Around 50% of cyclists say they don’t wear a helmet or a regular basis. The reasons run from convenience to style with some even saying helmets actually make them less safe. Of course, a host of studies disagree with the last assertion. It’s fairly well accepted that helmets save lives and reduce serious brain and head injuries.
So, what happens when a cyclist gets a head injury in a collision with a car and isn’t wearing their helmet? Does this affect their claim for compensation?
Cyclist Liability for Not Wearing a Helmet
If a cyclist is injured in an accident with a motorist, the law requires the cyclist to prove that the motorist was negligent. This is at the crux of any personal injury lawsuit. To prove negligence, the injured person has to show that the motorist operated their vehicle in a careless manner and caused the collision with the cyclist.
So, let’s say the cyclist was crossing at an intersection with a green light, and the motorist ran a red light and hit the cyclist. It seems that negligence should be easy to prove. But what if the cyclist wasn’t wearing a helmet and it can be proven that wearing one would have prevented the injury?
Should the cyclist be allowed to collect any compensation? But wait, wasn’t it the motorist who ran the red light?
This conflict is somewhat settled by an approach to liability called comparative negligence. In Kentucky, this is the law, and it means that the actions of both drivers are looked at. If both are negligent, then the court will assign each person a percentage of fault.
Then each person—cyclist and driver—will pay for the injuries based on their percentage of fault. So, if the cyclist had $10,000 in damages and was found to be 20% at fault for not wearing a helmet, then the driver would pay for 80% of the cyclist’s medical bills and damages.
What About Kids?
In Kentucky, those 12 and over don’t have to wear a helmet, so a natural question is what if an 11-year-old kid wasn’t wearing a helmet and sustained a head injury? Does it make a difference since the kid broke the law?
In Kentucky, there is also a law that says any ticket conviction can’t be used to prove that someone was automatically negligent. So, this means that it is irrelevant that the kid broke the law, but the jury can still assign some of the blame on the kid for not wearing a helmet which, might reduce the compensation amount.
I Was Injured Without a Helmet, So Should I Get an Attorney?
If you were injured riding a bicycle and weren’t wearing a helmet, don’t listen to the insurance companies who will try to blame you for the driver’s negligence. Rather talk to an attorney who understands personal injury law and will fight for your rights.
Even if you don’t end up hiring an attorney, you owe it to yourself to talk to a Louisville Bicycle Accident Attorney that knows insurance law and can evaluate your specific case.
Call the attorneys at Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, at 800 937-8443, for your free consultation and case evaluation. If you call, you will immediately speak to a member of the legal team and not a message machine. You can also Live Chat with an expert who can immediately begin helping you with your claim. Contact them today to start getting the compensation for your injuries that you deserve.