When you’re filing a claim for injuries sustained during a bicycle accident, it’s likely that you’ll have questions about who’s at fault, and how error will impact your settlement amount. What’s more, if you abstained from helmet use, your bicycle accident claim can be affected by this choice.
Iowa Helmet Laws
Whether or not you were wearing a helmet may not be relevant to your claim based on the fact that Iowa is one of 13 states in the nation with no bicycle helmet law. As such, there is no legal obligation to wear a helmet in the state. Riders of any age in Iowa do not have to wear helmets. Thus, the fact that you were not wearing a helmet doesn't automatically mean you are a negligent or lawless person.
Comparative Negligence Laws
However, the fact that there is no bicycle helmet law in Iowa does not mean that the defendant will not try to argue that you acted negligently. Negligence, which is what determines who’s at fault for an accident, is loosely defined as an act of irresponsible and unreasonable behavior.
It is possible that the defense could make a case that, despite the lack of legal requirement, the importance of a helmet is common knowledge, and therefore not wearing one is unreasonable and unsafe.
An allegation of dangerous behavior on your part is particularly relevant if the injuries sustained are head injuries. Injuries to other regions of the body usually don't hinge on whether or not you wore a helmet. Besides helmets, there are other rules relating to cycling in Iowa, such as the rear light law. Check with a bicycle attorney to see if this relates to your case.
If the driver argues that your actions were unreasonable, then your claim may fall subject to the state’s comparative negligence laws. These laws do not bar a victim from recovering damages when the victim is less than 50 percent at fault for the accident. However, the law does diminish the victim’s recovery amount by their proportion of the blame.
Proving the Negligence of the Other Party
Even if your injury was to the head, it is still possible to hold the other party completely liable. To do so, you will have to demonstrate that, helmet or not, the other party acted negligently and that your injuries would not have been sustained but for these negligent actions.
Contact an Iowa Bicycle Accident Attorney
An attorney is a key resource if you have questions dealing with the following.
- Liability and negligence
- Comparative fault
- Your damages amount
At Walker, Billingsley & Bair, our attorneys will work with you to help you prove the absolute fault of the other party, file your claim, and demonstrate the extent of damages suffered. To learn more about our services and why we want to represent you, contact us at (888) 435-9886 today.