Seat Belt Evidence
Seat Belt Law in GA
Georgia requires its residents to wear seatbelts while driving, however, Georgia law also excludes seat belt evidence from being considered for either liability issues or for the purpose of minimizing personal injury damages. The exclusion of seat belt evidence can be found at O.C.G.A. § 40-8-76.1.
Georgia seat belt evidence law is similar to 30 other states laws in prohibiting the introduction of whether or not a driver or passenger was wearing a seatbelt at the time of a collision. This law has been amended several times to make sure that it covers both front seat passengers and rear seat passengers, in addition to occupants of pickup trucks.
Why Georgia Prohibits Seat Belt Evidence
Outside of Atlanta, the state is very rural, with most counties having a large population involved in the farming or dairy business. The farming industry has a strong lobbying group that has lobbied hard against any attempt to change this seat belt evidentiary law. The exclusion of seat belt evidence in a car accident injury trial is professed on the principle that such evidence would add a whole new issue to each trial and thus lengthen and expand the litigation process.
For instance, it would require expert testimony that the personal injuries suffered would have been less severe or eliminated if the injured party had been wearing a seat belt. This would be a whole new gambit regarding a battle of experts at trial. This would require both sides to then invest heavily in expert evidence costs, which may make many personal injury claims cost-preventative.
Therefore, to date, the Georgia legislature has not been presented with any convincing evidence that would warrant opening up this "trial within a trial" type of seat belt evidence. This prevention of seatbelt evidence has been the law in Georgia since 1988 and has withstood several lobbying attempts to repeal it by the insurance industry.
Our Team Can Help You Understand the Law
Many legal issues are raised or develop while a personal injury case is being worked up for settlement, mediation, or trial, such as questions about seat belt evidence. Therefore, it is very important that an injured victim of a car accident or a trucking accident receives excellent expert advice and counseling from an experienced personal injury or wrongful death attorney such as the attorneys at the Law Offices of Falanga & Chalker.
If you are the victim of someone else’s negligence and have been injured in a motor vehicle collision, then please fill out the contact form on the home page of this website to request a free consultation with our skilled lawyers. And remember, if you can’t come to us, then we have staff consultants that will come to you.