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Can Cyclists Be Held Liable for Not Wearing Helmets?

Bike Accident Lawyers Alexandria, VA

 

Can Cyclists Be Held Liable for Not Wearing Helmets

Bike accident lawyers Alexandria, VA understand that it is increasingly common to see children riding down the streets and bike paths of America decked out in helmets, pads and other safety gear. As the potential benefits of wearing helmets has become more widely understood, parents have generally responded by ensuring that their kids are properly outfitted.

However, adults do not always choose to wear helmets themselves. Sometimes, purchasing a helmet poses a financial hardship and cycling is the only way that an individual can commute to his or her workplace. Sometimes, adults simply prefer to cycle without a cumbersome helmet and intentionally choose to ride bare headed. And other times, adults have simply not had the exposure to information about the benefits of helmet use as many parents have and ride without helmets due to a lack of information.

According to the most experienced bike accident lawyers in Alexandria, VA, when motor vehicles collide with cyclists, helmets can mean the difference between minor concussions and traumatic brain injuries. They can even make the difference between life and death. When cyclists are not properly outfitted with safety gear, they risk grave injury. As a result, some jurisdictions hold cyclists liable for failure to wear a helmet as a legal infraction. And in some personal injury cases, a lack of helmet use can affect a cyclist’s ability to hold a motor vehicle driver or other entity responsible for any harm caused to that cyclist in regards to an accident.

When Cyclists Are Harmed

As most bike accident lawyers in Alexandria, VA will tell you, when cyclists are harmed in an accident, it is important for both the cyclist and anyone who may have contributed to the harm to understand the complexities of the situation. For example, if the cyclist harmed is a child and that child lives in a state where helmets are required, that child’s parents may be held liable or comparatively liable for harm done to that child.

Sometimes states or municipalities require adult helmet use, but this is a less common legal standard than helmet use for persons under the age of 18. Nevertheless, cyclists who choose not to wear helmets may be held partially or comparatively liable for that choice, depending on the circumstances of the case.

Comparative Negligence and Other Consequences

A common questions asked to bike accident lawyers in Alexandria, VA is “What does being held comparatively liable mean?” Essentially, it means that fault for harm caused by an accident is dosed out according to how much any affected plaintiff or defendant contributed to that harm. For example, if a distracted driver hits a child cyclist not wearing a helmet, the parents of that child may be held liable for a small fraction of the harm caused to that child, while the distracted driver may be held liable for a greater fraction of harm caused. It is also possible to receive a ticket for failure to wear a helmet (or allowing a child to ride without a helmet) depending on the specifics of local laws.

Additional Questions?

If you have been harmed during a cycling accident or have potentially contributed to a cyclist’s injuries and have questions about helmet use, do not hesitate to reach out to Cohen & Cohen, P.C. to set up your free consultation with bike accident lawyers Alexandria, VA residents trust. One of our attorneys will be able to advise you of your legal options while focused on the specifics of your unique situation.

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