Claims for Damages Filed by Bicycle and Motorcycle Riders not Wearing Helmets
A helmet plays an integral role in keeping bicycle riders and motorcycle riders safe and minimizing instances of injuries in an accident. According to Ontario law, all motorcycle operators and their passengers must wear helmets. This law does not extend to include bicycle riders. However, all bicycle riders younger than 18 years are required by law to wear a helmet.
Needless to say, it is advisable for all cyclists to wear a proper helmet. Wearing a helmet protects the rider’s head from potential injury. Importantly, failure to wear a helmet could negatively impact your personal injury claim for compensation against the at-fault parties responsible for your injuries.
Adults 18 Years or Older are not Legally Required to Wear Helmets
In Ontario, the use of helmets is only mandatory for cyclists under the age of 18. If you are above 18 years old, the law doesn’t require you to wear a helmet. However, as a parent of a child below the age of 18, you may be held responsible if your child sustains injuries for knowingly permitting them to ride without a helmet. These helmet laws apply to children who are passengers on bikes. You are still responsible, as a parent or guardian, for whether or not they ride with a helmet.
You must wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle in Ontario
On the other hand, the law is clear regarding wearing a helmet when riding a motorcycle. In every Canadian province, not just Ontario, motorcycle riders are required to wear a helmet at all times when riding. The reason for this is that research has shown that wearing a helmet can significantly reduce the risk of severe head injuries and deaths in motorcycle accidents. The law in Ontario requires that both the passenger and driver wear a helmet. Anyone found violating this law can be fined, even if their passenger is the one not wearing a helmet.
Common injuries that can be avoided by wearing a helmet
When a motorcycle accident occurs, the helmet protects your head and greatly increases your chances of surviving the crash. Without a helmet, you have a higher risk of sustaining a traumatic brain injury, which can cause long-term issues such as:
- Memory problems (inability to remember new information, past events such as the cause of the injury)
- Deteriorated motor skills
- Sensory problems such as blurred vision
- Concentration problems
- Personality changes, mood changes, and mood swings
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping more than usual
- Loss of consciousness or a state of being disoriented
These symptoms may significantly affect the injured person’s work, relationships, and overall quality of life. In serious accidents, failure to wear a helmet can lead to death.
Wearing a helmet can minimize the severity of accidents in a road crash
Studies have proved that there is a correlation between wearing a helmet when riding and a decrease in the severity of head injuries sustained by bicycle and motorcycle riders. According to a recent report, using a helmet while cycling could reduce injury rates by 67 percent and fatalities by 37 percent.
A helmet protects your head by absorbing part of the impact sustained when your head hits the ground or against any other hard surface. However, both motorcycle bicycle helmets cannot protect the wearers from concussions. Note that the primary cause of concussions is the sudden movement of the brain within the skull as a result of an impact, especially if your head hits a hard surface.
Failure to wear a helmet could hurt your personal injury claim
If you were injured in a collision caused by another person’s negligence, the law allows you to seek damages. The law requires you to prove on the balance of probabilities that the at-fault party was indeed responsible for the crash. With the help of a lawyer, you can prove that the defendant owed you a duty of care, breached that duty, and as a result, you suffered significant injuries.
Your lawyer must prove that the accident was the direct cause of your injuries, and thus, you deserve compensation. Failure to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle or motorcycle cannot prevent you from seeking damages. However, it can reduce the amount of compensation you are likely to be awarded in court. Particularly, failure to wear a helmet can raise concerns with respect to contributory negligence and proving causation for your injuries. It is, therefore, in your best interest to retain the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer to prosecute your claim.
Seek legal help
There’s no personal injury case that’s straightforward. The defendant’s insurer will try to get your claim dismissed or deny to compensate you fairly. If you suffered severe injuries during the crash, you shouldn’t have to pursue the claim on your own. Hiring an experienced lawyer will provide you with peace of mind. Also, the lawyer can help gather the right pieces of evidence, build a strong case, and help you file your injury claim on time with properly drafted pleadings. Remember, you should choose your lawyer carefully to ensure reliable legal counsel and representation.