Motorcyclists are more likely to be injured in a crash than any occupants of passenger vehicles. Cars, vans, SUVs, and pickup trucks have enclosed passenger compartments, seat belts, and airbags. But motorcycles, in contrast, leave riders completely exposed.
If a car smashes into you and causes a motorcycle accident in Denver, CO, whether you use a helmet could determine your injuries and the compensation you can seek for them. A lawyer from Zaner Harden Law, LLP can review your compliance with Denver helmet laws and assess the strength of your personal injury claim.
For over 11 years, Zaner Harden Law, LLP has helped injured victims throughout Denver, Colorado, fight for fair compensation. Our Denver motorcycle accident lawyers have recovered tens of millions of dollars for our clients, and several of our settlements and verdicts have tied or even broken state records.
After a motorcycle collision, our lawyers provide clients with the following:
Motorcycle crashes can cause disabling injuries that leave you unable to work or even take care of yourself in some cases. Do not hesitate to contact Zaner Harden Law, LLP to discuss your motorcycle crash and the compensation you can seek for your injuries under Colorado law.
According to Colorado crash data, the state experienced 2,174 motorcycle accidents in 2022, which caused 141 fatal injuries and 1,639 non-fatal injuries. Nearly 88% of unhelmeted riders were killed or injured, while 83% of helmeted riders suffered injury or death.
The state’s statistics do not identify how many injuries involved head trauma or brain injuries. However, further research suggests that between 24% and 38% of motorcyclists will suffer a head injury in a crash. That wide range arises from the variability in helmet use: Helmeted riders comprise the lower end of the range, and unhelmeted riders comprise the higher end.
Regardless, by applying these numbers to Colorado’s motorcycle crashes in 2022, it can be estimated that nearly 187 helmeted and 219 unhelmeted riders suffered head injuries throughout the year.
These numbers prove the dangers of helmetless riding: The state may have experienced fewer crashes involving unhelmeted riders, yet those individuals suffered more head injuries, according to the above estimate.
Given that the state has laws governing helmet use, Denver defers to the state’s authority, requiring all the city’s motorcyclists to comply with Colorado helmet law. As a result, Denver helmet laws come from the Vehicles and Traffic Code of the Colorado Revised Statutes.
Colorado is one of 47 states requiring motorcycle helmets for some riders. The remaining three — Iowa, Illinois, and New Hampshire — do not require helmets for any riders. Only 18 states require all operators and passengers to wear helmets, but Colorado joins the majority of states with a partial helmet law that only covers some riders.
Colorado’s motorcycle laws require that all riders under 18 wear a motorcycle helmet, which applies to operators and passengers. Operators are responsible for ensuring that passengers under 18 wear helmets, and the police can cite an operator for violating the state’s helmet laws if they fail to do so.
The state designed the law to balance safety and personal choice. Motorcycle operators and passengers 18 or older have the right to choose to wear a helmet, and the state will not force them to.
However, that approach has an unintended effect. Police officers have trouble enforcing the law because they cannot tell a motorcyclist’s age without stopping them. Given that stopping riders over 18 wastes an officer’s time, they will avoid enforcing the law, except in two situations.
First, if an operator or passenger is clearly under 18, an officer may stop and cite them, costing up to $100 in fines and three points on the driver’s record. Second, an officer who stops an operator for some other violation, such as speeding, might also issue a helmet citation if the operator or passenger falls within the parameters of the state helmet law.
Colorado uses modified comparative fault to allocate losses resulting from negligence. If an accident victim’s actions contributed to their injuries, they may bear a share of the fault, and their compensation will be reduced.
Thus, if you sustained a head injury while riding without a helmet, a claims adjuster or jury could assign you 30% of the fault, meaning you will only recover 70% of your losses.
A motorcycle crash can cause serious injuries even when you comply with Denver helmet laws. Contact Zaner Harden Law, LLP for a free consultation to discuss your injuries in your motorcycle accident and how we can help you pursue financial compensation for them.