Am I entitled to bring a Personal Injuries* Claim if I was not wearing a seatbelt?

If you have been unfortunate enough to be involved in a road traffic accident, where you have suffered injuries* you may wish to bring a personal injuries* claim to compensate you. There are three key components to any successful claim. Firstly, the accident most result in personal injuries*. Secondly, the accident most be caused as a result of negligence and thirdly, the issue of liability.

Liability is often very clear- cut, such as if you are rear-ended while stopped at traffic lights. In such circumstances, the third party has to be liable. In the ordinary course, the negligent third party will be liable to compensation you fully for all personal injuries*, loss, damage and expense arising out of the accident. However, there are certain exceptions, the most obvious one being where you were not wearing a seatbelt.

You are legally obliged to wear your seatbelt when travelling in a car. If you are in a road traffic accident* where you are not wearing a seatbelt, it is very likely that the personal injuries* you suffer, will be far greater than they would have been, had you being wearing your seatbelt. It is therefore extremely likely that a judge will determine that you were negligent in failing to wear a seatbelt and therefore you contributed to your injuries.

Although you should be compensated for your personal injuries* as the accident was not your fault, the level of compensation may well be reduced. The amount of this reduction will depend on the medical evidence produce at the hearing. There is case law to guide a judge on the level of reduction he/she should attribute to your failure to wear a seatbelt. According to the case law, if, had you been wearing your seatbelt, you would have had no injuries at all from your accident,  then there should be a 25% deduction in compensation. If, you would have suffered from injuries, but they would not have been as severe, then there should be a 10% deduction. In the event that your seatbelt would not have made a difference to your injuries, there may be no deduction at all.

For further information on road traffic accidents* or indeed any aspect of law personal injury* law, please do not hesitate to contact Hanahoe and Hanahoe solicitors on 045 897784 or at

This article is merely for information purposes and is not and should not be taken as legal advice. If you have any queries in relation to this or any other aspect of personal Injury* law, you should consult with a solicitor who specialises in personal injuries.* No solicitor/client relationship or duty of care or liability of any nature exists between you and Hanahoe and Hanahoe solicitors, until you receive written confirmation that we are acting as solicitors on your behalf.

*In contentious business a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.