Texas seat belt law

The Texas Motor Vehicle Authority ensures that vehicles registered in the state undergo an annual inspection, and among the many things in the inspection checklist are seat belts. Every year the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has a “Click It or Ticket” Campaign, and November 2020 marked its 18th anniversary. Since 2002, the campaign that urges people to buckle up has saved 6,234 lives, and currently, 91% of Texans always wear their seatbelts.

According to TxDOT, wearing a seat belt reduces death risk in case of a car crash by 45% in passenger vehicles and by 60% in a pickup truck. With 14% of Texans admitting to driving under the influence, your safety on the road is compromised.

Since you cannot control other people’s actions, you should ensure that you reduce the chances of injury by wearing a seat belt every time you are on the road, whether as a driver or a passenger. Therefore, let’s take you through the benefits of wearing a seat belt, the injuries they may cause, and seat belt safety tips.

Top Benefits of Wearing Seat Belts in Texas

Save Lives

Car crashes are a leading cause of death in the United States for those aged between 1 and 54. Seat belt use is among the most effective ways to reduce the risk of death; it decreases death risk by 45% among front-seat passengers and drivers. By restraining you, it prevents you from being ejected where you can meet death on the road.

Reduce Injuries

A seat belt protects your body against serious injuries such as brain and spinal cord injuries that can dramatically change your life as well as the lives of your loved ones.

Reduce the Financial Costs

If you are involved in a car accident and you sustain injuries, the chances are that you will remain in hospital three to five times longer than if you had been wearing a seat belt when the crash occurred. As a result, you incur 2-7 times the medical expenses of victims who wear seat belts. However, it goes beyond reducing your hospital bills. The fact that some people insist on not wearing seat belts puts a financial burden on every taxpayer. Insurance premiums increase, and so do taxes. Failing to wear seat belts imposes a tax burden of about $137 billion per year, an amount that would significantly decrease if everyone adhered to the law.

Strong Personal Injury Case

If you sustained spinal cord injuries in a car accident that have resulted in paralysis, your paralysis attorney has a better chance of winning your case after showing that the injuries were not due to negligence on your part. However, that is only possible if you were wearing a seat belt, especially since anyone riding in a Texas motor vehicle must wear a seat belt.

Avoid Legal Issues

In Texas, everyone should buckle up lest face tickets and fines. Children under 8 years old must be in a child safety seat if they are shorter than 4 feet 9 inches; if not, the driver will face up to a $250 fine and court costs. Adults can pay up to $200, plus court costs.

Texas Seat Belt Law

What Are the Most Common Seat Belt Injuries?

Seat belts can save your life, but you might not escape bruise-free. A three-point adult harness rests on the abdomen, shoulders, and chest. As the seat belt forces you to stay in your seat, the points of impact in these three areas can result in blunt force trauma in the:

Abdomen

You might experience pain in the abdominal area and surrounding regions after the accident due to the pressure applied as you are thrust forward in an accident. Getting an evaluation prevents severe complications later.

Neck

Your head could be pushed back and forth rapidly during a car accident, resulting in straining neck tendons and ligaments, thus causing whiplash. A neck injury attorney can ensure that you get the justice you deserve.

Chest

It is a direct point of impact that will affect the underlying organs such as the heart and lungs located in the sternum.  A sore chest should encourage you to seek immediate medical attention. Other thoracic injuries include rib fractures, myocardial contusion, sternal fractures, and pulmonary contusion.

Texas Seat Belt Law & Safety Tips

  • Always wear a seat belt regardless of where you are sitting.
  • Wear it correctly

The lap belt should not ride upon the stomach; instead, it should be snug across your upper thighs. The shoulder strap should lie across the middle of your chest and shoulder. Do not let it fall across your neck; neither should it be behind your back or under your arms. You can minimize the gap between the seat belt and the shoulder by not reclining your seat more than necessary.

  • Any child under a year old and weighing less than 35 pounds should be in a rear-facing child seat at the vehicle’s back seat. Children below five years old and less than 36 inches tall should ride in a child safety seat.
  • When buying a car, ensure that the seat belts fit perfectly. Ask about any room for adjustments to get the best fit. Always adjust your strap to the wearer’s height, and if you need a roomier belt, you can contact the vehicle manufacturer for seat belt extenders.

Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer After Sustaining Injuries

After sustaining injuries, the Texas statute of limitations directs you to file your injury case within two years from the date of injury. You or your loved ones do not have to worry about losing your case because you can’t find a competent lawyer. Thompson Law has a team of skilled injury lawyers ready to come to you wherever you are. We are a small, family-run firm with a large pool of resources; we personally handle all cases and establish close working relationships with our clients.

At Thompson Law, we only win if you do; therefore, you don’t owe us a penny until we have settled your injury case. We offer free consultations and free case reviews, so if you feel that you or your loved ones deserve your day in court, we are here for you. Contact us today on the phone, fax, email, or our social media page. We are available 24/7 to listen to you and will assign you a lawyer within 15 minutes.

PIP In Texas

If a car accident has left you with injuries, medical treatment will be the most vital element of your recovery. Your doctor may offer emergency treatment procedures, inpatient care, surgeries, or therapy. While you don’t want to imagine how much you’ll pay, the costs are unavoidable because you must heal.

In these circumstances, personal injury protection (PIP) auto insurance can be your savior. The coverage pays for your medical care, and you’ll worry less about the massive bills presented by your facility.

