• Tuesday, 23 July 2019

What Happens Claims For Damages By Motorcycle and Bicycle Riders Not Wearing Helmets

#AskJoshuaHimel

The one thing motorcycle riders and bicyclists have in common besides their vehicles having only two wheels is the important role a helmet plays in keeping them safe and minimizing injuries in an accident. Ontario law requires motorcycle operators and the passengers to wear helmets. The law is not as inclusive for bicycle riders with only those riders younger than 18 years of age being required to wear helmets. Although it is clear helmets protect a wearer’s head in a crash, not wearing a helmet could affect an injured motorcycle or bicycle rider’s claim for compensation against a negligent party who caused the accident.

How a helmet can reduce the severity of injuries

Researchers have discovered a correlation between the use of a helmet and a decrease in the severity of head injuries suffered by motorcycle and bicycle riders. Experts recently pointed out that use of a helmet by motorcycle operators cut injury rates by 67% and fatalities by 37% when wearers were involved in collisions.

Helmets protect the head of a wearer by absorbing some of the force when the head makes contact with the ground or other hard surface. Neither bicycle nor motorcycle helmets protect wearers from concussions, which can be caused by movement of the brain within the skill from, among other things, the rapid acceleration and deceleration associated with an accident.

What effect does not wearing a helmet have on an injury claim?

A motorcyclist or bicycle rider injured in a collision caused by another party could have a claim for damages provided it can be proven that the other party was at fault. The lawyer representing the injured party, referred to as the “plaintiff,” must prove the party at fault, the “defendant,” breached a duty of care owed to the plaintiff and the breach caused the accident.

The evidence must also prove the accident caused the plaintiff to suffer an injury and damages. This is because a personal injury claim seeks to recover compensation on behalf of the plaintiff, but there would be no need for compensation unless the plaintiff suffered a monetary loss of some type. Typical damages recoverable in a personal injury claim include lost wages, medical expenses, rehabilitation expenses, and pain and suffering.

The failure of a person to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle or bicycle would not prevent them from suing for damages, but it could reduce the amount of compensation awarded by a court. Negligence or fault on the part of the plaintiff that contributed to either causing the accident or to the damages suffered by plaintiff is contributory negligence.

Proof of contributory negligence on the part of the plaintiff requires the court hearing the claim to reduce the damages awarded by the degree to which the plaintiff was at fault. As an example, if a motorcycle rider sues for injuries suffered in a collision with a driver who failed to obey a stop sign, a judge might determine that not wearing a motorcycle helmet made the plaintiff 25% at fault in contributing to the severity of the injuries. The amount the court would have awarded to the plaintiff would be reduced by 25%.

Ontario personal injury lawyers

If you have been in an accident, an evaluation of the facts and circumstances of the accident and your injuries by an experienced personal injury lawyer helps determine what options you might have to recover damages. The personal injury lawyers at Diamond and Diamond have years of experience helping people pursue claims for compensation. Call the Diamond and Diamond 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to someone now. We have offices located throughout Ontario offering free consultations and case evaluations to injury victims and their families.

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