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Sugar Land Personal Injury Lawyer > Blog > Bicycle Accident > The Helmet Defense in a Bicycle Crash Claim

The Helmet Defense in a Bicycle Crash Claim


About half the states in the Union, including the Lone Star State, don’t have a bicycle helmet law. However, many local municipalities, like cities and counties, have universal or partial helmet laws. Furthermore, the duty of care, which applies to all bikers, requires them to take reasonable precautions and look out for their own safety.

So the failure to wear a helmet could reduce the victim’s compensation, if the insurance company proves all five elements of the bicycle helmet defense.

This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. A Sugar Land bicycle accident lawyer can obtain additional punitive damages, in some extreme cases.

Duty to Wear

We mentioned the duty of care above. However, the duty of care usually doesn’t include a responsibility to mitigate (voluntarily reduce) damages before an accident occurs. Otherwise, people in motor vehicles would be required to wear crash helmets and fireproof suits. So, bikers only have a duty to wear helmets in limited situations, if at all.

Additionally, evidence suggests that wearing a helmet actually encourages accidents. Subconsciously, when drivers see bicycle riders wearing helmets, they believe these riders can survive crashes. Therefore, these drivers take risky chances while behind the wheel.

A Safe Helmet

Many lightweight bicycle helmets protect the skull much like an egg carton protects an egg. Drop a carton of eggs on the floor, the eggs break. Handle the cartoon too roughly, and the eggs crack.

A hairline crack ruins an egg, and a cracked skull ruins a brain. The slightest injury to the brain causes bleeding and swelling. The resulting injuries are normally permanent, because, in most cases, dead brain cells don’t regenerate.

Failure to Wear

Typically, the insurance company must prove the victim was wearing a helmet designed to prevent a head injury in a high-speed crash, and that the victim was correctly wearing the helmet (chin strap fastened securely, helmet on the head properly, etc.). Most people don’t pay much attention to the way they wear helmets, and the force of an impact usually knocks the helmet off the victim’s head. Therefore, this prong is almost impossible to prove.

Substantially Caused

This prong might be the most difficult one to prove. The insurance company must prove that the failure to wear a helmet, as opposed to the tortfeasor’s (negligent driver’s) driving error, substantially and specifically caused the victim’s head injury.

A Missouri City personal injury lawyer typically uses the but-for text to distinguish a substantial and contributing cause. In these situations, the head injury would not have occurred “but for” the tortfeasor’s negligence. Many people don’t wear helmets, fall off their bikes, and don’t sustain serious head injuries.

Additionally, the insurance company must prove specific cause. A lawyer cannot simply cite safety statistics. Instead, a credible doctor (not a company doctor) must testify that a helmet would have prevented, or at least substantially lessened, the victim’s head injury.

A Head Injury

Many bicycle crash-related head injuries are motion-related, not impact-related. The human brain is about the size of an oversize coffee mug. So, when victims fall and land hard, their brains slam against the insides of their skulls. No helmet can prevent these internal brain injuries.

Reach Out to a Compassionate Fort Bend County Attorney

Injury victims are entitled to significant compensation. For a confidential consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Missouri City, contact the Henrietta Ezeoke Law Firm. The sooner you reach out to us, the sooner we start working for you.



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