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The Impact of Not Wearing a Helmet on a Motorcycle Injury Claim

Can You Still Sue for Injuries Suffered as a Result of Someone Else’s Negligence?

The Impact of Not Wearing a Helmet on a Motorcycle Injury ClaimNew Jersey is one of 19 states that currently require anyone on a moving motorcycle to wear a helmet. Motorcycle operators and passengers may be ticketed for failure to comply with the law. But what are the consequences with respect to recovering for personal injury if you’ve been hurt in a motorcycle accident, but weren’t wearing a helmet? Will that failure prevent you from recovering anything?

New Jersey’s Modified Comparative Negligence Statute

Like all other states, New Jersey has replaced the old concept of contributory negligence (which would prevent a person from recovering anything in a personal injury claim if he or she contributed in any way to causing the injuries) with the principle of comparative negligence. Under New Jersey’s “modified comparative negligence” law, the fact that you were not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident may or may not prevent you from recovering for your losses. Here’s how it works.

Under comparative negligence law, a jury first determines the entire amount of your losses. The jury will then seek to establish the extent to which you were responsible for causing your injuries, expressing that as a percentage of total liability for your losses. In New Jersey, if the jury determines you were more than 50% responsible for your losses, you cannot recover anything.

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident while not wearing a helmet, it’s very possible that the jury will consider your failure to wear a helmet as a form of negligence especially for a head injury. If the jury determines that your injuries were primarily the result of not wearing your helmet, you may be precluded from any recovery.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

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