It is illegal to ride a motorcycle without a helmet in Alberta. Our province has a mandatory helmet law requiring all riders and passengers to wear a helmet that meets the safety standards set by Alberta Transportation.
Failing to wear a helmet brings all sorts of terrible consequences, from fines and penalties to increased injury severity.
The Benefits of Helmets
Helmets are about 37% effective in preventing fatal injuries to riders and about 41% effective for passengers. They reduce the severity of skull fractures, TBIs, and concussions. They also protect the face and eyes from debris.
Despite the many benefits of helmets, a small percentage of the population doesn’t wear them. A 2019 study by the Alberta Ministry of Transportation noted that 7.5% of riders don’t wear helmets in urban areas, and 20% don’t wear them in urban areas.
If you were one of those riders caught without a helmet during a motorcycle accident, take heart. You may still be able to recover from your injuries. However, you will not recover as much money as you would have had you followed the law.
How Helmets Impact Your Injury Case
Alberta is a contributory negligence province. In any injury case, courts have the right to hold that each party bears a percentage of fault. The eventual settlement or award is reduced by the percentage of negligence borne by the plaintiff.
Historically, judges have assigned 10% or 20% fault percentages for failure to wear a helmet alone. If you weren’t wearing a helmet, they might assign you as much. This is before they assign any blame for actions taken during the crash, such as operator error or failure to follow traffic laws.
Past a certain point, suing for damages becomes a game of diminishing returns in cases where riders weren’t wearing their helmets. Your attorney will need to take a hard look at your case to determine whether it is still worthwhile to sue.
How a Calgary Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
Nothing is absolute in the law. There have been cases where Canadian courts have dismissed claims of contributory negligence for a failure to wear a helmet. It’s rare, but it does happen, usually in cases where the injuries that you suffered are not connected to your failure to wear a helmet. If your injury was primarily a leg injury, for example, then the defendant will have a hard time selling Alberta courts on a helmet-based contributory negligence claim.
A good attorney may be able to make the missing helmet into a non-issue.
All personal injury cases are far more complicated than they appear at first glance. Have you hired a personal injury attorney yet?
The sooner you involve one of the personal injury attorneys at Merchant Law, the sooner we can begin building the strongest cases possible. Contact us to schedule a case review. We’ll help you determine whether your motorcycle claim is strong enough to pursue, and we’ll help you determine next steps. We’re not here to judge you, we’re here to give you the strongest legal representation you can find in the state of Alberta.