of your compensation award.
The penalty can be as much as a 5% reduction in monetary damages awarded if it can be proven that your failure to wear a seat belt was a proximate cause of your injuries.
To learn more about West Virginia seat belt laws, visit our article library.
Unfortunately, car accidents are a regular occurrence on West Virginia roadways such as I-79, I-77, Route 50, Route 33, and I-68. In fact, our state averages over 40,000 car crashes, over 400 deaths, and over 11,000 serious injuries each year. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a West Virginia car accident, order a FREE copy of our consumer guide, The 7 Biggest Mistakes that Can Wreck Your West Virginia Car Accident Claim then contact the Clarksburg personal injury attorneys at The Miley Legal Group for a FREE consultation – 304-326-1800