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What if my helmet came off in the crash?

My opponent’s solicitor in my personal injury claim from my bike accident has asked if I was wearing a helmet at the time of my accident as I received cheek fractures. They say that they don’t think I was but even if I was then it wasn’t strapped up properly as it came off so I should accept some blame for my injuries. I was wearing a helmet and have no idea how it came off as I always ensure it is properly secured. While I can prove I was wearing the helmet how am I supposed to prove it was properly strapped on at the time? Am I likely to get less compensation as a result?

Dieter M, by e-mail



A European study showed helmet loss in nearly 13% of motorcycle accidents. There doesn’t seem to be any solid research on why this might happen, but it is generally thought to be due to an ill-fitting helmet or some issue with the chin-strap. That said perfectly fitted helmets can also come off.

In the 1988 Court of Appeal case of Capps v Miller the court held that contributory negligence of 10% should apply for failing to do up a chin strap. This means that in these circumstances the Claimant would receive 10% less compensation.

However, contributory negligence is for the Defendant to prove so you should refuse any deduction to your compensation and invite them to prove it, making it clear you always did the straps up.

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