Pursuant to North Carolina law, anyone operating or riding on a motorcycle is required to wear a helmet that is properly secured and meets all federal regulations. This law is intended to keep riders safe. A report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the proper use of motorcycle helmets saves nearly 1,900 lives every year, decreases the chances of a fatality by almost 40%, and lowers the risk of brain and head injuries in a motorcycle accident by about 70%.
Am I still entitled to compensation if I was not wearing a helmet during a motorcycle accident?
After being injured in a motorcycle accident, a question we are asked by many of our clients is if not wearing a helmet precludes them from collecting financial compensation for their damages. This common tort defense is referred to as contributory negligence, and whether or not you remain eligible for compensation will depend on the other facts of your motorcycle accident case.
The North Carolina motorcycle accident attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can help you collect evidence relevant to your case and prepare your claim after being injured in a negligence-based accident. Call us today to schedule your free case review.
How Does Contributory Negligence Work?
If you shared in liability for your North Carolina motorcycle crash, it could be challenging to recover financial compensation without the assistance of a reputable North Carolina motorcycle accident attorney. This is due to the fact that North Carolina follows laws of contributory negligence as recently confirmed by an appellate court. According to the laws of contributory negligence, the injured victim is prohibited from recovering compensation from the defendant if the victim contributed to as little as 1% of their accident.
Although contributory negligence is only followed by four states, most having adopted a system of comparative fault at some point, all motorcycle riders in North Carolina are subject to this rule, even if they are from out of state.
There are, fortunately, a few workarounds to the contributory negligence defense. The most popular is the last clear chance doctrine. This doctrine makes it possible for a victim to collect financial compensation in cases where the respondent could have avoided causing the accident and subsequent injuries to the victim, but failed to do so.
Is Failure to Wear a Helmet in a North Carolina Motorcycle Accident Considered Contributory Negligence?
Improperly wearing or failing to wear a helmet is a problem we often encounter in North Carolina motorcycle accidents. This is due to the fact that the rules of contributory negligence state that a victim who contributes to their own injuries by even 1% can be prohibited from collecting any compensation whatsoever. So, in certain states, failure to wear a helmet can be viewed as contributory negligence on the part of the rider.
North Carolina law, however, clearly states that failing to wear a helmet may not be used to prove contributory negligence on the rider’s behalf. Unfortunately, this will not prevent opposing counsel and the insurance company from trying to use this against you by convincing the jury that it is your own fault you were injured during the accident because you couldn’t be bothered to wear a helmet. They know that you are probably not familiar with all the laws that apply to your case. The best way to protect your right to recovery is by working with an experienced North Carolina motorcycle accident attorney who has a well-established track record of winning these kinds of cases.
Speak With a North Carolina Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today
Keep in mind that each case is different, and the laws and regulations that apply will hinge primarily on the events leading up to your accident. If you were injured in a North Carolina motorcycle accident, it is vital to speak with an experienced attorney who can make sure you understand your legal options and advise you on the best way forward. Talk to a skilled North Carolina personal injury attorney at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp by calling (833) 997-1774. We can give you the guidance and legal representation you need to see a successful resolution to your North Carolina motorcycle accident case.