The car has long been a symbol of freedom and independence. This is even more true with the motorcycle. Many motorcycle riders love to show off their bike riding skills by being bold. This sometimes includes not wearing a helmet. Unfortunately, they can get into bad accidents. If you are wondering what happens from a legal standpoint, you can read this article and discuss it further with a personal injury lawyer in Ottawa.
The law for motorcyclists in Ontario
Ontario’s provincial law requires anyone over the age of 18 who rides a motorcycle to wear a helmet. This is because numerous studies have proven that helmets protect motorcyclists and save lives.
Helmets lessen the severity of injuries
Plenty of studies exist that demonstrate a clear correlation between wearing a helmet and reducing the severity of or even avoiding head injuries. Experts make a point that wearing a helmet reduces injury rates by 67% and fatalities by 37%. That’s substantial. Helmets work their magic by absorbing much of the force and shock wearers experience when they hit the ground or another hard surface head-on. However, they are useless against concussions. Concussions occur when the brain shakes violently in the head for any period of time. The rapid acceleration and deceleration associated with motorcycle accidents cause this.
How does not wearing a helmet change the nature of an injury claim?
Personal injury lawyers know that motorcyclists can file a claim if they are ever involved in a motorcycle accident. This is especially true if they can prove that the other party was guilty. The plaintiff and his or her legal team must provide substantial evidence proving that the defendant owed a degree of duty of care to the plaintiff that was breached.
The plaintiff and his or her legal team must also be able to prove that he or she suffered injury and damages because of the accident. Plaintiffs tend to ask for monetary compensation which covers the monetary loss. This can be lost wages, medical expenses, rehab, and pain and suffering.
Motorcyclists who don’t wear a helmet at the time of the accident can still sue. However, the fact that they were helmetless can substantially reduce the compensation that they would otherwise be entitled to. After all, the plaintiff was negligent by not wearing a helmet. This is called contributory negligence and it can substantially reduce the compensation amount.
Your personal injury lawyer will tell you that plaintiffs must go to court if it can be proven that he or she was guilty of contributory negligence. A good example would be a motorcyclist who got into an accident but wasn’t wearing a helmet. The motorcyclist may still get a settlement, but it may be limited by the percent to which he or she was found to be guilty of contributory negligence. As is evident, motorcyclists still have some legal recourse even if they were not wearing a helmet at the time the accident occurred!