If you use a bicycle as a mode of transportation and become injured, you may seek to file a personal injury claim. Filing a claim can help you receive the compensation you need to help pay for medical expenses and lost wages from missed work.
Wearing a helmet is good practice for bicyclists, as it protects your head and neck from injury in the event of an accident. If you don’t wear a helmet, bike riding is not only more dangerous, but it can affect your success in filing a personal injury claim.
Comparative Fault in Bicycle Accidents
Your personal injury claim from your bicycle accident depends on different details about the accident. First of all, the location of your injury affects whether or not it mattered that you were wearing a helmet. If you were injured in your head and neck while riding a bike, it matters if you were wearing a helmet, but if the injury was to your ankle, arm, knee, or another part of your body, the fact that you were wearing a helmet doesn’t matter to the claim. It may be a good idea to make a note that you were wearing a helmet to show that you are a responsible biker, though.
Another factor that will affect your personal injury claim is the helmet laws in your area. There are currently no federal laws that mandate the use of helmets for adult bicyclists. 21 states have laws that require people under a certain age, usually around 16 to 18 years old, to wear a helmet.
The fact of whether or not you were wearing a helmet may affect your claim. If you were injured in the head or neck and you were wearing a helmet, the helmet shows that you are not comparatively negligence, meaning you do not share fault for the accident, and this may earn you a better settlement for your claim.
If you were not wearing a helmet, and you do not fall under a helmet law in your area (for instance, most adults in a majority of states), it may still be difficult to make your claim, as there are many statistics and studies that prove how wearing a helmet can significantly reduce head injuries. In this case, you would most likely be found comparatively negligent and your settlement would be reduced by the percentage of responsibility you are found to have shared for the accident.
If you were not wearing a helmet and your state does have a helmet law for bicyclists in your age group, this could greatly affect your claim. For instance, in California you must wear a helmet when you ride a bike until you are 18 years old. If you were in a bike accident as a 17 year old and were found to have not been wearing a helmet, the fact that you broke the law automatically establishes that you have comparative negligence and share fault for the accident. This will reduce your settlement by the percentage of responsibility you share.