It is no secret that helmets save lives when they are worn by motorcyclists. The reality is that motorcyclists are much more vulnerable to sustaining traumatic brain injuries and open head wounds than any passenger inside a traditional vehicle. However, Colorado does not have a universal helmet law for those over the age of 18. Here, we want to discuss whether or not wearing a helmet can affect a motorcycle accident claim.
In some states across the US, motorcycle accident victims who were not wearing helmets at the time the collision occurred may not be able to recover as much compensation. In Colorado, it is not uncommon for insurance carriers to attempt to reduce or deny compensation for motorcycle accident victims who were not wearing helmets. Often, insurance carriers will point to the state’s modified comparative negligence system. Under this system, a person will receive no compensation if they are 50% or more at fault for their injuries, and they will receive reduced compensation if they are 49% or less responsible.
However, Colorado’s modified comparative negligence law will not apply to motorcycle accident victims if they are not wearing a helmet at the time the crash occurs. That is because Colorado law does not make it mandatory for any person 18 years of age or older to wear motorcycle helmets. Therefore, not wearing a helmet cannot be considered a negligent act. This means that the fact that a person was not wearing a helmet when a crash occurred cannot be used against them when working to determine how much compensation they should receive.
This has been tried all the way up to the Colorado Supreme Court in the case Dare v. Sobule. This case involved a wrongful death that occurred due to a motorcycle accident. The Colorado Supreme Court determined that the failure of the motorcyclist to wear a helmet was not considered negligent. The Court also said that adult motorcyclists could not be expected to predict or assume the negligence of others that may cause the crash. Thus, they should not be expected to wear a helmet in order to protect against possible unknown and unpredictable harms.
Even though a person does not have to wear a motorcycle helmet if they are 18 years of age or older, we strongly recommend that all motorcycle riders invest in a DOT-approved helmet and wear it every time they ride. There is no doubt that helmets save lives and prevent motorcycle riders from sustaining severe injuries.
If you or somebody you love has been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by the careless or negligent actions of another driver in Colorado, you need to seek assistance from a Denver motorcycle accident attorney immediately. These cases can become incredibly complicated, and you can be sure that insurance carriers and at-fault parties will be working hard to limit how much money they payout for your case. If you were not wearing a helmet at the time the collision occurred, you can be sure that the other parties involved will try to use this as a reason to reduce the total amount of money they payout. An attorney will be your advocate, and they will gather the evidence needed to prove liability and to stand up to aggressive insurance carriers.