There is no question that wearing a helmet on a motorcycle is extremely important. In the event of an accident, helmets can help prevent or alleviate brain and spinal cord injuries, as well as other damage to your neck and back. For this reason, motorcycle drivers and riders under the age of 18 MUST wear a helmet in Colorado.
Though helmets are undoubtedly safe and help protect riders, they are not required for all motorcyclists in Colorado. If you are 18 years of age or older then by law, you are not required to wear a helmet whether you are driving a motorcycle or just a passenger.
So, if helmets are undoubtedly safe but not required by law, you may be wondering whether you can receive compensation for your injuries if you were not wearing a helmet during your motorcycle accident. The simple answer is yes, but your damages (compensation) may be reduced or offset due to comparative negligence.
If your motorcycle accident was not your fault, or partially not your fault, then you can still file a lawsuit against the other driver involved in your collision. However, as a result of comparative negligence laws, if you were not wearing a helmet at the time of your accident then the amount awarded to you as damages may be reduced if you injure your head. A jury could find that even if you did not cause the accident, you are 20% at fault for your head injury because a fifth of the damage(s) could have been prevented if you were wearing a helmet. Under these circumstances, if the jury determines that all of your damages total $100,000, you will only be entitled to $80,000 due to the 20% of damage that was determined to be your fault.
If you are a motorcyclist or passenger under the age of 18 and you are not wearing a helmet, establishing that you were comparatively negligent will be much easier. Here, a jury will likely find that because you broke the law requiring you to wear a helmet and you suffered a head injury, you were negligent per se. As such, your damages award will be reduced by the percentage of your own fault which contributed to your head injuries.
So while you may still receive damages for injuries you sustain in a motorcycle accident even if you weren't wearing a helmet, the amount of compensation you receive will likely be reduced. For this reason (and to help save your life or prevent further injury) – you should always wear a helmet on a motorcycle!
If you or a family member were injured in a motorcycle accident, regardless of whether you were wearing a helmet or not, call the Law Office of Jeremy Rosenthal. Our experienced attorneys can help you recover after an accident by getting you the compensation you and/or your family need to cover your injuries. Contact the Law Office of Jeremy Rosenthal for a free consultation at (303) 825-2223 or visit us online.