Question: The car insurance representative says I don’t have a valid claim because I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident. Is that right?

The New Hampshire Supreme Court decided this issue in 1993 in a case called Thibeault v. Campbell. In that opinion, the defendants argued that the trial court made an error when it refused to admit evidence that the injured parties were not wearing the seat belts available in the car at the time of the accident. The defendants argued that their failure to wear seat belts significantly contributed to their injuries and should have been admitted as evidence of their comparative negligence. The New Hampshire Supreme Court disagreed.

The New Hampshire Supreme Court concluded that the failure of an adult to wear a seat belt does not, by itself, create an unreasonable risk of injury. It determined that although there is the potential for an accident every time an automobile is used, this mere possibility does not make an automobile occupant responsible for anticipating the accident-causing negligence of another person. Because the accident-causing negligence of another driver is not considered a readily foreseeable danger, there can be no corresponding legal duty under the common law to guard against it by wearing a seat belt.

The Court held that evidence of a person’s failure to use a seat belt is inadmissible to negligence where the nonuse may have contributed to the party’s injuries but was not a cause of the collision itself.

New Hampshire car accident law can be difficult to understand. It is important to text or call Nicholson Law Firm today at 603-856-8441 or email at for a free personal injury case evaluation. We work hard to obtain the compensation you deserve. At Nicholson Law Firm we take the time to explain the law to you.

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