I was hurt in a car accident and didn’t have my seatbelt on. Now the insurance company says I’m at fault for not wearing a seatbelt. Can they use that as evidence?

The short answer is “Yes! Seatbelt use is allowed as evidence of negligence in an auto accident.”

Texas State Laws on Seatbelts and Liability in Auto Accidents

Nabors v. Romero – The Texas Supreme Court Allows Seat Belt Evidence

Under Texas Rules of Evidence 402, civil courts in Texas allow most relevant evidence to be heard in a lawsuit.

Until February 13, 2015, Texas court rulings stated that a driver’s failure to wear a seat belt could not be admitted as evidence to decide a Texas auto accident lawsuit.

However, as part of Texas’ shift to partial fault in deciding lawsuits, that rule was overturned by the Texas Supreme Court ruled in Nabors v. Romero. In Nabors v. Romero, the Court ruled that not wearing a seatbelt could be evidence that a driver was careless (negligent), and partly at fault.

Nabors v. Loera – Failing To Wear a Seat Belt May Mean the Injured Person Receives Nothing

Under Texas law, any money someone receives in a negligence lawsuit is reduced if that person is at fault. So if a driver is 20% at fault and has $1000 in repair costs and medical bills, the driver receives only 80% of that money ($800).

In Texas, a driver who is more than 51% percent at fault cannot receive any money in a lawsuit for injuries, even if the other driver was also partly at fault.

For example, in the case of Nabors v. Loera, the Texas Supreme Court followed Nabors v. Romero by allowing evidence that injured passengers had not worn seat belts.

The Court then ruled that not wearing a seat belt was negligent, and because of that carelessness, the injured passengers received no money for the injuries.

If you have been injured in an Texas auto accident and were not wearing your seatbelt, you need to know your rights. Contact Justinian & Associates for a free and confidential consultation with a real personal injury attorney (not a screener). We’ll hear your story, and explain your options under Texas state law.