If you were involved in a motorcycle accident in which you were injured but not wearing a helmet, you might be wondering if you’re still able to collect compensation from the responsible party. While you should always wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle, you can still receive compensation. The fact that you weren’t wearing a helmet should never deter you from filing a claim. If you have questions or need assistance, contact our Denver motorcycle accident lawyers today to set up a consultation.
In Colorado, the law states that all motorcycle riders under the age of 18 must wear a protective helmet of a type and design manufactured for use by operators of motorcycles. This means that anyone 18 or older is not required to wear a helmet.
It’s important to note that you are required to wear eye protection when riding a motorcycle unless it has a windshield, regardless of your age.
The Colorado Supreme Court decided that the non-use of a helmet while riding a motorcycle for riders over the age of 18 is inadmissible in a civil claim. This means that if you are 18 years or older but weren’t wearing a helmet during your accident, the defense cannot introduce this fact into evidence. Because there is no law requiring riders to wear helmets, the court concluded that it isn’t fair to introduce this information, and it shouldn’t take away from the fact that another negligent party caused the accident.
The Court also stated that allowing non-helmet use into trial would essentially turn the case into a battle of the experts. The defense would have an expert that claims the injuries wouldn’t have occurred or wouldn’t have been as severe had the driver been wearing a helmet, and the plaintiff’s attorney would have an expert arguing the opposite.
Colorado personal injury claims are governed by modified comparative negligence. This means that the injured party’s monetary award will be reduced by the amount they are found to be responsible. If the award is $100,000 and the plaintiff is 20 percent responsible, the plaintiff will walk away with $80,000.
Most important is the fact that the plaintiff cannot recover any compensation if they are 50 percent or more at fault. This calculation is only applicable at trial. If your personal injury attorney and the defense attorney are able to settle the claim out of court, this won’t be officially determined. The defendant’s attorney will certainly try to ascertain the plaintiff’s percentage of fault when agreeing to a settlement, though.
It’s important to note that insurance companies are also not permitted to use the fact that you weren’t wearing a helmet against you. The fact that they aren’t permitted to do this doesn’t mean they won’t try. This is why it’s so important to have an experienced attorney on your side even if you aren’t filing a personal injury claim. Having a lawyer speak with insurance companies will show them that they can’t take advantage of you. Make sure you don’t talk to any insurance adjusters without your lawyer.
If you were in a motorcycle accident and have questions or need help filing a claim or speaking with an insurance adjuster, contact us today for a free consultation.