What is the Seatbelt Defense in B.C.?

Sometimes in motor vehicle accident cases, the Defendant will argue that the injured parties’ injuries would not have been so severe if the injured party had been wearing a seatbelt.  If this argument succeeds, then the Court will reduce the Plaintiff’s damages by some percentage.  A common reduction is 25 percent.  In other words, if the Plaintiff’s injuries would have been worth $100,000 if he or she was wearing a seat belt, the damages may be reduced by as much as 25 percent down to $75,000.

The BC Supreme Court has said:

With regard to the seat belt defense, I am satisfied that for it to succeed, the Defendants must prove firstly, that there was an available seat belt assembly; secondly, that it was functioning and in good working order; thirdly that it was not worn; and fourthly, that had it been worn, it would have prevented or reduced the injuries complained of.

A failure to prove any of those four things would result in the seat belt defence failing.  The last condition is often difficult to prove.  If you are faced with a seat belt defence after being in a car accident, you may want to call Taylor & Blair Personal Injury Lawyers.

Kevin Blair &
Graham Taylor

Taylor & Blair
Personal Injury lawyers
1607 – 805 West Broadway
Vancouver, B.C.