Can I File a Bicycle Accident Claim If I Wasn’t Wearing a Helmet?
Donning a bicycle helmet before you hit the road can help prevent injuries in an accident. But despite the benefits of wearing protective headgear, it’s not uncommon for people to ride without a helmet.
Whether or not you were wearing this protective gear could become a significant point of discussion during settlement negotiations. For instance, an insurer could argue that because you weren’t wearing a helmet, you were negligent and therefore you are at least partially liable for your damages. This defense, however, cannot be asserted in states where failure to wear a helmet does not constitute contributory negligence.
Below, we discuss a few strategies your lawyer may utilize to counteract such a dispute should it arise:
1. Your State May Not Require Cyclists to Wear Helmets
Most states do not have universal bicycle helmet laws. By comparison, in many states, motorcyclists are required to wear helmets. If a motorcyclist sustains a brain injury in an accident and was not wearing a helmet, their financial reward may be reduced as their failure to follow the law would constitute negligence per se. If your state does not require bicyclists to wear a helmet, your attorney may argue that you did not have a duty to wear protective headgear and therefore were not negligent.
2. You Would Have Sustained the Same Injuries Had You Been Wearing a Helmet
While a helmet can reduce the risk of sustaining a head injury, it will not protect the rest of your body in a bicycle accident. For instance, if you sustained soft tissue damage, broke an arm, or hurt your spine in an accident involving a negligent motorist, a helmet might not have reduced your injuries.
Furthermore, research on the efficacy of bicycle helmets remains conflicted. While studies do show headgear can protect you against brain injuries in a crash, many cyclists still sustain these types of injuries even when wearing helmets.
3. Someone of Sound Judgment Would Also Not Have Worn a Helmet in the Same Situation
In order to prove you were negligent by not wearing a helmet, the defendant would have to prove that a person of reasonable prudence would have made a different decision under the same or similar circumstances and that taking those steps—i.e. wearing a helmet—would have mitigated some or all of your damages. However, there are many scenarios under which a reasonable individual may choose not to wear protective headgear. For instance, if you were pedaling just a few blocks to visit a friend, your attorney may argue that you should not have been expected to wear a helmet.
Speak to a Skilled Bicycle Accident Attorney Today
Were you injured in a bicycle crash? Whether you were wearing a helmet or not, you may benefit from speaking to a bicycle accident attorney. At Attorneys for All, we can put you in touch with a lawyer who will evaluate your bicycle accident claim as part of a free consultation. Contact us today at (281) 475-4535 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.