When former Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer Robert Burns was killed in a one-car crash northwest of Atlanta on a rainy night earlier this month, the crash brought back a lot of memories of the 1977 plane crash that killed three band members, the band’s road manager and the pilot and co-pilot. Burns had left the band by then, so he wasn’t aboard the plane when it crashed in a Mississippi Forest on that October evening.
But it also brought to light another important fact: During the April 4 car crash in Cartersville, Burns was not wearing his seat belt. The crash investigation hasn’t been completed yet, so there’s no way to tell how much his decision not to wear a belt factored into the fatal injuries he suffered. However, the accident itself may help raise awareness for the need to wear a seat belt at all times when on the road.
Seat Belts Reduce Serious Injuries
Under Georgia law, each occupant of the front seat, no matter how old, must wear a seat belt while the car is being operated, and any occupant under the age of 18 years must wear a seat belt no matter where they’re sitting – front or back. There’s a good reason for seat belt use: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), wearing a seat belt reduces deaths and serious injuries by 50 percent. The agency also reports teens and younger adults are less likely to wear seat belts than older adults, and in 2012, 55% of teen deaths in auto accidents involved teens who were not using a seat belt when they crashed.
Aside from the emotional impact caused by serious injuries or deaths that might have been avoided with seat belt use, there’s a pragmatic aspect to wearing restraints as well: If you suffer injuries as a result of a motor vehicle accident and you’re not wearing a seat belt, even when the other party is obviously at fault, insurance companies may try to use this against you to avoid paying your claim.
Is that fair? No – and barring some really extreme circumstances, it isn’t even legal: Georgia’s seat belt law also states failure to wear a seat belt “shall not be considered evidence of negligence or causation” and “shall not otherwise be considered by the finder of fact on any question of liability of any person, corporation, or insurer.” But that doesn’t mean insurance companies aren’t going to try to use it against you, or to try to convince you or your total or shared liability and press you to sign away your rights to make a claim.
For a free legal consultation, call (770) 792-1000
Car Accident Attorney in Acworth
As an experienced car accident lawyer in Acworth, Roger Ghai understands the tools and techniques insurance companies use to try to avoid paying on claims brought against their drivers. And he also understands how to protect accident victims’ rights throughout the claims process and right into the courts. If you’ve been involved in a Georgia car accident, you need an Acworth car accident attorney who’s ready to fight for what’s right. Call the Law Offices of Roger Ghai at 770-792-1000 and schedule a consultation today.
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