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December 31, 2020 | Laws
There is no doubt that seat belts save lives. Time and time again, studies have proven that those who wear seat belts are much less likely to sustain severe injuries or die when a vehicle accident occurs. Most people now realize the benefits of wearing a seat belt. Here, we want to discuss what West Virginia law says about seat belt usage.
Since September 1, 1993, West Virginia law has said that all people riding in vehicles must wear seat belts if they are in the front seat of the vehicle. Additionally, any passenger aged 8 to 17 must wear a seat belt regardless of where they are located in the vehicle, whether in the front or the back.
West Virginia law also has specific laws pertaining to children under the age of eight. These younger children must be secured in either a child safety seat or an approved booster seat. A child who is over 4’ 9” tall is allowed to ride in the back seat without a child safety seat or booster seat, so long as they are secured in the seat with the seat belt.
There are various exceptions written into West Virginia law pertaining to individuals with qualifying physical disabilities, though the person who claims to have a disability is required to have a doctor’s certificate and go through a regulatory process in order to become exempt from wearing the seat belt.
In West Virginia, seat belt violations are not considered a “primary offense.” This means that a police officer will not make a traffic stop based simply on an adult not wearing a seat belt in the vehicle. However, if a person is in a car crash in West Virginia and it is discovered they were not wearing a seat belt at the time the crash occurred, they could face a penalty when it comes to receiving compensation for their losses. The penalty can be as much as a 5% reduction in the amount of damages awarded if it can be proven that the failure to wear a seat belt was a proximate cause of the injuries.
In other words, if a person is not wearing a seat belt and it can be shown that their failure to wear the seat belt caused them to sustain an injury that they would not otherwise have likely sustained, they will be penalized.
If you or somebody you care about has been injured in an accident caused by the negligent or careless actions of somebody else, contact an attorney as soon as possible. At Manchin Ferretti Injury Law, we have extensive experience handling complex vehicle accident cases, and we will get to work obtaining evidence on your behalf immediately. Our goal is to prove liability and help you secure full compensation for your losses so you can get back to living your life. When you need a car accident lawyer, you can contact us for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or by calling (304) 264-8505.