Jun 21, 2021
Motorcycle accidents often result in serious injuries and can even be fatal. For those reasons, many motorcycle operators often choose to use protective equipment such as helmets, padded jackets, and pants. However, despite using protective equipment, riders can still suffer catastrophic injuries such as neck and back injuries to traumatic brain injuries. But what happens if the motorcycle operator was not wearing a helmet? Can the motorcycle driver still file a personal injury lawsuit if he or she was hit by a car while riding a motorcycle without a helmet? Like most legal answers, it depends. To best determine one’s ability to make a legal recovery, those who were injured in an Ohio motorcycle accident should speak with a Columbus motorcycle accident attorney on time to discuss their specific facts and circumstances.
According to Ohio law, motorcycle operators and their passengers are required to wear a helmet if the operator is under the age of 18 years old, or if the operator holds a motorcycle operator’s endorsement or license bearing a “novice” designation. For purposes of this article, a “novice” is one who has only had his or her motorcycle endorsement for less than a year. Those who do not fall into either category may ride their motorcycle legally without a helmet. However, due to the high risks of injury that cyclists face due to their exposure, cyclists should be encouraged to wear a helmet for safety reasons.
Aside from the high risks of significant injuries, not wearing a helmet may also affect one’s ability to pursue a personal injury case or make a full recovery from his or her injuries. Under Ohio law, if a jury or judge finds that the injured individual was comparatively at fault for causing his or her injuries, such as by not wearing a helmet, that person’s legal recovery will be reduced by the overall percentage for which he or she is found to be at fault. For example, if the injured individual was found to have been 10% at fault and obtains a $100,000.00 jury verdict, his or her recovery would actually be reduced to $90,000.00. Worse yet, in Ohio, if the injured person is found to have been 51% or more at fault or more, that person cannot make any recovery and will not be able to pursue a personal injury claim.
When one is injured in an Ohio motorcycle accident, determining fault and overcoming the anticipated legal defenses associated with not wearing a helmet can be difficult to navigate. For example, if one suffered a traumatic brain injury, or worse yet was killed, the defense attorney or insurance company could likely argue that the injuries or death were caused by the decision to not wear a helmet, depending on if the facts support such an argument.
Having a Columbus personal injury attorney represent you in your motorcycle wreck lawsuit can help ensure that those arguments are defeated and that you are fully compensated. For instance, some injuries, such as a neck injury or even head injury, may have occurred regardless of choosing to wear a helmet or not wear a helmet. To best present those arguments, an experienced personal injury attorney may choose to work with medical experts to discuss the mechanism of the injury and the causation of the injury. An attorney may also choose to work with liability experts, such as a human factors expert or accident reconstructionist, to prove the fault of the other driver. Regardless, each case is different and warrants a close review from an experienced attorney.
At the law office of Brian G. Miller Co., L.P.A., our Columbus personal injury attorneys provide expert legal assistance to those who have been seriously injured or killed as a result of a motorcycle accident. If you or a family member has been injured on a motorcycle due to a collision or a crash caused by the negligence of a careless driver, our motorcycle accident attorneys in Columbus, Ohio can assist you. Please call (614) 221-4035 or click here to send an email to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.