Wearing a seat belt means much more than merely complying with Maryland law while driving a vehicle. Not wearing a seat belt while riding in a vehicle can also be a serious point of contention when involved in an accident if the respondent insurance company wants to be difficult in settling a personal injury claim. This applies to both drivers and passengers.
Most states in the union use modified or pure comparative negligence law when accident injury cases are evaluated for approval, but not Maryland. It uses the antiquated contributory negligence law that allows personal injury claims from car accidents to be denied when the injured party even has 1% of fault for their own injuries. This not only applies to drivers but also potentially to passengers who were not wearing a seat belt at the time.
Auto accident injury claims are often defended strongly when the insurance company thinks they have the slightest level of legal grounds for a claim denial. The role of the claims adjuster in these cases is to look for any technicality that could support a contributory negligence defense to the claim. Drivers are not only evaluated for contributory negligence when the case goes to court, but whether or not any injured claimant was wearing a seat belt will be introduced into the record as well.
All motorists and passengers should be aware of this claim denial potential when getting in a vehicle. Even if a driver is denied insurance protection, at least the passenger will be covered in the event of a calamity.