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A Guide To Seatbelt Injury Claims

By Cat Way. Last Updated 10th June 2024. Welcome to our seat belt injury claims guide.

When travelling in a vehicle, it is required by law that all persons over the age of 12, have to wear a seatbelt. Children under 12 years of age or under 135cm in height, have to be in a suitable child seat, again by law. There are a few other exceptions to this law also which are mentioned further on in this seatbelt injury compensation guide.

In the occurrence of a road traffic accident, wearing a seatbelt can save people’s lives or at least prevent the more serious injuries you may sustain in a crash. However, unfortunately, seatbelts can actually cause injuries too when in a collision such as seatbelt injuries of the spine or abdomen, or seatbelt injuries to chest muscles and so on.

If you have a seatbelt injury and would like to know how to claim, read through our information guide to find out more. Or, contact our team:

A woman wearing a neck brace discussing the seatbelt injury claims process with a solicitor.

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Seat Belt Law In The UK – How Could It Affect A Road Traffic Accident Claim?

As already stated, a car accident could cause seat belt injuries, including bruising and cracked ribs. If another driver owed you a duty of care and you sustained injuries caused by wearing a seat belt because they breached this, you might be able to make a road traffic accident claim. The duty of care means that drivers need to do everything they reasonably can to prevent themselves and other road users from experiencing harm.

In addition, the Road Traffic Act also legislates seat belt usage. These rules can also be found in Rules 99 and 100 of the Highway Code. It states that drivers are responsible for ensuring that themselves and children aged 13 and under are wearing seat belts or in the correct child restraint. All passengers aged 14 and over are responsible for ensuring that they are wearing seat belts. Some exceptions could apply.

Although you may still have a valid claim if you are injured while not wearing a seat belt, this could impact how much compensation you recover. Not wearing a seat belt is not only illegal but in a personal injury claim, could be considered contributory negligence. Additionally, you could be fined up to £500 if you or the children you are responsible for are not wearing a seat belt.

Further into this guide, we examine the road traffic accident claim process as well as look at what evidence you could submit. You will need to prove your injuries, including those caused by your seat belt and that a breach in the duty of care you are owed caused them.

Call our advisors to learn more about how the seat belt law in the UK could affect your claim.

Will The Whiplash Reforms Affect My Claim?

It’s important to know that if any injury sustained in a road accident falls below the value of £5,000, then you may need to claim in a different way. This would be in line with the Whiplash Reform Programme (WRP), using an online portal. However, the value of your claim is not the only factor that informs your eligibility. Here are the other criteria:

  • The injury must have occurred in England or Wales
  • It must have taken place on or following 31st May 2021
  • The claimants must be 18 or over
  • Only drivers and passengers may make use of the WRP

If claiming through the WRP, your compensation would be based on the tariff of injuries in the Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

What To Do If You Suffer A Seat Belt Injury

After suffering a seatbelt injury, some of the steps you could take include:

  • Seeking medical attention: Your first step should be making sure your injuries have been attended to. Whether it be a seatbelt bruise or a fractured shoulder, having your injuries looked over helps both you and your claim.
  • Collecting evidence: Collect as much evidence as you can at the scene. This might include taking pictures of the accident site and of your injuries, requesting CCTV footage, or taking down the contact details of potential witnesses. 
  • Seeking legal advice: If you are interested in making a seatbelt injury claim, we recommend that you seek legal advice. Our team of advisors are here to help, and could potentially put you in touch with one of our expert solicitors.

Keep reading to learn more about making a claim for a seatbelt injury. Alternatively, get in touch with our team today to explore your options.

Injury From A Seatbelt – How Long Do I Have To Claim?

If you’ve suffered from seatbelt bruises, a seatbelt burn on your neck, or another injury from a seatbelt after a road traffic accident, you may be interested in claiming compensation. But it’s important to ensure that your claim is started within the relevant time limit.

According to the Limitation Act 1980, you have three years to start a personal injury claim starting from the date the accident occurred. However, this time limit comes with some exceptions.

For example, the time limit freezes if you are injured while under the age of eighteen. While it is frozen, a litigation friend can start your claim on your behalf. Otherwise, it reinstates on your eighteenth birthday and runs until your twenty-first.

