Currently, no state requires adult bicyclists to wear helmets. However, wearing a bike helmet can make a huge difference in both your safety and the outcome of an injury claim after a bicycle-car accident. About half of states do require helmets for cyclists under a certain age. What’s more, many cities and towns have their own ordinance requiring adult and child cyclists alike to wear helmets. In California, riders under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet.
If you are an adult, it is still important to consult your own city’s laws regarding bike helmet requirements. If you are in a city that requires your to wear a bike helmet, and you are involved in an accident, whether or not you were wearing a bike helmet can greatly impact your personal injury claim. If you get a head injury after a collision with a vehicle, it may be more difficult for you to get compensation from the at-fault driver. Your violation of the helmet law would make you automatically negligent, causing a reduction in compensation or an elimination of compensation altogether. This is because of comparative and contributory negligence.
Very few states have contributory negligence laws; California does not, though it does have comparative negligence laws. Comparative negligence is when the injured party was careless to the extent that it also makes them responsible for the accident, and it usually causes a reduction in compensation. Comparative negligence rules vary from state to state. California uses pure comparative negligence rules. This rule holds that a victim of an accident can recover some compensation for their injuries, even if they were somewhat negligent or if their degree of fault was greater than the defendant’s. However, the amount of damages is limited by the party’s degree of fault.
The amount of compensation you are eligible to receive after a bike collision with a car depends on many factors, including your town’s helmet laws, whether you were wearing a helmet, the extent of your injuries, and the circumstances of your accident. First of all, if you did not sustain injury to your neck or head in your accident, whether or not you were wearing a helmet is irrelevant, even in towns with a helmet law. However, if you were wearing a helmet it could help your claim, because it shows you are a responsible rider.
If you were wearing a helmet and suffered injury to the head or neck, the fact that you were wearing a helmet is relevant and helpful to your claim. Because you were wearing a helmet and still received injury, your injuries were not caused by your own carelessness. It also shows how serious the injuries could have been had you not been wearing a helmet, as well as how dangerous the driver’s conduct was.
The outcome of your personal injury claim can vary depending on many factors. Always consult an experienced attorney for specific information regarding your incident.