Motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to be killed in an accident than traditional motor vehicle passengers. This is because they are less stable and less visible to other drivers on the road due to their smaller size. They also offer very little protection to the motorcyclist if an accident happens.
Helmets are essential protective equipment that can save your life and strengthen your claim if you get into an accident. They are crucial in helping prevent severe injuries and save thousands of lives every year.
After you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident, the insurance company will try to determine whether or not you were wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. Therefore, using a helmet, or its lack, is critical and can have important implications for your case outcome.
Many motorcyclists fail to consider this before riding without a helmet. Of course, no one expects to get into an accident. However, motorcyclists should consider this before riding without a helmet.
If you were not wearing a helmet when the accident occurred, you could expect the other party’s insurance company to use that against you. They may even use that to make you liable for the accident. Read on to learn more about how a helmet can hurt or help your accident case.
How Does Helmet Usage Affect My Motorcycle Accident Injury Claim?
Accidents hinge on the concept of negligence. The same goes for motorcycle accidents. Whichever party is found negligent or at fault for the crash will be responsible for paying the damages.
While settling a claim, insurance companies and the court will look at all factors involved in the case to establish liability. One of those factors is whether or not the motorcyclist was wearing a helmet. Some other factors to consider in determining liability for a motorcycle accident case include:
- Was the driver/motorcyclist speeding?
- Did the driver make a turn without checking for oncoming traffic?
- Was the driver distracted or otherwise negligent while driving?
- Was the driver drunk or intoxicated while driving?
- Did the driver receive any other citations or traffic violations in this particular incident?
Then they will investigate factors like whether or not you were wearing a helmet. They will also probably examine whether your helmet met specific safety requirements. Failing to wear a helmet can be considered negligent as an offense like speeding. From a legal standpoint, not wearing a helmet is considered a breach of a duty of care that motorcyclists are responsible for upholding. Essentially, failing to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle translates to negligence.
After all the facts are reviewed, the insurance company will assign each party liability or fault a percentage amount. For example, let’s say a driver was distracted while driving and crashed into your motorcycle while you weren’t wearing a helmet. In that case, an insurance company might assign the driver 80% liability and you 20% liability.
Such a situation would be highly frustrating, as the driver who crashed into you is clearly at fault for causing the accident. But if you were not wearing a helmet, you will also be deemed partially negligent. That means you’ll receive a lesser settlement after being involved in an accident that was someone else’s fault.
Insurance companies will argue that you would not have suffered injury if you had worn a helmet. Or that your injuries could have been less severe if you had taken the proper safety precautions. Frustrating as it may be, this can and does happen in motorcycle accident cases.
If you sustained injuries in a motorcycle accident due to someone else’s negligence, you should contact a Denver motorcycle accident lawyer. Consulting with an experienced attorney is the only way to ensure you protect your rights and get a fair settlement.
What if I Didn’t Sustain A Head Injury From the Accident?
What if you were involved in a motorcycle accident while not wearing a helmet but didn’t suffer any head or neck injuries? The fact that you were not wearing a helmet should not affect your claim. For example, if you sustained a leg injury (which cannot be linked to helmet use), not wearing a helmet would be irrelevant.
However, the fact that a helmet had no relevance or effect on your specific injuries doesn’t mean the other party’s attorneys won’t try to use it against you. A court could still hold you partially liable for failing to wear a helmet, even if your injuries were unrelated to wearing a helmet. You may have to provide evidence of medical records supporting your claim that the helmet, or lack of, had no bearing on your injuries.
Recovering Compensation From the Other Driver
Whether you prefer to wear them, helmet use will impact your accident injury claim. This is because Colorado follows modified comparative negligence laws. If you are found to be partially at fault for the accident, your compensation will be reduced by the percentage of fault you have. However, if your fault is found to be greater than or equal to the defendant’s, you lose your right to recover damages.
Even if the accident is undoubtedly the other driver’s fault, if the other side can make a case that your failure to wear a helmet significantly affected the severity of your injuries, your compensation could be reduced drastically.
However difficult to argue that not wearing a helmet made your road rash worse or somehow worsened your broken arm, the other party may still try to argue that.
But let’s say you suffered a head injury or a traumatic brain injury. In that case, insurance companies will attempt to shift as much of the comparative negligence to you as possible.
What Kind of Evidence Can Fight Against Helmet Usage Arguments?
You will need to build a case with substantial evidence against helmet usage arguments.
First, you need to prove that not wearing a helmet while you got in the accident did not affect the severity of your injuries. To confirm that, you would need medical records and expert medical testimony.
Your best course is to enlist the help of a Denver personal injury attorney to help you compile and present the evidence needed to win your case.
An attorney will help you gather records, network with medical experts, and will have experience in the legal claims process.
Contact a Denver Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Colorado has laws to protect you if you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident due to someone else’s negligence.
Working with a competent, qualified lawyer can ultimately spell the difference between the success or failure of your case. Unfortunately, you’ll most likely find yourself up against insurance adjusters trained to minimize your claim. Furthermore, with the stress of injuries and financial hardships, an inadequate or inexperienced lawyer will only add to your frustration.
Anyone who has suffered injuries from a vehicle collision while riding their motorcycle should consult with a Denver motorcycle accident attorney right away. A good attorney will have your best interests in mind every step of the way and fully understand the legal issues involved. Do not make the false assumption that all personal injury lawyers are of equal caliber. Instead, do your research and ask the right questions to ensure you make an informed decision and find the best attorney for your case.
Call us today for a free initial consultation. We will happily discuss your legal rights and fight to win you the total compensation you deserve.