Back Seat Passengers In South Carolina Need Seat Belts, Too
Many adults remember the road trips they took as children. Perhaps, when you were a kid, you sprawled out in the backseat of your parents’ car somewhere in northern Mississippi and woke up once you had reached the familiar streets of your hometown in South Carolina. Maybe you and your siblings played a modified game of Twister in the back seat or pressed your faces, hands, and feet against the back seat windows to amuse or annoy the people in nearby cars. You might even have climbed from the back seat to the front and back again, wrangling your family’s energetic puppy on its first family road trip. If you are old enough, you might even remember a time when most cars had no seat belts in the back seat at all. A lot of that is illegal today, and rules about seat belts in South Carolina, especially for children, have become much stricter. Adults are responsible for ensuring that children riding in the car with them have appropriate car seats and seat belts; if they do not, this could affect issues of legal liability for accident-related injuries. To find out more about how noncompliance with seat belt laws can affect the outcome of car accident lawsuits, contact a Columba car accident lawyer.
South Carolina Seat Belt Laws
South Carolina law requires cars to be equipped with seat belts for all occupants. The driver and all adult passengers in the front and rear seats must wear seat belts. Children can ride in the front seat or back seat with a seat belt as long as they are at least eight years old and at least 57 inches tall. Younger and smaller children need a booster seat or other age-appropriate car seat.
If you get injured in a car accident, whether you are a driver or a passenger, it could affect your damages award in a car accident lawsuit or your payout in an insurance claim. The at-fault driver or insurance company will argue that your injuries would be less severe if you had worn a seatbelt, so you are partially responsible for your accident-related medical expenses. Likewise, if a child in your car was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident, you could be partially responsible for the child’s medical expenses, even if you bear less than half the fault for causing the accident.
Can Wearing a Seat Belt Be More Dangerous Than Not Wearing One?
You might have heard about people, especially children, getting injured by seat belts. Wearing a seat belt is always safer than not wearing one, but if a seat belt caused an injury to a child, it was probably because the child was not tall enough to ride without a booster seat. Children who are less than 57 inches tall should continue to use a booster seat even if they have already reached their eighth birthday.
Let Us Help You Today
The car accident lawyers at the Stanley Law Group can help you recover damages if you got injured in a car accident where you were a back seat passenger. Contact The Stanley Law Group in Columbia, South Carolina or call (803)799-4700 for a free initial consultation.