Q Does failure to wear a seat belt constitute admissible evidence in a civil case where the plaintiff is seeking damages for personal injury rising from a car crash?
In a word, No.
THE FAILURE TO WEAR A SEAT BELT IN IDAHO IS INADMISSIBLE TO PROVE NEGLIGENCE
Idaho Code § 49-673(8) provides:
"The failure to use a safety restraint shall not be considered under any circumstances as evidence of contributory or comparative negligence, nor shall such failure be admissible as evidence in any civil action with regard to negligence."
See also Hudleston v. Delta Int’l Mach. Corp., 142 Idaho 244, 127 P.3d 147 (2005) citing Kirk v. Ford Motor Corp., 141 Idaho 697, 116 P.3d 27 (2005).
The reasoning behind the aforesaid statute and case law is that the failure to wear a seat belt does not demonstrate that the plaintiff’s conduct contributed to the cause of the accident. Furthermore, the duty to mitigate damages occurs after an injury is incurred; not before. Hence, the failure to wear a seat belt in Idaho is inadmissible to prove that a plaintiff was comparatively negligent or failed to mitigate any damages.
Notwithstanding the statute and the public policy regarding the "seat belt doctrine" adopted by the Idaho Legislature and the Idaho Supreme Court, it is a good idea to encourage anyone occupying a car, truck or SUV to wear a safety restraint (seat belt).
Mr. Morton has prepared a treasure trove of articles and information for your review, however, he is certainly available to answer any questions you may have or discuss the facts of your claim in a confidential setting. If you are unable to meet with him at his office, he is certainly available to meet with you at the hospital or your home, business or other convenient location.
BOISE PERSONAL INJURY TRIAL LAWYER ALAN MORTON HAS OVER 3 DECADES OF EXPERIENCE ASSISTING VICTIMS OF PERSONAL INJURY SEEKING COMPENSATION FOR THEIR INJURIES AND DAMAGES ARISING FROM MOTOR VEHICLE COLLISIONS.
If you or a loved one have incurred personal injuries as a result of the negligence of another driver, you should obtain a free initial consultation with an experienced trial attorney. Idaho Personal Injury and Auto Accident Lawyer Alan Morton has over 31 years experience in handling personal injury and motor vehicle claims. There are few things in life that are free, but having a free initial consultation with Mr. Morton is one of them!! You can contact Mr. Morton at 208.344.5555 or toll free at 888.716.8021 and/or by completing our online contact form.
You may also wish to view the testimonial page of Mr. Morton’s former clients.