North Dakota law requires that a person wears a seat belt. Yet, seat belts can also cause some of the most serious injuries a person suffers during a car accident. Yes, they are uncomfortable and can be difficult to use, but you have to do so. After a car accident, it can be frustrating to overcome the medical losses and complications you have. Understanding your right to compensation is critical.
At Larson Law Firm, our dedicated Fargo car accident attorneys work closely with victims who suffer intense injury due to no fault of their own. Whether it is due to injuries from the seat belt or not, the party causing the accident is to blame for your losses. We encourage you to schedule a free consultation with our car accident lawyers to ensure you get the fair compensation you are owed.
Seat belts do cause injuries – that is true
A seat belt is a tool designed to prevent you from moving when you are in a car accident. Yet, when you are struck from behind with a lot of force, that can easily cause injuries related to the back-and-forth movement and that seat belt that is holding you back into place.
In According to a study published by the National Library of Medicine, seat belt injuries can include any of the following:
- Bruising and abrasions on the skin;
- Internal injuries to the bowel and stomach areas as a result of the pressure on them;
- Damage to the pancreas, kidney, and other organs;
- Neck and shoulder injuries;
- Back injuries;
- Fractures to the ribs, sternum, and other bones; and
- Damage to the lungs.
Why you should still buckle up when you get into a vehicle
The injuries caused by seat belts can be severe, but not nearly as severe as the injuries you can sustain without one. According to the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT), “the number one contributing factor in motor vehicle deaths is not wearing a seatbelt.” In 2021, just under half (46%) of all fatal accidents involved victims who were unbelted.
The folks who do survive these crashes can still be critically injured. Between 2017 and 2021, about 35% of all unbelted crash victims suffered serious injuries, and another 9% suffered less serious injuries. Those with serious injuries require significant medical care, too. NDDOT reports that “unbelted crash victims have medical bills 50% higher than belted crash victims,” accounting for almost $75 million in inpatient and outpatient medical costs in 2021.
In short, not wearing a seat belt is still the wrong decision. Buckle up every time you get into a vehicle; it could save your life.
Who is responsible for your seat belt-related injuries?
Consider a scenario in which you are rear-ended at a high rate of speed. The vehicle behind you strikes you so hard that your body strains forward against the seat belt, causing serious bruising and injury to your chest and stomach area. You end up with cracked ribs and internal bruising.
The key thing to remember here is that while seat belts can cause injuries, they are not the actual cause of the accident in the first place. That means that if you have such injuries, you can still pursue compensation for the losses against the driver that put you in this position.
In this situation, the person who struck you from behind is likely at fault for the accident. As a result, they are then responsible for the losses you have incurred. It is up to you, as the victim, to pursue compensation for all of the losses you have related to the seat belt and otherwise.
How our Fargo car accident lawyers can help you
There are several steps our Fargo car accident attorneys will take to pursue fair and full compensation for your losses. No matter what caused the injuries you have, the person responsible should be held accountable.
We review and analyze the accident
Our team will gather as much data and details about the incident as possible. This helps us to understand who may be at fault for such losses. We will pursue evidence in your case in as many ways as possible, including:
- Gathering witness statements
- Finding video or photos of the incident that may be available
- Using information from the police report
- Obtaining testimony from an expert witness
- Gathering information from expert medical providers
- Obtaining toxicology reports for the other driver
Once we know what happened, we can help you determine who is at fault. Often, the police officer responding to the scene will make the decision about fault. That is often a starting point. If you do not believe it is accurate, we will work to pursue a more clear picture of what occurred instead.
We assess your losses
Our attorneys will also gather as much information about your losses as possible. The more data we have about the injuries you have, the more accurately we can pursue information and insight into your ability to receive compensation. Your losses in a car accident may include:
- Medical bills
- Lost time from work
- Rehabilitation costs
- Amputation and disfigurement costs
- Losses related to pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of consortium
This will include covering the type of injuries you have, such as seat belt-related accidents. We will then work with you to understand your immediate loss related to those injuries and how the injuries could continue to impact your health and well-being into the future. The more information and guidance we have, the better your claim can be.
We advocate on your behalf
We then present this information to the insurance company. If they will not settle your claim fairly, we will seek legal action in a court of law to pursue further compensation.
At Larson Law Firm P.C., our Fargo car accident attorneys can help you sue those responsible for your seat belt injuries and recoup some of your losses. Our team will work diligently to ensure you receive maximum compensation. It starts with a conversation with our lawyers.
Contact us now to learn more about your right to compensation. We serve clients in Fargo, Minot, and Bismarck. Set up a time to discuss what happened to you by calling our office or submitting our contact form.