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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    8

    Default Reduced Settlement for Not Wearing Seatbelt

    My question involves an injury that occurred in the state of: Virginia

    My daughter's 19 y.o. friend was in a single car auto accident 11/4/08. There were at least 6 teens in the car, some not wearing seatbelts. The accident was caused by the driver supposedly driving dangerously (showing off-speeding and weaving on the road) and lost control of a car, hitting a pole. She suffered head and neck injuries and was taken to the hospital by ambulance. Medical bills total $3000. I think diagnosis was a whiplash type injury. She currently does not work so no lost wages. Was in pain for several days after accident with no apparent long term injuries.
    Initial contact from the driver's insurance company stated that they were going to send her a check for $22,000 for medical bills and pain and suffering by Dec. 5. When check did not arrive when promised, called the insurance company today and she was then told they would pay only her medical bills and $400 for pain and suffering because multiple statements given by others in car that she was not wearing a seatbelt.
    Initially after the accident, several kids left the scene before police arrived and when they were located later, claimed not to have been in car (including the driver who stated he had loaned his car to my daughter's friend, which was not true). To top off the whole mess, I believe the majority of the teens in this car had been drinking to some extent and that is why most tried to avoid any contact or statements to the police for fear of arrests. Plus the driver already has legal issues from a prior accident in Feb 08
    So, my question is what my daughter's friend's expectation should be for a fair settlement above the medical bills and if an insurance company can limit the settlement to a passenger based on the fact they didn't have a seatbelt on.
    One other note, this driver is insured through an insurance company with the military. The driver is currently on leave of absence for prior major car accident in Feb 08 that has left him with some serious medical issues. This accident was also due to driver being reckless.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Il.(near StL,Mo.)
    Posts
    5,252

    Default Re: Reduced Settlement for Not Wearing Seatbelt

    She might want to talk to a personal injury attorney. Since she wasn't wearing a seat belt, has no lost wages & seems to have no long term injuries, I would not expect a "windfall" so to speak for pain & suffering. The attorney can give her a better idea of what he believes would be a fair settlement than we can.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Reduced Settlement for Not Wearing Seatbelt

    Thanks for your reply Betty. I don't think she is looking for a windfall. She is looking to ger her medical bills paid. What we don't understand is why the insurance company initially offered $22K and then comes back with the $400 offer because she wasn't wearing a seatbelt. Do insurance companies really reduce their settlements based on whether or not a person is wearing their seatbelt?

    Sharon

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Il.(near StL,Mo.)
    Posts
    5,252

    Default Re: Reduced Settlement for Not Wearing Seatbelt

    I understand. I really shouldn't have used the word windfall - I was just trying to say not to expect too much in the way of a settlement for pain & suffering.

    In some states a person who was not wearing a seat belt is considered partly negligent & can be used as a factor when deciding a pain & suffering settlement.

    She can certainly go ahead & talk to a personal injury attorney & see what he has to say.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    471

    Default Re: Reduced Settlement for Not Wearing Seatbelt

    I would suspect whoever promised her $22,000 has been sacked. They just don't pay without a fight and they NEVER overpay. I doubt the seat belt makes any difference this whole deal feels "teenage" maybe you're hearing it 3rd party?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Il.(near StL,Mo.)
    Posts
    5,252

    Default Re: Reduced Settlement for Not Wearing Seatbelt

    In some states not wearing a seat belt is taken into consideration along with other factors in determining a pain & suffering settlement.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Reduced Settlement for Not Wearing Seatbelt

    Thanks for everyone's thoughts. It most definitely is a lot of "teenage" thoughts going through this whole thing. I am just trying to help this young lady to do what she needs to do to get her bills paid and get what she is entitled to. I also thought the $22K offer sounded like an overpayment to me, considering what occurred but then also felt that the $400 and medical payments was also a little low. Not sure if Virginia is a state that takes into consideration about not wearing a seatbelt as being negligent. I might see if I can contact the insurance company directly this week on this lady's behalf so that I can understand what they are doing. Thanks again everyone!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Il.(near StL,Mo.)
    Posts
    5,252

    Default Re: Reduced Settlement for Not Wearing Seatbelt

    You're welcome & I hope she gets what is fair.

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