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I was recently injured in a car accident caused by another driver

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The following question was asked in Fibromyalgia Magazine

Dear Brian,

I was recently injured in a road accident. the accident was caused by the other driver and I was innocent. Nevertheless, I have been told that because I was not wearing a seatbelt I will receive no damages. Is that correct?



Dear Ivor,

It is of course now very firmly established that drivers and passengers in a car should all be wearing seatbelts. Nevertheless, the law is not nearly so “black and white” as you have been led to believe.

Already for the last 35 years the situation has been that it all depends what difference wearing a seatbelt would have made to the injuries suffered.

When wearing a seatbelt would have resulted in no injury, you are entitled to damages but they will be reduced by 25%. Whereas a seatbelt, if it had been worn, would result in a significant reduction in the severity of injury and the deduction from your damages would be 15%. Where the Defendant cannot show that the wearing of the seatbelt would have made any difference to the injuries, the deduction is nil. It seems as though, in major cases, such as where there has been a brain injury and where no seatbelt was worn, the parties will need to call medical evidence directed at what would have been the outcome if a seatbelt had been worn.

Whilst you have not told me enough about your situation for me to say what deduction, if any will apply to your damages, the important point to note is that you will still receive damages and the worst that could happen is that you would see them reduced by one quarter because you were not wearing your belt.


About Brian Barr

Brian has been a Solicitor for over 35 years, specialising in high value, complex accident and clinical negligence claims. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL). He has a particular enthusiasm for high profile and “cutting edge” litigation. Since winning a settlement of £1.25 million for a fibromyalgia sufferer in 1997, he has taken a particular interest in FM and other chronic pain cases for Claimants. Read more on his website

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