Bicyclists And Helmets
Kentucky law defines bicycles as vehicles and therefore bicycles have the right to use Kentucky roadways. Bicyclists, like other operators of lawful roadway vehicles, must obey the traffic laws and traffic control devices. However, Kentucky law does not require bicyclists to wear helmets. You might assume that since bicyclists are not required to wear helmets, if a bicyclist's head were to be injured in a collision with another vehicle, then the failure to wear a helmet couldn't be used against him or her. Well, you would be wrong.
Sometimes whether you wore a helmet affects your personal injury claim very much. Let's look at a few circumstances.
You Wore a Helmet and Received No Head Injuries
If a vehicle crashed into your bicycle injuring you, but you were wearing a bicycle helmet and therefore received no head injuries, then the fact that you wore the bicycle helmet will not significantly help your claim. Of course, you should be grateful that the helmet protected you from physical injury, but it is not likely to come up in a settlement negotiation or at trial except in the context of proving that you are a responsible cyclist.
You Wore a Helmet and Received Head Injuries
If you wore a helmet and still received head injuries, the fact that you wore a helmet will greatly bolster your claim. It shows that you are not a negligent cyclist, which is important because negligent cyclists cannot receive as much for their injuries as responsible ones. Also, the fact that you wore a helmet can be used to show that you might very well have died or suffered life-altering injuries if you had not worn a helmet, showing that the driver of the other vehicle was being reckless or at least dangerous, which generally increases the amount you can receive for your injuries.
You Did Not Wear a Helmet and Received No Head Injuries
Sometimes cyclists are hit in such a way that they receive injuries to their bodies but not to their heads. If you are only seeking compensation for injuries to your body, then the fact that you didn't wear your helmet is insignificant and is not likely to come up in negotiation or at trial.
You Did Not Wear a Helmet and Received Head Injuries
If you did not wear a helmet and you received head injuries, the fact that you did not wear a helmet will significantly reduce your claim. Kentucky is a "pure comparative negligence" state meaning that the court will determine what percentage of the accident was your fault and then reduce your claim by that same percentage.
The insurance company will work very hard to prove that your failure to wear a helmet is what really caused your injuries and that you are ultimately at fault. It doesn't destroy your claim because the scientific literature around bicycle helmets is not all one-sided. Some studies suggest that helmets may not matter very much. Nonetheless, these facts hurt your case.
In order to put forth the best possible claim, you should contact the very competent Lexington Kentucky car accident attorneys. The Kentucky Personal Injury Attorneys at Goeing Goeing and McQuinn PLLC are here for you. Call us for a free consultation, or visit our website to learn more.