As children, we are often taught to take extra precautions to ensure that we are safe. Generally, when kids are taught to ride a bicycle, they are taught to wear a helmet and sometimes even elbow and kneepads. This is typically to prevent injury in the event that the child is involved in an accident. But what happens when we fast-forward 20 years or more and analyze an adult operating a motorcycle. Can a lack of safety precautions hinder an injured party from recovering for their injuries if they are hurt in an accident involving a motorcycle?
When an injured party who was hurt in an auto accident sues to collect monetary damages for their physical or financial injuries, they are required to prove that defendant(s) was negligent and that their lack of care caused their injuries. This is typically an easier task when a vehicle operated by a drunk or distracted driver strikes a motorcyclist and causes injury. It is obvious that the driver of the vehicle was driving in a manner that was unsafe and that their failure to exercise due care caused injuries to the plaintiff. But what happens when an injured motorcycle rider would have avoided some of their injuries had they been wearing a helmet but chose not to?
Comparative Negligence Could Reduce A Plaintiff’s Recovery
Even if a plaintiff can establish that another party was negligent and caused their injuries, Florida law recognizes the legal doctrine of comparative negligence, also known as comparative fault. This concept allows a court to compare actions of each party to determine the their own negligence played a part in their injuries. For instance, if a motorcycle rider suffers $50,000 of damages stemming from an accident where a driver negligently struck him or her, but was not wearing a helmet, upon being sued, the driver of the vehicle could raise the issue of comparative negligence and argue that because the motorcycle rider chose not to wear a helmet while riding, he contributed to his own injuries and should be held at least particularly responsible. If a court agrees, it will determine the percentage of the damages that were caused by the motorcycle rider through his unwillingness to wear a helmet. If the court determines that the rider is 40% responsible for his injuries, the negligent driver of the vehicle would only be responsible for $30,000 of the damages. The rest of the damages incurred would be the responsibility of the motorcycle rider whose negligence contributed to their injury.
As you can see from the brief explanation of the law above, it is important to take steps to ensure your safety when either getting onto a motorcycle or getting into a vehicle. Although some states do not require helmets for motorcycle riders, they save thousands of lives every year. The lack of a helmet or a seatbelt could significantly reduce your damage recovery if you are involved in an accident.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you or someone you love has been involved in a motorcycle or car accident, it is in your best interest to seek the assistance of an experienced assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney. The skilled professionals at the Tallahassee Law Firm of Fasig & Brooks have decades of experience getting injured clients just like you what they deserve. Give us a call today to set up your free initial consultation at (850) 222-3232.