Does Connecticut have a motorcycle helmet law?
Yes, although it's not the sort of "universal" motorcycle helmet law that is on the books in some states. Connecticut's helmet law only applies to people who are under 18. Specifically, it states "No person under eighteen years of age may (1) operate a motorcycle or a motor-driven cycle… or (2) be a passenger on a motorcycle, unless such operator or passenger is wearing protective headgear of a type which conforms to the minimum specifications" adopted by the state's Commissioner of Motor Vehicles.
To see the full text of this law, check out General Statutes of Connecticut section 14-289g.
If a motorcycle rider or passenger is under 18 and fails to wear a helmet -- or wears one that does not meet minimum specifications -- they'll be cited for a traffic infraction and will need to pay a fine of at least $90, according to Connecticut law.
You might have more than a traffic infraction to worry about if you get into a motorcycle accident while you're violating the helmet law in Connecticut. That's because if you end up filing a lawsuit against a driver who you think caused the accident, even if they are found legally at fault, any compensation the court awards you could still get reduced, especially if you're seeking compensation for head injuries.
Connecticut follows a "modified comparative fault" rule when an injured person files a lawsuit but is partially responsible for the underlying accident -- or for their injuries. (For more information on Connecticut's shared fault rule, check out Connecticut Car Accident Laws.)
How does this rule work in practice? Let's say the court awards you $20,000 in damages, but also finds that your violation of Connecticut's helmet law makes you 40 percent responsible for your own injuries. In that case, you'd receive only $12,000 (the $20,000 award cut by your 40 percent share of fault).
by: David Goguen, J.D.