In January, five people were injured and a Bowling Green teenager was killed in a car accident in Tennessee. According to the police report written by the Tennessee Highway Patrol in Jackson, the accident was caused when a Ford SUV driven by Hector David Morfin of Bowling Green entered the emergency lane of Interstate 40. The driver veered left, and overturned.
The passengers of the vehicle were: Marisela Gandara, 38; Abel A. Morfin, 35; Zimrri Morfin, 18; Ahira Morfin, 6; and Galilea Morfin, 1. The driver was not injured, and only he and another passenger were wearing seatbelts. Izhar Morfin, 17, who was not wearing a seat belt, was killed in the crash.
It is an Infraction to Not Wear a Seatbelt
According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Office, over 50% of car accident victims killed were not wearing seat belts. Seat belts are still the most effective, first defense in the event of a crash. From 2008 to 2012 seat belts saved nearly 63,000 lives, and their use is required by law in every state. A violation of this requirement results in a $20 fine for all drivers and passengers. See TN Ann. Code § 55-9-603.
Not Wearing a Seatbelt Reduces the Defendant’s Liability in Tennessee
In a car accident situation, an injured plaintiff may sue the driver of the vehicle if his or her actions were the proximate cause of her injuries. However, Tennessee uses the comparative negligence system to determine liability in personal injury cases. This means that the court awards damages based on the level of fault of each party– plaintiff included. This means a judge or jury will assign a percentage of liability for each party that is involved in the incident and then award damages based on the assigned percentage.
Failure to wear a seatbelt for example, could reduce a plaintiff’s damage award. Unless it can be shown that the plaintiff’s injuries would not have made a difference if s/he had or had not worn a seatbelt, it is very difficult to get around the damage reductions garnered from not wearing a seatbelt.
You should always make it a habit to wear a seat belt for your safety. It is just not worth it to risk further injury to yourself.
Nashville Car Accident and Personal Injury Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a car accident due to the negligence or wrongful conduct of another, do not wait to contact a Nashville car accident attorney today for a free and confidential consultation. A skilled attorney can utilize their knowledge and experience to help ensure you receive adequate compensation for your injuries.