Just before midnight on April 3, 2015, Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer and founding member Robert Burns Jr. died in a single-vehicle car crash.
Burns was driving through Cartersville, Georgia on a winding road. As he approached a curve, he lost control of his car, swerved, hit a mailbox, and crashed into a tree. Though he was still alive when the paramedics arrived, he died at the scene. Drugs and/or alcohol did not play a part in the crash. However, Burns was not wearing a seat belt when the accident happened. No other cars were involved.
Lynyrd Skynyrd formed in 1965 with founding members Ronnie Van Zant, Allen Collins, Bob Burns, Larry Junstrom, and Gary Rossington. To date, Junstrom and Rossington are the only surviving founding members.
Car accident is the top cause of death in the U.S. Many of the deaths could be prevented by seat belt use. Despite the inherent dangers, millions of Americans decline to wear seat belts while driving or riding in a car. In fact, the frequency of car accident deaths and injuries could be halved if all occupants wore a seat belt. While many passengers believe an airbag is enough protection in a crash, seat belts have been proven to provide greater protection.
Unsurprisingly, younger adults and teens are much less likely to wear seat belts. In addition, many states have begun passing mandatory seat belt laws. New York requires everyone sitting in the front seat to wear a seat belt, as well as all children under the age of 16, whether they are in the front or back of the car.
Seat belt enforcement laws allow police officers to pull a car over simply for suspecting that a driver or passenger is not wearing their seat belt. The officer can then issue a ticket. States with seat belt enforcement laws have an average of 89% of drivers complying with the law.
If you are injured in an accident caused by someone else, but you were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident, your damages may be reduced under what’s known as comparative negligence. Comparative negligence is akin to contributory negligence in which damages are reduced in proportion to the degree upon which the plaintiff’s own negligence contributed to the cause of the death or injury. Thus, while a failure to wear a seat belt may not have prevented the car accident from happening, the seat belt may have prevented the passenger from suffering from severe injuries.
Many individuals refuse to wear seatbelts because they are uncomfortable. However, most cars allows drivers and front seat passengers to adjust the seat belt height in order to increase the comfort of the seat belt. In addition, companies manufacture special padded seat belt sleeves that you can slip on the seat belt. These padded sleeves are soft and will prevent the seat belt from cutting into your chest or shoulder.
It is imperative that you and your loved ones wear seat belts. Even though New York only requires front seat adults to wear seat belts, everyone in your car should wear a seat belt at all times. This will protect you in the event of an unexpected car accident. During a crash, you don’t have time to stop and put on your seat belt. The seat belt will retract and keep you pulled against the seat in order to prevent you from flying out of the windshield. A seat belt may spell the difference between life or death for you and your loved ones.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a car accident, you have options. Call the experienced and trained personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan, PLLC today to discuss your potential claims.