This is the next post in our series discussing motorcycle accident cases in Hartford, Connecticut. Our last article discussed what to expect at trial after such an accident. It is important to understand that these types of cases raise complex issues of fact and law. It is, therefore, crucial that you retain a personal injury attorney with experience in the handling of such matters. In this article we will discuss how the failure to wear a helmet may impact your recovery of damages. If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact our office today to speak to a lawyer.
Connecticut, like many other states, currently requires motorcycle riders and passengers aged 18 and under to wear a helmet. Effective as of October 1, 2020, new legislation will apply this rule to all Connecticut residents, regardless of age. Failure to comply could result in a traffic citation and $90 fine. Unlike other states, however, Connecticut law does not prohibit an injured rider or passenger from recovering damages simply because they were not wearing a helmet. While not a complete bar to recovery, failure to wear the appropriate protective gear may still have an impact on the victim’s case. The defense may claim that the victim was partially responsible for their injuries as a direct result of the missing helmet under the theory of comparative fault. As we have previously discussed, an injured party’s damages may be reduced to the extent the victim is found to have been responsible. If the victim is fifty-one percent or more responsible for the damages, then they will recover nothing.
For example, if a truck driver runs a red light and hits a motorcycle rider who was lawfully travelling through an intersection, the truck driver would clearly be liable for the accident itself. Now say that the motorcycle rider was not wearing a helmet and suffered brain damage. The jury may believe the defense’s argument that the rider bore partial responsibility for the severity of the injury by failing to wear protective headgear. If so, the rider’s compensation would be reduced by the percentage of fault that they are assigned by the jurors. Also, if the defense is able to argue that the head injury would not have occurred at all, if the rider had been wearing a helmet, then it is possible that the jurors will award compensation for other injuries, but not for the brain damage. It is possible to make counterarguments, of course, through the use of experts such as an accident reconstructionist, physicians, etc. How a jury will rule in any given case will depend on the facts of the situation.
It is important to engage an attorney with experience in motorcycle injury trials to help articulate these complicated issues to the jury. Our firm has experience with motorcycle cases in Hartford, Connecticut. Call us today to speak with a motorcycle accident lawyer. We also service the areas of Wethersfield, New Britain, Rocky Hill, East and West Hartford, Bristol, Glastonbury, and Manchester, as well as the Middlesex County cities of Middletown and Cromwell.