The state of New Mexico operates on a comparative fault basis when it comes to awarding damages in personal injury cases. That means if the accident victim contributed to his or her injuries in any way, the total amount of recoverable damages would be reduced by his or her percentage of fault.
Helmet laws in New Mexico are not as strict as they are in other states. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, motorcycle operators and passengers who are younger than 18 years old must wear a helmet. If you sustained a head injury in a motorcycle crash and you were not wearing a helmet at the time, the insurance company or defendant might argue that your own negligence contributed to the severity of your injury.
New Mexico’s comparative fault law could have a profound impact on your claim, but an experienced motorcycle accident attorney can help you negotiate for a fair settlement. To discuss your case with a head injury lawyer in Albuquerque, contact The Law Office of Brian K. Branch, PC.
Since our founding in 1997, we have been providing compassionate yet aggressive representation to accident victims throughout New Mexico. Call 505-207-4401 to schedule a free case evaluation.
Read on to learn how our state’s helmet laws and comparative fault could affect your accident claim:
If You Did Not Suffer a Head Injury
Although you do not have to wear a helmet if you are older than 18, using one can demonstrate the fact that you are a responsible rider. For example, if you do not sustain a head injury in an accident but you want to pursue compensation for the costs associated with treating other injuries, the fact that you wore a helmet could work in your favor.
The jury may consider you to be a safe rider and take this into account when determining fault. If you did not wear a helmet, on the other hand, it could work against you when they are determining fault because they might assume that you are reckless and thus contributed to the collision in some way.
If You Were Not Wearing a Helmet and Suffered a Head Injury
In states with universal helmet laws, it is essentially impossible to recover compensation for head and neck injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident if the rider was not wearing a helmet. Since New Mexico does not have a universal helmet law, you may be able to recover a portion of the costs associated with treating your head injury, but you can expect the jury to rule that you were partially responsible and thus do not qualify for 100 percent of the damages incurred.
If You Were Wearing a Helmet and Suffered a Head Injury
If you were wearing a helmet that meets the Department of Transportation’s safety standards, the defendant will probably be unable to prove that you are partially liable for your damages unless you contributed to the accident in some way.
Recovering from a motorcycle accident can be costly, especially if you are forced to take a significant amount of time off work. If you were hurt in a collision that was not your fault and you want to file a claim, contact The Law Office of Brian K. Branch, PC