After an accident the police, insurance companies and attorneys often ask whether the injured party was wearing a seat belt. In a trial, the defense may attempt to introduce evidence of failure to use a seat belt to prove that the injured party was “comparatively negligent” and therefore contributed to their injury, seeking a reduction of the damages recoverable.
Pennsylvania has a statute, 75 Pa. C.S.A. section 4581 (e) that prohibits the introduction of evidence at trial of whether a seat belt was used even in the situation where a seat belt may have limited or avoided the injury. There are very limited exceptions to the rule but they are based on the evidence being admissible for some reason other than trying to prove that the injured person’s actions were a cause of his injuries.