Mendoza v. WIS International, Inc.: The Supreme Court’s Decision Makes Seat Belt Non-Use Relevant Evidence

February 2017

by Justice J. Brooks, I |

For decades, Arkansas Code Annotated §27-37-703 barred Arkansas defense attorneys from introducing evidence related to a plaintiff’s non-use or improper use of a seat belt in lawsuits resulting from motor vehicle accidents (the ”Failure to Comply Statute”).  This allowed a plaintiff to keep evidence of his or her potentially negligent actions from juries even though the plaintiff was seeking damages for injuries that would likely have been mitigated or prevented had he or she been wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident.  However, a recent Supreme Court of Arkansas decision, Mendoza v. WIS International, Inc., which addresses the Failure to Comply Statute, may open the door for the introduction of this evidence at trial and offer insight into how the court may treat analogous cases in the future.

Note:  The above is an excerpt from an article that appeared in the Winter 2017 issue of The Arkansas Lawyers.  Click the link below to read the entire article.


For more information on this article please contact Justice J. Brooks, I at 501.379.1723 or