If you were not wearing seat belt, you will not be able to make a claim on your auto insurance. The law clearly states that drivers and all passengers of a car must wear seat belts. By not wearing a seat belt, you have broken the law. Most insurance policies have a clause in which it says that the insurance company will not pay your claim if you do something against the law when you are driving. Auto insurance claims may be investigated in consideration of factors like ‘Assumption of risk’, ‘contributory negligence’ and comparative negligence’. You might have contributed to your injuries and so are partially negligent in following the safety requirements. You have failed to use the seat belt and assumed a part of the risk on yourself. This is a case of comparative negligence. So the insurance company has strong reasons for not agreeing to settle your claim as you were partially responsible for causing the injuries. This holds well even if you were not responsible for the accident.
You can call the insurance adjuster of your insurer to verify the facts. You should also talk to your agent or the concerned underwriter to discuss how your insurance policy and the premium will be affected due to the situation. Sometimes you may be offered a percentage of the estimated settlement. Safety belt defense is accepted in some states and if you are injured in a car accident because you were not wearing the seat belt and it caused or worsened your injury, you may get a reduced settlement amount.
Seat belt law is explained in section 27315 of the Vehicle Code known as the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of California. According to this act, the driver and all passengers in a private passenger vehicle are legally required to wear seatbelts. Seat belts are made compulsory because they have saved thousands of lives every year in accidents and also reduce the severity of the victims’ injuries. Wearing seat belt is surely a life saving habit.
You should contact an experienced lawyer who handles such cases to seek guidance on your particular situation.