A Connecticut motorcycle accident typically leaves one party without injury – the driver of the motor vehicle – and one party with devastating harm – the motorcyclist. One of the most common, and the most devastating, injuries that a motorcyclist may sustain is an injury to the head or brain – an injury type which may be mitigated with the use of a helmet. If you were involved in a motorcycle accident in Connecticut, here is how your lack of helmet may affect your claim:
Motorcycle Helmet Laws in Connecticut
There is no universal motorcycle helmet law for operators in Connecticut. However, Connecticut General Assembly Sections 14-289g and 14-40a requires that all riders under the age of 18 wear a helmet, as well as all riders who are operating a motorcycle with a training permit. Failure to wear a helmet, if riders fall into one of the two categories above, is a violation of the law.
Negligence and Negligence per Se in Motorcycle Accident Claims
While it is not against the law for the rider of a motorcycle to operate their bike un-helmeted, it may be considered negligent. Negligence refers to failing to take proper care in doing something – such as protecting one’s head – to the degree that a reasonable person would do. This is different from negligence per se, which is a violation of a statute.
While an un-helmeted rider who is over the age of 18 could not be found guilty of negligence per se, they may be found negligent. This negligence could result in the reduction of a claimant’s compensation.
Connecticut is a pure comparative negligence state, which means that a claimant can recover from the defendant so long as they are no more than 50 percent at fault for the accident and their subsequent injuries. As such, even if the other driver caused the crash, if the defense can prove that a head injury – for which the claimant is seeking damages – would not have been incurred but for the plaintiff’s failure to wear a helmet, the plaintiff’s damages may be reduced in proportion to their degree of negligence.
Summing It Up – Always Wear Your Helmet
In summary, if the other driver caused the crash, and you suffered an injury to your leg, then your lack of helmet would have nothing to do with your ability to recover compensation. On the other hand, if you are seeking compensation for a traumatic brain injury, the fact that you were not wearing a helmet may be very heavily weighted in your settlement offer. As such, you should always wear a helmet, even though law does not require it. Not only may it result in you getting more money during the claims process, but it may also save your life.
Contact Our Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
At The APEX Law Firm, LLC, our compassionate Hartford County motorcycle accident attorneys believe that you are entitled to your full damages amount, helmet or not. If the insurance adjuster or defendant is arguing that you were partially at fault for your injuries, we want to help. Contact us today for a free case consultation to learn more about our experienced representation. Call our Hartford County office at (860) 900-0900 or by using our online contact form.