How Do Helmet Laws Impact Fault in Bicycle Accidents?
Posted on Thursday, September 9th, 2021
Bike paths have been sprouting up on streets all across the country as more people have ditched driving and taken up biking to get to where they need to go or to stay healthy and in shape. States have followed the trend by implementing laws to protect bike riders from being injured in accidents with cars. But accidents still happen, and because bikers are uniquely exposed, their injuries can be devastating or fatal.
Helmet Laws in California and Missouri
Helmet laws are in place in numerous states across the country, but the majority of them only stipulate helmet-wearing for young bike riders. In California, if you’re under the age of 18, you must wear a properly-fitting bike helmet when riding on a street, bikeway, or any other bicycle path or trail. The state of Missouri does not have helmet laws requiring bike riders of any age to wear a helmet, but some cities and towns throughout the state have helmet laws.
How Helmet Laws Impact Who’s at Fault in a Bike Accident
If you were injured in a bicycle accident, as part of the process of seeking compensation for your injuries, we’d determine the cause of the accident. What caused the accident will suggest who is liable for the accident, and thus, who must compensate you for your injuries. But some states may reduce compensation for bike accident victims depending on whether or not they were responsible for some part of or all of the accident.
Some states use a comparative negligence approach, and other states use a contributory negligence approach when determining what compensation is available after an accident. Comparative negligence laws state that your entitlement to compensation is reduced by your percentage of fault for an accident. Contributory negligence laws state that your entitlement to compensation can be eliminated if you were in any way at fault for the accident. Both California and Missouri are pure comparative negligence states.
Since Missouri does not have helmet laws, whether you were wearing a helmet or not during your bicycle accident will not affect your liability for the accident. If someone else caused your accident, you might be entitled to complete compensation for your injuries and suffering.
Because California has helmet laws for those under the age of 18, if you or your loved one are under the age of 18 and were not wearing a helmet, you may be considered to have contributed to your injuries in the accident. Your compensation would be reduced by the same percentage you are determined to have contributed to the accident.
Still, not wearing a helmet is not a cause for a bicycle accident. It could certainly increase the severity of your injuries, but if a driver caused the accident, they bear the brunt of the liability for the accident. For example, a person who was injured in a bike accident is seeking $100,000 in compensation from the driver who injured them. After a thorough investigation, it was discovered that the bike rider was 30 percent at fault for the accident (the driver was 70 percent at fault). The bike rider’s potential settlement or award would be reduced by 30 percent, so they would receive, at most, $70,000.
Why We Can Help
OnderLaw, LLC was founded over two decades with a mission to seek justice for people who have been injured by other people’s wrongdoing. Our attorneys have decades of experience handling a range of accident cases, such as auto and motorcycle accidents, workers’ compensation, slip and falls, premises liability, nursing home abuse, and defective products and drugs.
We are committed to providing excellent legal representation to those who need it when they need it. You can count on our compassion, and you can rest assured that we’ll make your case a priority. We’ll work hard to help you reach the best possible outcome.
Call OnderLaw, LLC Today
If you or a loved one has been severely injured in a bicycle accident, you don’t have to go through your recovery alone. You deserve to be compensated for your injuries, and the skilled attorneys at OnderLaw, LLC are here to advocate for you. Our bicycle accident attorneys are experienced in helping accident victims obtain compensation for their injuries.
We’ll review your case during a free consultation, and if you choose to have us take on your case, you won’t have to pay us a dime unless and until we obtain your compensation. Call us today at (314) 963-9000 or contact us online.