How Not Wearing a Helmet Impacts Your Motorcycle Accident Case
Last year was the deadliest in Colorado history for motorcyclists, and for every motorcyclist killed in an accident, there were many more who were injured. Helmets could save lives. If every motorcyclist in Colorado wore a helmet, dozens fewer would die each year, according to estimates by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and many of those severely injured might have been spared debilitating brain injuries.
However, the impact of helmet wearing on injuries and deaths is not the same as its impact on your motorcycle accident case, which depends on the legal statutes and case law in Colorado. Not wearing a helmet while riding can’t be used against you or your loved one in your motorcycle accident case. At Pushchak Law, we will fight to make sure you get the full compensation you are due under the law, whether you or your loved one were wearing a helmet at the time of the accident or not.
Helmet Use Is Inadmissible for Comparative Negligence
Colorado uses a modified comparative negligence standard for compensation. In this standard, you can only get compensation for injuries if you are less than 51% responsible for your injuries. Furthermore, your compensation for injuries is adjusted by the amount your negligence contributed to your injuries. Under this standard, you can see how someone might argue not wearing a helmet should reduce your compensation. Since not wearing a helmet increases your risk of injury and death, it could be considered negligent to ride without a helmet.
However, that’s not the case in Colorado. In Colorado, there is no legal requirement to wear a helmet. Therefore, the courts have decided not wearing a helmet can’t be considered negligence. It’s a legally acceptable form of behavior, and therefore can’t be held against someone in a motorcycle accident case.
Another important part of the argument is that the helmet doesn’t come into play until after the accident occurs. In other words, if the other driver weren’t negligent, the fact that you weren’t wearing a helmet wouldn’t matter. Therefore, the other driver’s negligence and your negligence as a driver are the only factors that matter. The courts in Colorado have ruled that you don’t have a responsibility to anticipate and plan for someone else’s negligence. Therefore, something like motorcycle maintenance is admissible for comparative negligence because it could contribute to your likelihood of getting into an accident, especially worn tires, bad brakes, or steering failure. However, wearing a helmet can’t.
Exception: Helmet Use Required for Riders under 18
Of course, the law is different for youth riders. Riders under the age of 18 are required by law to wear motorcycle helmets. Therefore, if you or your child were riding without a helmet and were under the age of 18 at the time of the accident, it might reduce your compensation. However, the reduction remains relatively small, because, again, the helmet isn’t a factor until after the accident occurs.
Why Choose Pushchak Law as Your Motorcycle Accident Attorney
At Pushchak Law, we understand that motorcyclists can sometimes face prejudice from a jury. We know how to overcome this issue, and we’ll work hard to make sure you recover the full compensation you deserve.
We follow our unique Informed Decisions™ approach. In this approach, we take time to get to know you and understand your needs in relation to your motorcycle accident case. We will then work hard to get you the verdict that serves you best. We will make sure you understand all the issues in your case so you can make the best decisions for you. We also make ourselves personally available to you so you can talk about new factors that might come up in relation to your case.
To learn more about how our Informed Decisions™ approach can lead to better outcomes for you, please call 303-372-6145 or use our online form to schedule a free motorcycle accident consultation at Pushchak Law.
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