Yes, you can still recover damages if another driver was negligent and led to you suffering injuries even if you were riding a motorcycle without a helmet. However, your total compensation could be decreased since you were partially at fault for your injuries due to choosing to ride without a helmet. That’s due to Indiana’s comparative negligence laws.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pursue a lawsuit. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can present your case and work to limit the amount of negligence the courts find you guilty of in the case.
Stick around and we’ll explain how the courts determine negligence in motorcycle accidents, including how comparative negligence could be a factor in your case.
Determining Motorcycle Accident Negligence
The largest determining factor as to whether you will get compensation for your injuries following a motorcycle accident will be proving that the other driver was negligent.
Negligence can come in the form of the following.
- Ignoring posted traffic signs
- Driving recklessly
- Changing lanes without looking
- Running through an intersection (red light or stop sign)
- Violating posted traffic laws
Failing to maintain the required duty of care toward others on the road is a sign of negligence. When behind the wheel, negligence can take many forms and not just those listed above. Ultimately, it will be up to the courts to decide whether the other driver or motorcyclist was at fault for the accident and by what percentage each party is responsible for the ensuing damage.
Sadly, motorcyclists get a bad reputation for being reckless, but that isn’t true of all motorcyclists. That’s why some motorcyclists don’t pursue lawsuits because it feels like they don’t stand a chance at getting compensation for their injuries.
Comparative Negligence in Motorcycle Accidents
Deciding not to wear a helmet could mean that the courts find you partially at fault for your injuries. This is especially true if you’re suing the driver for head or neck injuries as a helmet could have helped to protect you.
Indiana’s comparative negligence rule is also sometimes referred to as the “51 percent fault rule.” Under the rule, the courts will not award any compensation to you if you’re found to be 51 percent or more at fault for the accident.
But if you’re found to be less than 51 percent to blame for the accident, your lawsuit can move forward and you can get compensation for your injuries.
Comparative Negligence Continued
To illustrate how the rule works, we’ll use the example of a $100,000 settlement. If the courts rule that you are entitled to $100,000 for your injuries but that you were 20 percent at fault for the accident, you would only get 80 percent of the total settlement amount. In this case, the courts would order the other party to pay you $80,000.
Likewise, if you were 50 percent at fault for the accident, you would get $50,000. But anything more than 50 percent and you would get no settlement from the accident. And in turn, you could have to pay the other party for their damages and their legal fees.
This is another reason why you must hire a skilled attorney who can evaluate all details in your case before filing the lawsuit. That way, you don’t end up with more expenses from your motorcycle accident due to paying out on a lawsuit instead of receiving money from the lawsuit.
Get a Free Consultation – Get Stewart
Stewart & Stewart offers a team of skilled motorcycle accident attorneys who will help you understand your case and determine the best course of action to avoid further damages or potential risks. Contact us now for a free case evaluation.