Seat Belts and Personal Injury Claims
As the old saying goes – seat belts save lives.
We know it is important to wear seatbelts for their safety benefits. However, wearing your seatbelt could make a significant difference in your ability to receive compensation should you have an accident.
The law in Nova Scotia requires drivers and passengers in motor vehicles to wear seatbelts at all times while a vehicle is in motion. There are certain exceptions to this rule but by and large you are required to buckle up.
Section 175 of the Nova Scotia Motor Vehicle Act
Every driver and passenger of a motor vehicle in Nova Scotia must wear a seatbelt. In the event that you sustain injuries and are not wearing a seatbelt, the insurance company will likely argue that you were contributorily negligent. This negligence has significant impact on a claim for personal injuries.
In these types of situations, the driver’s insurance company may look to reduce your compensation by 25%. This is codified in Nova Scotia law under section 10(1) of the Regulations under the Nova Scotia Insurance Act, which reads as follows:
10(1) Limitation where seat belt not worn. Unless exempt by law from the requirement in the Motor Vehicle Act to wear a seat belt, where an injured person was not wearing a seat belt at the time of an incident, there shall be a reduction of at least twenty-five per cent in damages for bodily injury or death arising directly or indirectly from the use or operation of an automobile in respect of the incident.
There are certain exceptions to seatbelt requirements in Nova Scotia. However, your best bet is to simply wear your seatbelt. Being injured in an accident is hard enough. The last thing you need is an insurance company trying to deny you fair compensation.
This area of law can be complex and there are many nuances of assessing your claim for compensation. If you have been involved in a car accident in Nova Scotia, it is always in your best interests to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer to learn your rights and options.