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The professional team at Rittgers Rittgers & Nakajima
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  4.  | Can I still file a legal claim if I wasn’t wearing a helmet?

Can I still file a legal claim if I wasn’t wearing a helmet?

Motorists often have misconceptions about their rights and legal options after a crash. One such misconception is that they have no recourse after an accident if they were partially responsible for their injuries. 

For instance, imagine you are a motorcyclist who was hit by a car. You may very well have the option to pursue legal action against another party, even if you were not wearing a helmet or otherwise negligent.

Contributory negligence laws

Per Ohio laws, a victim’s negligence does not bar them from recovering financial damages after a motor vehicle accident.

This law of contributory negligence allows parties to pursue and recover financial compensation from other negligent parties, as long as the victim was not more responsible for their injuries than the other people involved. 

To illustrate this principle, let’s consider the example of you as a motorcyclist not wearing a helmet.

Yes, the failure to wear a helmet may have been a contributing factor to the severity of your injuries in a crash.

However, if the other motorist was drunk and sped through a red light, their negligence could be a far more significant factor in your injuries. As a result, you could still seek damages from the more negligent party.

How victim negligence affects damages

One critical note about victim negligence is that it will affect the proportion of damages you would receive. For example, if your negligence accounted for 20 percent of your injuries, courts will decrease any award you receive by 20 percent. 

Too often, people oversimplify negligence claims after a car crash. However, it is not an “all-or-nothing” system in Ohio. There are shades of gray and varying degrees of negligence, which people may not realize. 

Thus, having an attorney who can tell your side of the story and help you pursue maximum compensation for your injuries can be crucial.