Sadly, over 33,000 people die in car accidents each year, and a major contributing factor to fatalities in these wrecks is failure to wear a seatbelt. The risk of being killed in an auto accident is estimated to be 45-60% higher when you are not wearing a seatbelt than when you are properly buckled up. These numbers are supported by a study released recently.
In particular, backseat passenger deaths are on the rise, as more and more people are taking advantage of ridesharing and chauffeuring services than ever before. Conducted by the Governors Highway Safety Association, the study documents 803 rear-seat passenger deaths where the victims were not wearing seatbelts and asserted that over half of them would have survived had they been buckled. Over 400 lives could have been saved, and countless more would not have suffered the devastation of needlessly losing their loved ones.
Conventional wisdom for many years was that you were safer if you were “thrown out” of a car upon impact, rather than strapped in with your belt. There was fear of being trapped in the car by the belt especially in the event of a water crash or if the car caught fire. Instances like these were statistically rare, but the paranoia around a few sensational stories spread like wildfire. In addition to these anxieties, there was an element of glamour to riding unsecured. As late as the 1960’s race car drivers were still not all using safety belts, and there was a frequently repeated sentiment that “if the race car drivers don’t do it, why should I?”
Over the next couple of decades, and many needless fatalities later, public opinion finally changed. Between 1984 and 1995, every state except New Hampshire instituted seat belt requirement laws. Always buckling up (no matter the length of the trip, your position in the car, or who is driving) is the best thing you can do to help stay safe. If you do suffer an accident, know that you can reach out to Thompson Law anytime for assistance with your event.
Tragically, a great number of famous and beloved stars have been killed in auto accidents. Many of these fatalities were attributed to seatbelts not being worn. Despite these high-profile cases of needless fatality, people continue to ride without buckling up every day, with terrible consequences.
People often act as though riding in the back of a taxi or rideshare like Uber or Lyft is safer than riding in a regular car. Ride services mean you are not driving drunk, and you’re being couriered by a professional driver. In fact, similar possibilities for accident and injury exist in these cars like in any other. It is critical to always buckle up – even in the backseat, even for a short trip, and even when driven by a professional.
A famous case that brought a lot of attention to this issue was the death of renowned Princeton Professor, John Nash, and his wife, Alicia Nash. A couple of A Beautiful Mind fame was killed during a cab ride in 2015 when the driver lost control on the New Jersey turnpike, ejecting them from the car. The results of the crash may have been far less tragic had they been wearing seatbelts at the time.
John Nash, the 1994 Nobel Prize winner in Economics and famed mathematician, was well known for his work on game theory and as senior research mathematician for decades at Princeton University (alma mater of Thompson Law CEO, Zack Thompson, incidentally). Alicia was an MIT physics graduate, famous for her role as wife and caretaker of John through his struggles with schizophrenia and an important figure in the Princeton community in her own right. Their deaths were a devastating loss to the academic community and many more.
If one tragic example does not say it all, a very abridged list of other famous fatalities since 1955 that were all caused in full or in part by not using a seatbelt includes:
While it is possible to sustain some injuries from your seatbelt itself in the event of an accident, these pale in comparison to the injuries you may face without your seatbelt on. If you are unrestrained at the time of impact, you can actually become a projectile object, flying through your windshield or hitting hard surfaces in your car, resulting in injuries and consequences like:
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
Severe Cuts and Bruises
Sprains, Strains, and Broken Bones
When people involved in an accident have not been wearing their seatbelts, injuries on the scene can be particularly severe, so be sure to involve the proper authorities. Call 911 for emergency police, ambulance or fire response. Doing so can be critical to saving lives and preventing further injury. After emergency professionals have arrived on the scene be sure to thoroughly cooperate with their instructions. Use the following list to gather important information about the event:
Personal ID’s – owner, drivers, passengers, witnesses
Property ID’s – plate numbers, insurance info, registration info, location info
Photograph – take pictures of the vehicles involved, the accident site and the damage. Extra pictures of anything notable about the scene can be extremely helpful in understanding all the details of the event.
Police – for emergencies call 911, for non-emergencies call the local police department. When emergency personnel arrive, cooperate fully with their instructions as they generate an accident report.
Proceed – Take care of departing the scene! Follow the instructions provided to you by emergency professionals. Gather the police report information when available. Call Lion Law(link) for legal assistance and representation.
Protect – Protect your rights and interests by calling Thompson Law at 844-308-8180 as soon as you are able to follow the accident.
If you noted that anyone was not wearing their seatbelt, tell your Thompson Law attorney for advice. Sharing this accurate information with your Thompson Law advisors can make a critical impact on the outcome of your case!
The safety benefit we experience in choosing to buckle up is really unparalleled. Always make the right choice when you get in the car, whether the front seat or back, and fasten your seatbelt. Not only will this keep you safer, but it will model this behavior and remind others in the car to do the same, so you all stay safe in the event of a collision.
If you were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of your accident, this does potentially impact the determination of your percentage of fault in the event. To best protect your interests in your case, hire an expert personal injury attorney. Your attorney can fully assess all the details of your circumstances and guide your claim for your very best result.
If you have been in an auto accident, especially one with seat belt related complications such as unbuckled participates or injuries sustained from seatbelt failure, you deserve help and compensation for your ordeal. Reach out to Thompson Law anytime 24/7/365. Our expert legal team is standing by to help you with your questions and provide a free consultation for your claim. Buckle up, stay safe, and if you need help, don’t hesitate to call us anytime.
Thompson Law receives an attorney fee and you pay no legal fees as our client unless we pay you. Thompson Law has 350 years of combined experience in legal representation and has won over $1.8 billion dollars in cash settlements for our clients. We master the art of managing client cases with empathy, compassion, respect and, of course, prodigious skill. Contact us today for a free, risk-free consultation to discuss your accident and your options.
State law limits the time you have to file a claim after an auto accident. If you have been injured in an accident, call now to get the help you need.