Under New Jersey law, you must wear a helmet whenever you get on a motorcycle and hit the road. Whether you’re operating the bike or just a passenger, you can be ticketed if you don’t comply. What happens, though, if you are involved in a crash due to the negligence of another motorist? Can you still pursue damages for your injuries if you weren’t wearing a helmet?
In New Jersey, as in other states, when both parties to an accident have some level of responsibility for the injuries, liability is apportioned according to the legal principle of comparative negligence. Under the concept of comparative negligence, the jury first calculates the total amount of losses sustained by the plaintiff (person filing the lawsuit). The court then determines the degree to which the plaintiff was responsible for his or her own injuries, expressed as a percentage of fault. The total damage award is then reduced by that percentage. New Jersey has a “modified comparative negligence” law, which means that the plaintiff may recover compensation only if his or her fault is less than 50 percent. If the court finds that your fault was greater than that of the defendant, you won’t be able to recover damages.
If you’re injured in a motorcycle accident, and you weren’t wearing a helmet, it’s likely the jury will find that your injuries would have been less serious had you followed the law and donned protective headgear. If most of your injuries were to your head, you may have difficulty getting compensation.
Email us using this contact form and we will quickly reach back out with answers.