5.30K NONUSE OF SEATBELT ON ISSUE OF NEGLIGENCE1 model jury charge
Some of the evidence presented in this case bears upon defendant’s contention that plaintiff was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident. This contention is not relevant in deciding who is at fault for causing the accident.2 However, it may be important in determining the amount of money that the plaintiff may recover for any injuries he/she received. I will talk about that with you in a few minutes.3
1Waterson v. General Motors Corp., 111 N.J. 238, 264 (1988): “Consequently, the relevant inquiry is not whether the failure to use a seatbelt contributed to the cause of the accident but whether the nonuse of a seatbelt contributed to plaintiff’s injuries.”
2This charge is not intended to address cases where nonuse of a seatbelt is alleged to have contributed to the happening of the accident itself. Waterson, supra note 1, at 268 n. 5.
3This refers to Model Civil Charge 8.21.