Texas Court Ruling Allows Evidence of Seatbelt Non-Use in Car Accidents

- Charles Argento

A recent decision of the Texas Supreme Court may impact the outcome of car accident litigation, potentially reducing the amount of damages that an injured plaintiff can claim.

For more than 4 decades, evidence of the use or non-use of seatbelts was not admissible in car accident cases. Back then, it was thought that seatbelts did not cause accidents so their introduction as evidence in court was prohibited by Texas statute. This statutory prohibition was later repealed followed by another major change in personal injury law. The change allows proof of the contributory negligence of plaintiff to mitigate the award of damages against the erring motor vehicle driver.

Reversal of the Award of Damages

The Supreme Court also stated that car seatbelts are fitted in all new vehicles nowadays and their use is currently a legal requirement.

The latest decision reversed the lower court’s $2.5 million award to the family of a deceased car accident victim.

A car accident can have catastrophic effects particularly when the other vehicle is a truck, semi-truck, or trailer-truck carrying heavy loads. In North Texas recently, a young mother and her 2 sons aged 5 and 2 years old, lost their lives in a car accident after an alleged drunk driver crashed his truck into her car. The driver was traveling in the wrong direction along the US Highway 67 in Alvarado. Another child who was also in the car was injured and taken to a hospital for immediate treatment.

If the defendant driver and his employer can present evidence of the victims’ non-use of seatbelts at the time of the accident, legal responsibility for damages arising from the crash may be apportioned among the victim’s family and the defendant driver and trucking company.

Representing Residents of Houston, Texas

If you or a loved one is involved in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation.

In Houston, Texas, the law firm of Charles J. Argento has almost 3 decades of experience in car accident cases, earning the prestigious AV-rating in Legal Ability and Ethical Standards in the practice of law. We can assess your situation and pursue a strategy to obtain the value of compensation that you legally deserve.

We also handle other types of personal injury cases such as defective products, construction accident, explosion accident, burns, and refinery or oilfield accidents. Call us today at (713) 225-5050 for a free consultation. Our attorneys, paralegal and secretarial staff can speak Spanish.