The Court of Appeal recently reached a decision in a personal accident case which many may find surprising. It decided that a man who was severely injured in a car crash and who had not been wearing a set belt, would not have his award for personal injury reduced.
The nub of the issue was that there was insufficient reason to believe that had he been wearing a seat belt he would not have suffered the severe head injury he sustained.
In this case the decision turned on the expert evidence. While it was clearly unwise of the injured man to have ridden in the car without a seatbelt, that did not ultimately affect his injury.
In most cases failure to wear a seatbelt in a car crash will contribute to the severity of an injury and if so, a damages claim by the injured party will be reduced for contributory negligence.