If you choose to ride a motorcycle, bicycle, moped or e-scooter in Connecticut, it is important to follow the state’s helmet laws. Failing to wear a helmet when you are legally required to do so can result in a fine. For safety reasons, it is always in your best interest to wear a helmet, as it can drastically reduce your risk of serious injury or death in a traffic accident. However, state law does not always make wearing a helmet mandatory in Connecticut.
Helmets are mainly required for children in Connecticut, with some exceptions. Adults do not legally have to wear helmets when riding bicycles or motorcycles, with an exception for electric bikes. The state’s helmet laws can be found in Connecticut General Assembly Chapter 248: Vehicle Highway Use. Here is a summary of the relevant statutes:
All of Connecticut’s helmet laws require “protective headgear that conforms to the minimum specifications established by law.” The safety standards vary based on the type of helmet and its intended use. If you are required to wear a helmet in Connecticut, make sure you choose one that is approved by a safety organization and fits snugly to your head.
If you sustain a personal injury while on a motorcycle or bicycle accident in Connecticut, whether or not you were wearing a helmet could affect your right to recover compensation. If the law required you to wear headgear and you were unlawfully riding without a helmet at the time of your accident, this could hurt your odds of recovering financial compensation from the other driver. The injuries sustained typically must be connected to your lack of helmet-wearing, however, to be relevant to the case.
In general, the helmet defense will only apply to cases involving head, brain, face or dental injuries. These are injuries that a helmet is designed to prevent. It is difficult to apply the helmet defense when a victim’s injuries would not reasonably have been prevented by wearing a helmet. The helmet defense is also typically not allowed if the accident victim was within his or her legal rights to not wear one. Finally, state law says that the failure of a child under the age of 15 to wear a helmet as required by law cannot be considered contributory negligence on the part of the parent or child.
If you weren’t wearing a helmet during your accident, you may have to contend with Connecticut’s comparative negligence law as a defense to liability for your injuries. This law reduces a plaintiff’s financial recovery by an amount equivalent to his or her degree of fault for the injuries being claimed. If the defense can prove that you lawfully should have been wearing a helmet and that doing so would have more likely than not prevented your injuries, this could diminish your financial recovery.
Connecticut uses a modified comparative negligence law with a cap of 51 percent. This means that if you are found to be 52 percent or more at fault for your injuries, you will be barred from making a financial recovery. At 51 percent or less fault, financial recovery is available but reduced by your percentage of fault. The best way to protect your right to recover financial compensation for a motorcycle or bicycle accident is to wear a helmet. Our qualified team of Stratford personal injury lawyers can help you navigate a comparative negligence case today.