The time limit is suspended indefinitely for those who lack the mental capacity to make a claim. If they recover the capacity to claim for themselves, then the time limit will come back into effect on the date that they recover. If not, a litigation friend can make their claim on their behalf.

Contact our team today to learn more about time limits in personal injury claims.

Seatbelt Injury At Work Claims

If you’re interested in making seatbelt injury claims, for example, you may have suffered a seat belt bruise, this could be for a work-related accident.

If you have had an accident whilst driving a works vehicle in work time that has resulted in a seatbelt injury, then you might be able to make a seat belt accident claim. However, depending on the circumstances you could claim from the driver who is at fault, or if your injuries are found to be due to a malfunction or defect of your seatbelt, then your employer might be seen as liable and so you would claim from them. The accident could also be down to the seat belt manufacturer.

This is where our expertise and efficiency can really help you to have a good case to get you the compensation you are entitled to after suffering a seat belt injury. There are so many variables on who could be found liable when injured at work we’d strongly advise contacting us today.

Compensation Guidelines For Personal Injury – Seatbelt Injury Claims Calculator

If your seatbelt injury was someone else’s fault, you may have grounds to claim. However, it can be helpful to look at compensation guidelines for personal injury claims to get an idea of the potential worth of your own claim. You could also use our online compensation calculator for an estimate of the value of your claim.

The compensation you may receive is determined by the severity of your injuries and their impact on you. For instance, seat belt injuries to chest muscles may fall under a different severity category than a seat belt bruise after a car accident. Solicitors also use payout amounts from the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) to assist in determining the worth of claims.

You could claim general damages for your pain and suffering as well as special damages to recover your financial losses due to the injury. The compensation guidelines for personal injury found in the table below are taken from the April 2022 edition of the JCG. However, the amounts in the table may not exactly match the amount of compensation you receive in a successful claim as every claim is different.

Reason for compensationTypical compensation amount
Multiple serious injuries + special damagesUp to £250,000+
Chest injuries (a)£122,850 to £183,190
Chest injuries (b)£80,240 to £122,850
Chest injuries (g)Up to £4,820
Moderate neck injury (i)£30,500 to £46,970
Minor neck injury (iii)Up to £2,990
Severe shoulder injury£23,430 to £58,610
Moderate shoulder injury£9,630 to £15,580
Minor shoulder injury (i)£5,310 to £9,630

Special Damages For Seatbelt Injuries

The compensation table above shows figures that relate to the general damages head of your claim. General damages relate directly to the pain and suffering your seat belt injury has caused. This includes physical and psychological injuries. When making seatbelt injury claims, as with any personal injury claim, you can also potentially receive compensation under special damages.

Special damages relate to the financial losses caused by the injury. For example, if you’ve suffered a severe seatbelt bruise or laceration, you may need to pay for travel expenses because you’re unable to drive while the injury heals. You could claim these expenses back under special damages. To do this, you would need sufficient evidence to show the value of the losses. Potential evidence you could use includes invoices, receipts and bank statements.

To learn more about compensation payouts for seatbelt injuries, please contact us for free legal advice using the details above.

No Win No Fee Solicitors For Seatbelt Injury Claims

When seeking the services of solicitors for car accidents and seat belt injuries, you may be concerned about the cost of hiring one since there is not always a guarantee that you will successfully claim compensation.

If you want to hire a solicitor to help you make an injury claim for a car accident and are concerned about finances, a No Win No Fee arrangement might appeal to you. Through this type of arrangement, such as a Conditional Fee Agreement, you would not be required to pay your solicitor an upfront fee.

Any ongoing legal costs are covered as well. They will also deduct a legally capped success fee from your compensation if you claim compensation. If your claim fails, your solicitor is not paid this fee.

Our solicitors can all work under No Win No Fee contracts if this is something that appeals to you.

Contact Us

If you have any queries regarding seatbelt injury claims or believe you may be entitled to claim due to a seat belt bruise, contact our team today. Your call will be answered by a member of our professionally trained team who will help you in any way that they can regarding your claim. They can answer your questions and explain the next steps in the claiming process and begin launching your claim to secure the payout you deserve:

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    • Patrick Mallon

      Patrick is a Grade A solicitor having qualified in 2005. He's an an expert in accident at work and public liability claims and is currently our head of the EL/PL department. Get in touch today for free to see how we can help you.

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