Illinois Seat Belt Laws and Their Effect on Car Accidents
You may take them for granted now, but seat belts are one of the most important safety features in any car cabin. Seat belts are a simple and powerful way to prevent serious injuries and fatalities stemming from car accidents. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that, since 1975, seat belts have been responsible for saving over 250,000 American lives. While about 14% of all Americans don’t use a seat belt regularly, an average of over 50% of all people who were fatally injured in motor vehicle accidents were not restrained at the time of the crash.
Get help recovering damages after an accident
While most of us understand the safety benefits of using a seat belt regularly, we’ve all been susceptible to making excuses when we don’t want to buckle up, such as not needing to bother with a seat belt for quick trips. Unfortunately, it only takes a moment for a crash to occur, and these brief lapses can have long-term effects. That said, even if you failed to use a seat belt, you still may be entitled to money damages after an Illinois car accident. Chicagoland attorney John Fairman has been fighting for accident victims for years, and he can help you get the money damages you deserve when you’re hurt in a crash. Contact his Homewood offices today for a consultation on your car accident claim.
Illinois laws mandate that all vehicle occupants wear seat belts
According to the Illinois Secretary of State, while seat belt use among Illinois residents hovered around 16% in 1985, as of 2014 about 94% of the state’s residents reported using a seat belt regularly. Illinois requires that anyone riding in a passenger vehicle wear a seat belt at all times. Children under age eight must be restrained in a child safety seat appropriate for their age and size. Children under two years of age are to ride in a rear-facing seat, while children under four should ride in a forward-facing child safety seat. Children who are between four and up to 12 years of age should use a booster seat, restrained by a lap and shoulder belt, though most children are of an appropriate size to use only a seatbelt by age eight. These laws are considered “primary enforcement” laws, meaning that the police can pull you over solely because they noticed that you or your passenger was riding in your car unrestrained.
Accident victims can still receive damages even without using a seat belt in a crash
If you’re involved in an accident while you weren’t wearing a seatbelt, you may be scared of filing a claim for damages. After all, not only is seat belt use important in terms of safety, it’s also the law of the land. In some states, the so-called seat belt defense can reduce or eliminate money damages for accident victims whose injuries could have been prevented or reduced had they been wearing a seat belt. Victims of Illinois traffic accidents, however, can rest assured that this defense won’t apply in their case. The seat belt defense has been made illegal under Illinois law.
Get Help after a Serious Chicago Area Car Accident
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident in Illinois, find out if you have a right to money damages for your injuries by contacting the Chicago area personal injury attorney John Fairman for a consultation, in Homewood at 708-799-4848, and in Bridgeview at 708-960-4806.