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Motorcycle Accidents

How Wearing a Motorcycle Helmet Could Affect Your Claim

June 16, 2021

Most motorcyclists are aware that Montana does not have a “universal” motorcycle helmet law. While Montana does require motorcycle riders and passengers under the age of 18 to wear helmets, people who are 18 and older do not have to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. While it may be perfectly legal to go without a helmet while riding your motorcycle, it is important to understand the profound ramifications it could have on your claim in the event of an accident. Regardless of whether you were wearing a helmet, a Billings motorcycle accident lawyer can help you get the compensation you need if you were injured in an accident. 

Montana Is a Modified Comparative Negligence State

Montana follows the modified comparative negligence rule when it comes to determining compensation for injured parties. In applying this rule, the insurance company or the court will consider the negligence of the party who caused the accident, and then compare it against the negligence of the injured party. If the injured party was not negligent at all, then the party who caused the accident is 100% liable for the injured party’s injuries and other losses. 

On the other hand, if the injured party’s own negligence contributed to the accident, then their compensation is reduced by the amount that it contributed to the accident or their injuries. For example, if a jury determines that the injured party’s negligence contributed 30% to the accident, then the other party would be responsible for only 70% of the injured party’s injuries and other losses. In other words, the compensation that would be awarded to the injured party would be reduced by 30%. 

There is one very important detail when it comes to Montana’s modified comparative negligence rule – if the injured party was more than 50% responsible for the accident, then they are barred from receiving any compensation. If the other party to your accident is claiming that you are at fault, you should contact a Billings motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. 

Helmets and Modified Comparative Negligence

Montana’s comparative negligence rule has significant consequences for motorcyclists who don’t wear helmets. In the event of an accident, you are far more likely to suffer a severe head injury. More than likely, a serious head injury could account for the vast majority of your medical bills. As a result, the other driver could claim that more than half of your losses were due to the fact that you were not wearing a helmet. And because most people consider it negligent to not wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle, your entire claim may be in jeopardy. At a minimum, the value of your claim could be significantly reduced. 

That said, all hope is not lost – you are not automatically barred from receiving compensation by virtue of the fact that you weren’t wearing a helmet. The extent to which this contributed to your injuries requires careful analysis of the facts. An experienced Billings motorcycle accident lawyer can review your case and challenge any claim that you are not entitled to compensation. 

Contact a Billings Motorcycle Accident Lawyer at Ragain & Clark

We have decades of experience helping injured motorcyclists get the compensation they need to rebuild their lives. Don’t assume that you have no claim – get an experienced Billings motorcycles accident lawyer on your side. To schedule a free consultation, contact us today at 406-651-8888.  We also have an office location in Montana and, Cody, WY.


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