Biking Without a Helmet and Comparative Negligence


July 01, 2017

There is no federal law stating that bike riders must wear helmets. Most state and local laws that do require individuals to wear helmets while biking, only apply to minors, or individuals who are 18 years old and under. Even if you are no required to wear a helmet, it is important to remember that in addition to putting you at risk for further injuries, failing to wear a helmet can potentially put your personal injury claim at risk.

There is no federal law stating that bike riders must wear helmets. Most state and local laws that do require individuals to wear helmets while biking, only apply to minors, or individuals who are 18 years old and under. Even if you are no required to wear a helmet, it is important to remember that in addition to putting you at risk for further injuries, failing to wear a helmet can potentially put your personal injury claim at risk.

Comparative negligence vs. Contributory negligence

Negligence occurs when an individual fails to behave in the way that a reasonably prudent person would under the circumstances. Of course, it is rather common for an accident to be the result of more than one person failing to exhibit the appropriate amount of caution. In many cases, the person who suffered from an injury was also to blame for his or her own injury.

When someone shares some of the responsibility for their own injury, this will impact their claim for damages against other people who might have caused the accident. How much of an impact this will have depends on the laws in the state in which the accident occurred.  In states that practice contributory negligence, a person who is even the slightest bit responsible for his or her own injuries will be prevented from collecting compensation from other responsible parties. Most states, however, practice some form of comparative negligence. Under pure comparative negligence, if a person is partially responsible for their injury, they can still collect compensation from the other individuals who were responsible for the injury, even if the injured person bears the largest share of the blame. Modified comparative negligence is the doctrine in Georgia, where an injured person may collect compensation from other responsible parties, as long as he or she was less than 50% responsible for the incident

In states that practice comparative negligence, the damages awarded to the injured person will be reduced to reflect the person’s share of the liability. For instance, a person who was 20% to blame for his or her own injuries would only be able to collect 80% of the damages for their injury.

How not wearing a helmet can hurt your claim

In some cases, failing to wear a bike helmet might negatively impact your claim due to the notion that failing to do so amounts to comparative negligence. While there are some states where making such an argument might fail, or actually be prohibited, there are other places where such a defense would be permitted, and where you could see your damages award being reduced to reflect your own negligence.

If you were involved in a bicycle or motorcycle collision caused by someone else's negligence, you should contact an attorney at Montlick & Associates to learn about your legal rights as well as wha steps you can take to protect those rights.

Put Our Law Firm's Over 33 Years of Legal Experience to Work For

Do not delay in seeking legal assistance, as you have a limited amount of time to pursue a claim. Call Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law for your free consultation today. Montlick & Associates has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and in the Southeast for over thirty-three years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.

No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law
17 Executive Park Dr NE
Atlanta, GA 30329
Telephone: 1 (800) LAW-NEED
Telephone: 1 (404) 529-6333
Open: 24 hours, 7 Days a Week

Category: Personal Injury

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.