A two-car accident on Interstate 10 in Phoenix left five people injured last night. At the outset, this may seem like a “routine” accident until you consider that an eight-year-old girl was allegedly ejected from the vehicle during the crash. Although she was reportedly thrown from the vehicle, she apparently did not suffer the injuries that commonly kill people who are ejected from cars that have been in accidents.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation, so a determination of fault is speculative at this point. However, crash is a tragic reminder of what can happen to occupants of a vehicle if they are not using seatbelts. Arizona has a law that requires all passengers in a car to use a restraint system. This includes all children under certain heights and weights. Failure to do so could result in police issuing a citation.
Aside from the criminal implications, wearing seatbelts is the single most useful mode of protection from the injuries that can arise in an accident. People who wear seatbelts are less likely to be seriously injured in a crash compared to those who do not. It is almost akin to motorcycle riders who wear helmets compared to those who choose not to.
Also, a driver who may be responsible for causing an accident (and subsequent injuries) may raise a defense that the injured party failed to wear a seatbelt; thereby opening the door to reduce the injured person’s ability to receive compensation. Essentially a jury could choose not to compensate the injured party for injuries that would have been avoided if the person was wearing a seatbelt.
Source: Azcentral.com “Five injured on I-10 in crash near 32nd Street,” Katie Bieri, June 17, 2014