Motorcycle Helmet Laws: What You Need To Know
Motorcycle riders are some the most vulnerable people on the roads today. High speed accidents can be fatal to motorcyclists, even when car and truck occupants only sustain minimal injuries. Wearing a helmet can significantly reduce the possibility of a severe head injury, resulting in brain trauma or death. In fact, the likelihood that a motorcyclist will suffer a brain injury is tripled when he/she doesn’t wear a helmet. For that reason, many states require motorcycle riders — both drivers and passengers — to wear protective headgear.
Mandatory Helmet Laws Are For Your Own Protection
By enacting mandatory helmet laws, most states are only trying to protect motorcyclists and save lives. Some laws are very liberal, only requiring a face shield or goggles; other states have laws that place greater emphasis on the need to protect the cranium from impacts. The most common laws require the wearing of an approved helmet and that simple measure has already shown a reduction in the number of head injuries suffered as a result of motorcycle accidents.
Many motorcycle enthusiasts have rejected the laws — some even challenging them in court. In those cases, motorcyclists have argued that the laws themselves are unconstitutional, but the concept of requiring head protection has been upheld throughout those states in which the laws have been enacted.
Regardless of what the courts say, many motorcyclists take it as a personal decision. While many see the wisdom in following the law, others choose to ride without head protection of any kind. In those circumstances, the financial risks are as heavy as the dangers to one’s own safety. Violating the law and not wearing a helmet could have an impact on a personal injury case, should you be involved in an accident.
How Your Decision Not To Wear A Helmet Affects Your Rights
Ultimately, whether or not you wear a helmet is up to you, but before making that decision, you may want to consider the legal consequences of not wearing a helmet. We already know that wearing a helmet can significantly reduce your chance of a serious head injury and that’s something that can affect a personal injury case, should circumstances lead to a legal battle.
Even in states that don’t require the use of a helmet, while operating a motorcycle, the fact that the rider wasn’t wearing one could affect the outcome of the case. In a personal injury case, the defendant may raise the point that a helmet was not worn, suggesting the motorcyclist’s injuries might not have occurred or might have been less severe if he/she had been wearing a helmet. Even if the defendant is be found guilty of partial negligence, the court might find that the plaintiff was also partially negligent by not wearing a helmet.
The situation is further complicated in states or other jurisdictions where wearing a helmet is mandatory. In those courts, the plaintiff may be found to be just as liable as the defendant in causing his injuries. The defense might successfully argue that, had the plaintiff worn the state mandated protective equipment, the injuries would not have occurred. In this event, the court might find that the defendant should not be held liable for medical expenses.
If you’re a motorcyclist and have been involved in an accident, contact a motorcycle accident lawyer at your earliest convenience. An experienced attorney such as the motorbike accident lawyer locals trust may evaluate your case and determine your best course of action.