If I’m Not Wearing a Helmet in a Motorcycle Crash, Can I Still Seek Damages for a TBI?
One of the most common injury types suffered by motorcyclists who are involved in a crash is a traumatic brain injury, or TBI. TBIs can have lasting effects for victims, affecting memory, cognition, sensation, learning, and emotion.
When a motorcycle accident occurs and a motorcyclist suffers an injury, they retain the right to bring forth a cause of action against the at-fault party for damages, typically by filing a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance. But what happens if a motorcyclist’s TBI was contributed to by the fact that the motorcyclist wasn’t wearing a helmet – do they still have a cause of action?
Oklahoma’s Modified Comparative Fault Rule
The first thing that’s important to understand is that Oklahoma maintains a rule of modified comparative fault, which means that a plaintiff can still seek damages from another party if they are injured in a crash, so long as they were not 51 percent or more at fault for their accident. If the plaintiff is found to be partially at fault, then the amount of damages that they can recover will be reduced in proportion to their degree of fault.
Negligence and Lack of a Helmet
While motorcyclists in Oklahoma are not required to be helmeted so long as they are age 18 or older, not wearing a helmet can still be considered an act of negligence. Negligence means the failure to act with a reasonable degree of care, and since it is common knowledge that wearing a helmet reduces the chances of serious head and brain injury in a crash, not wearing one could certainly be considered unreasonable. As such, the recoverable damages of a motorcyclist could very well be reduced in proportion to their degree of fault if evidence proves that the motorcyclist would not have suffered a TBI, or would not have suffered as severe of a TBI, had they been helmeted at the time of crash.
Contact an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney Near You
Understanding the rules regarding negligence and fault after a crash can be confusing, and when you are recovering from an injury, collecting evidence and understanding the law may be the last thing you want to burden yourself with. That’s where our experienced Oklahoma City motorcycle accident attorneys at the Owens Law Office, PC come in. We can help you to understand how to bring forth a claim, and how to recover the full amount of damages available to you. Please contact us today to learn more or schedule a free consultation.