Fifteen states allow at least some reduction of damages if it is proven that the plaintiff was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the incident and that seat belt usage would have reduced injuries. ARCCA has investigated and analyzed many accidents to determine whether injuries would have been reduced if the seat belt was worn at the time of the crash.
A typical Seat Belt Defense case first involves reviewing the plaintiff’s testimony, the Police Accident Report, witness statements, medical records and the design of the restraint system in that vehicle. If appropriate and available, a vehicle and seat belt inspection is often conducted as well. The injury patterns are analyzed to see if they are consistent with belt use or not, and to determine if belt use would have reduced the magnitude of the injury.
The expert also looks at vehicle damage and compares this against available test data to determine forces and the direction of the forces experienced by the occupant. This analysis is often supplemented by data obtained from EDCRASH software. Using this analysis, the expert is then able to opine whether belt use would have reduced the injuries.