What is PIP?

PIP (sometimes referred to as no-fault insurance) is a component of automobile insurance plans focused on addressing any medical expenses resulting from a car accident. It addresses the healthcare expenses of policyholders and vehicle occupants, whether or not they have health insurance.

Sometimes, the cost of the necessary treatments exceeds the policy’s limits. In such circumstances, health insurance can take care of the additional expenses. These policies have a per-person maximum, meaning it’s limited to a specific amount per person if the incident inflicted injuries to multiple individuals.

PIP is not required in Texas. However, acquiring the coverage can help address the initial health care costs, lost income after the incident, and deductibles. The no-fault insurance coverage pays upon providing evidence of the treatment expenses, and the policyholder doesn’t need proof of liability.

PIP as Your Safety Net

After a car accident, your priority should be the well-being and safety of every occupant in the vehicle. You do not usually begin figuring out the state of your car and personal items or how you’ll move the car until after checking on everyone involved. This is usually a difficult, tense moment, further complicated by beginning to think of how you’ll get money to foot the medical bills and complete the necessary repairs.

Unfortunately, the other driver may have minimal coverage, and you may be left with additional health care expenses and repairs beyond what your insurer covers. Also, if the at-fault party causes an accident involving several cars, you may find yourself scrambling with the others for a percentage of the benefits.

So, if you’re a road accident victim and the at-fault driver’s insurer can’t compensate your financial losses, PIP in Texas can provide the space and time to recover fully. Consider it a safety net that rescues you whenever the responsible party’s coverage can’t buffer you.

Personal Injury TX vs. Health Insurance

A common misconception among those who ignore PIP in Texas is that the coverage is just like health insurance. They may share several similarities, but personal injury protection and health insurance are two different coverages.

Most people fail to realize that most health coverages offer a clause that places them second to other forms of liability insurance. This means that if a policyholder is involved in an unfortunate crash, their health coverage can deny the claim and direct them to rely on the other party’s policy. If the other party disputes liability, you’ll have to dig into your pockets to foot the medical expenses.

If the party’s insurer accepts liability, they won’t make the payments instantly. They will only make the settlement payment once the victim has “completed” their entire treatment and submitted a claim. In some instances, victims never “complete” their treatment and may experience issues spanning years. As the bills continue piling, there will be no one else to pay but you.

With personal injury coverage, you’ll simply make a claim for the opening out-of-pocket expenses resulting from the crash. The coverage will take care of your medical expenses and lost earnings within the PIP policy limit. So, the more coverage you pay for, the better.

How and When to File a PIP Claim in Texas

PIP in Texas only covers the costs that pop up within three years after the unfortunate car crash. However, it’s still important to report all expenses and injuries to your insurance provider once you learn about them.

When filing the PIP claim, ensure you include every payment documentation, bills, receipts, and other relevant documentation that’s valuable in creating a solid case and reducing the time taken. Depending on your specific expense, your claim may result in the following primary reimbursement levels:

  • The coverage will pay for the entire cost of ambulance services, medical treatment, and funeral costs. Document everything you receive and the prices. You must also acquire copies of the service provider’s documentation indicating that the injuries directly link with the crash. Otherwise, it may be hard to obtain full reimbursement.
  • Personal injury coverage in Texas covers 80% of the victim’s lost income due to a crash. You’ll be required to provide proof of payment before the accident and evidence that the sustained injuries directly resulted in the lost wages.
  • Just like the lost wages, personal injury protection coverage addresses 80% of the caregiver services expenses.

What’s the Time Limit for Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Section 16.003 of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code spells out the PIP statute of limitations. The law requires victims to file their personal injury TX civil actions within two years after the day of the accident (cause of action) that caused the injures.

If another party’s intentional act or carelessness causes an accident that leads to injury, you can request the state courts for damages (civil remedy) for the experienced losses. The two-year deadline is still applicable whether our case is based on the liability principle of intentional tort or negligence.

Notably, PIP in Texas doesn’t cover property and vehicle damages or theft. The coverage doesn’t address any damages to another party’s property and won’t pay for medical expenses and lost wages beyond the coverage limits.

You are in Safe Hands

Most car crashes leave victims confused, and you may not be well enough to begin following up your personal injury TX claim. In this case, you need a reliable attorney specialized in family-oriented PIP cases. Thompson Law Injury Lawyers can help you get the deserved financial buffer in good time to aid recovery.

Thompson Law, one of Dallas’ most reputable law firms, boasts a tremendous success rate in personal injury TX cases. What’s more, we are available around the clock, and you’ll have a qualified lawyer working your case in 15 minutes after reaching out. We thrive in sharing the success of our customers. That is why you will get a free case review from us, and you only pay us if we win.

Call us at (844) 308-8180 today, and we will begin working on your case immediately.

Thompson Law’s Guarantee

Thompson Law offers free case reviews to every potential client so we can help you determine the best legal approach to pursue. We receive no attorney fees and you pay no legal expenses unless you get compensated for your accident.

Thompson Law’s personal injury lawyers and their legal teams treat every client with respect, empathy, and compassion. We understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach, as every case is unique and different. Our firm won 10 of the top 50 settlements in Texas in 2020, including the 2nd and 3rd largest personal injury settlements in the State. We can help you, too.

State law limits the time to file a claim following a personal injury accident. If you have been injured, call now for the help you need.