Denver Accident Lawyers
Protecting Accident Victims & Their Families
Most people understand, driving a motorcycle on the nation’s highways or on city streets opens a person to a much greater risk of bodily harm if involved in an accident than a person driving or riding in a truck, car, or SUV. Two wheels do not have the stability of 4, and being encased in a crush resistant frame with airbags and seatbelts will certainly help to defray injuries. It is necessary for motorcyclists to ride much more carefully because even minor incidents may result in bodily injury. In fact, according to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) “motorcyclists are about 37 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a traffic crash”.
In Colorado, because of the high and continuously changing elevations in much of the state, wind and weather and steep grades can add to the risk of motorcycle riding. Colorado repealed the universal helmet law for motorcyclists back in 1977, and now only requires approved helmets for riders or passengers of bikers who are less than 18 years of age.
In Colorado, motorcycle riders over age 18 have the right not to wear a helmet. If you sustain a head injury riding a motorcycle and you are not wearing a helmet, the insurance company should not tell you that you are partially at fault for not wearing a helmet. In fact, the Colorado Supreme Court supported your right not to wear a helmet in a decision that was published in 1984. More specifically, in Dare v. Sobule, 674 P.2d 960 (1984), the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that “under the Colorado Comparative Negligence Act, evidence of plaintiff’s failure to wear a protective helmet is inadmissible to show negligence on the part of the injured party or to mitigate damages. See Churning v. Staples, 628 P.2d 180(Colo.App.1981) (adopting the reasoning in Fischer v. Moore, supra, and holding that the seat belt defense is not available for purposes of determining the degree of plaintiff’s negligence under the comparative negligence statute).” This means that the insurance company attorney cannot fault you for exercising your right not to wear a helmet on a motorcycle.
We, as motorcycle accident lawyers, are happy to discuss any accident with you for free. We can discuss the laws and rules that may apply to your accident. While you are free to ride a motorcycle in Colorado without a helmet if you are over 18, we recommend that all riders and passengers wear a safe and effective helmet. Also, all riders should follow the rules of the road and all applicable laws. If you do ever get into an accident and are injured, it is much easier to argue on your behalf if it can be shown that you are a safety conscious motorcycle driver who followed all the laws.
Only 19 states currently require motorcyclists to wear helmets, which is a decrease since 1997 when there were 26. Helmets are the number one item that can greatly reduce motorcycle fatalities. NHTSA has estimated that in 2008, 1,829 motorcyclists’ lives were saved by helmets.
We, as motorcycle accident lawyers, also believe that if you ride a motorcycle in Colorado, you should wear a safe and effective helmet, and to follow all the laws of the state. If you do ever get into an accident and are injured, it is much easier to argue on your behalf if it can be shown that you are a safety conscious motorcycle driver.
According to the GHSA (Governors Highway Safety Association, GHSA.org) nationally, motorcycle fatalities have risen in 14 of the last 15 years, and while fatalities in 2012 have fallen in 16 states, they have risen in 34 states. They rose 9% nationally in 2012. When compared to the total traffic fatality increase of 5% as estimated by the NSC (National Safety Council), we can see that there is cause for concern and extra steps needed to ensure that motorcycle riding can be as safe as possible.
It should be noted that as a whole according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) by 2008 motor vehicle crash-related deaths involving cars and light trucks reached a historic low in the US, but motorcyclist deaths reached an all-time high “more than doubling between 1999 and 2008.”
The actual number of deaths from motorcycle accidents 2011 was 4323 according to the NHTSA.
These rises may be the result of many different reasons. Because the economy improved for some in 2012 and 2013, those individuals or families with some extra income may have bought a motorcycle for enjoyment, and added to the total number of bikes on the road. When gas prices spike, people may ride motorcycles more in order to save money because they are more fuel efficient. In fact it was found when gas prices increased, motorcycle registrations also increased.
One of the key things a motorcycle driver can do to stay safe is to get training. Whether you are a new rider or an experienced biker, getting quality training from a MOST (Motorcycle Operator Safety Training) certified training facility is a great idea that may save you from injury or worse. MOST training is CDOT (Colorado Department of Transportation) administered and is approved by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF), who sets internationally recognized standards for motorcycle safety.
If you do get into an accident, you should consult a qualified motorcycle attorney immediately, one who has a record of winning cases. Motorcyclists face particular challenges in the path to justice, because of preconceptions by police, insurance companies, and judges. Many people have negative attitudes about motorcycle riding in general and towards motorcycle drivers specifically, even though most bikers are skilled, extra alert and ride defensively and carefully. Insurance companies often try to get motorcyclists to settle a claim quickly, because it’s easier and more profitable. Remember that an insurance company’s first order of business is to make money for shareholders, and not to make you as a biker whole or well, no matter what their slogan or salesmen tell you.
We have handled numerous motorcycle accident cases with successful results.
In Denver and the surrounding areas, if you are involved in a motorcycle accident and before you talk to anyone else, contact Brian Weiss right away for a free consultation. You will not pay any attorney fees unless and until you win your case for your injuries and loss.