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Can a party partially responsible for an accident claim damages?

Motorcyclists while having the most freedom on the road are also the most vulnerable as there is very little protection offered by the bike in the case of a collision. Furthermore, motorcyclists are quite small in comparison to cars and thus are easy to overlook and miss when in heavy traffic. Compared to cars, motorcycles require far more skill and concentration to drive as they lack stability compared to cars. 

Similar to many vehicle accident cases, motorcycle accident claims revolve around the tort of negligence. In the case where the motorcycle rider was partly at fault for the accident, he or she won’t be able to recover any damages under the principles of contributory negligence. If the principle of comparative negligence applies, then the recovery of damages may be possible based on the calculation of damage caused by each party. 

Helmets are protective gear that offers vital protection to the head of the rider in the case of an accident. In many states, it has been made mandatory for motorcycle riders and their passengers to wear helmets. 

In the case of an accident where the motorcycle rider was not wearing a helmet, the opposing motorist may claim that the plaintiff was himself negligent in not wearing a helmet. This can weaken the case for the rider and might even bar the recovery of damages for the rider due to his contributory negligence. A situation where the missing helmet only adds to the injuries is not grounds to dismiss the claim for recovery. In certain states, if a motorcyclist suffers injuries because he was not wearing a helmet, then he may be restricted from obtaining compensation as his failure to wear the helmet was the proximate cause of his injuries. However, where the motorcyclist would have suffered injuries regardless of a helmet, then his failure to wear a helmet will not be a proximate cause of his injuries and his recovery will not be barred. 

If you are in a motorcycle accident, it would be wise to seek the advice of an attorney as they can assess your damages and guide you on how to proceed and protect yourself and your legal rights. 


Related Posts: Debunking common myths related to motorcycle safety, Common causes of motorcycle accidents: Part 1, Does a helmet help in a motorcycle accident?, Motorcyclists killed in New York accident

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