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Helmet use and motorcycle accident lawsuits

| Apr 19, 2019 | motorcycle accidents

Spring is here, and as the weather continues to warm up more motorcyclists in New Jersey will be taking to the road on their bikes. Safety is an important issue when it comes to riding motorcycles, and one of the best precautions a biker can take is to wear a helmet.

Motorcycle helmets can prevent head injuries if the biker is thrown from his or her vehicle in a crash. It is well-known that motorcycle accidents can be very serious, as a motorcycle does not offer riders the same safety features such as air bags and crumple zones that automobiles provide. Moreover, the size disparity between an automobile and a motorcycle generally means the motorcyclist will come off worse for wear in a motor vehicle accident.

For these reasons, some states have enacted laws mandating the use of motorcycle helmets. In New Jersey, all motorcyclists must wear a helmet. This raises the question of whether a motorcyclist who was not wearing a helmet at the time of a crash can still pursue compensation from the negligent motorist.

New Jersey follows the laws of contributory negligence. This means that if one party’s negligence is less than that of the other party, the first party can still pursue a legal claim. However, the compensation they are entitled to will be diminished by the percentage they are at fault. So, if a motorcyclist wasn’t wearing a helmet and was deemed to be partially at fault, as long as their fault was not greater than that of the defendant, the motorcyclist may still pursue damages, although they will be reduced by the percentage of negligence attributable to the motorcyclist.

Ultimately, personal injury lawsuits involving motorcyclists and helmet use can be complex, and readers should not rely on the information on this post as legal advice. Every person’s situation is unique, and as such, any legal arguments must be tailored to reflect the facts of the case at hand. Thus, those who want to learn more about how helmet use affects a person’s ability to pursue compensation in the event of a crash will want to seek the professional guidance they need to have their questions answered.