Evidence of One’s Failure to Wear Seat Belt Now Admissible in Car-Accident Cases
For more than forty years, evidence of a plaintiff’s failure to use a seat belt has been inadmissible in car-accident cases. In February 2015, the Texas Supreme Court issued an opinion abandoning this rule in Nabors Well Services v. Romero. In a car-accident case, a jury is traditionally directed to determine the plaintiff’s and defendant’s percentage of responsibility for causing or contributing to the plaintiff’s injury. As a result of Romero, the jury can find that the plaintiff contributed to his injury by failing to wear a seat belt and assign the plaintiff a greater percentage of responsibility for his injury than would have otherwise been assigned if the seat-belt evidence was excluded. Moreover, a child-passenger who is injured in a car accident, along with the driver of the child-passenger, can both bear a percentage of responsibility if there is evidence that the child’s nonuse of a seat belt caused or contributed to the child’s injury. The greater the percentage of responsibility assigned to a plaintiff for contributing to his own injury, the less a plaintiff is entitled to recover from a defendant at trial.
If you have suffered serious injuries in an automobile or trucking accident, the attorneys at Kittleman Thomas may be able to help. Please contact our office today to see what we can do for you.