Can I Still Seek Compensation in a Bike Accident Case if I Wasn’t Wearing a Helmet?

Bike accidents can be traumatic experiences, often leaving individuals with injuries, medical bills, and emotional distress. In the aftermath, many wonder if they can seek compensation for damages if they weren’t wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. The quick answer is most likely, but your compensation may get slightly reduced. Please contact a skilled bike accident lawyer now if you were injured in any type of bicycle accident.

Understanding the Legal Framework

In the unfortunate event of a bike accident, you typically have to show that another party was responsible for causing your accident in order to receive compensation for your losses. In legal terms, this means showing that another person or entity was negligent. You can demonstrate negligence by showing that another person or entity failed to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances and thereby caused you harm.

But there are times when more than one party is responsible for causing an accident or bringing harm. A perfect example is when a biker is injured in an accident and is not wearing a helmet. Consider, for example, the scenario where you are riding a bicycle (while not wearing a helmet) and a car hits you while failing to stop at a stop sign.

Here, the driver is undoubtedly responsible for causing the accident. But you’re also to blame for your injuries because you were not practicing safe biking by not wearing a helmet. In these cases, liability is determined by comparative negligence laws.

How Do Comparative Negligence Laws Work?

Most jurisdictions have adopted comparative negligence systems where compensation is determined based on each party’s degree of fault. In such cases, even if you weren’t wearing a bike helmet, you may still be eligible for compensation, albeit potentially reduced to reflect your level of responsibility.

Let’s consider our simple scenario above. Assume after getting hit by the car, you fell to the ground and suffered a broken wrist and scrapes to your head. The total cost of your injuries is $5,000. According to comparative negligence laws, a judge, jury, or a claims adjuster will assign certain percentages of fault to both yourself and the driver of the vehicle.

The driver will receive a higher percentage of fault because he or she drove throw a stop sign. Let’s say the driver is 90% to blame for your injuries. But you also helped cause your injuries (especially the scrapes to your head) by not wearing a helmet. Let’s say you were 10% to blame for your damages.

These percentages mean your overall recovery will be reduced by your percentage of fault. If 10% responsible for your injuries, you would recover $4,500 in a damage award ($5,000 minus 10%, or $500).

Will Comparative Fault Laws Ever Result in No Recovery?

Typically, not in Washington or California. Some states have comparative negligence laws that say a bike accident victim can only recover compensation if a defendant was at least 50% or 51% responsible for a motor collision. But this is not the case under Washington or California law.

Injury victims can still receive a payout provided that they were not 100% to blame for an accident. Yes, you can still receive compensation for a bicycle accident even if you were 99% to blame for causing it. Please note that such bike accident cases can be difficult, and it’s wise to seek the assistance from a skilled bike accident attorney.

Contact Justice Through Compensation for Help

If you or a loved one was injured in an accident, please know that the law firm of Justice Through Compensation is here to help. Our legal team is skilled, experienced, and passionate in their representation. Let us shoulder the burden of an injury claim or lawsuit while you focus on healing from your injuries. Contact us today for the quality legal help you deserve.

Photo by Jonny Kennaugh on Unsplash