Covington Tragedy – Victim Not Wearing SeatBelt

Posted on Apr 30, 2008 in Personal Injury, Traffic

Janice Gould died on the scene of a car crash yesterday, after her husband had some kind of medical event that precipitated his driving their SUV into an oncoming lane of IH12 where Janice’s side was hit by an oncoming Ford F-150.  The other two crash victims sustained only minor injuries.   

Janice wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.   

It’s true that the section of IH12 where this tragedy occurred is notorious for crossover crashes, and something needs to be done about this.

It’s also true that everyone traveling in a motor vehicle in the state of Louisiana is legally required to wear a seat belt.  

We’ll never know how Janice would be today if she’d been wearing her seatbelt — but from a legal standpoint, by not wearing one she was technically in violation of the law (even if she had just taken it off to help her husband, which we can guess but don’t know) and this single fact could be used in any resulting insurance claims or wrongful death lawsuits to suggest that she was the cause, in all or in part, of her own injuries.   Sad but true. 

And, as cold and callous as it may sound, insurance companies assert defenses like failure to wear a seatbelt all the time to limit or nullify the payment of claims out of insurance policy coverage. 

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