Currently, only 19 of our 50 states legally require a motorcycle rider to wear a DOT-approved helmet for their own safety. But in other states, once you’re over 18 or 21, you’re no longer obligated to wear one. Three states currently have no helmet laws at all. But if you don’t wear a helmet, not only will your safety be compromised, but so will your liability increase. When trying to push for a greater amount of compensation in your motorcycle accident case, you’ll want to try limiting your liability because the defense will surely be trying to do the same.
How Does Your Liability Come into Play?
Unfortunately, just because you were struck by a vehicle doesn’t mean that the defense can’t find a way to reduce what they pay you in compensation. If you’re found not wearing a helmet during the accident, they may try to argue that your own careless behavior is why you’ve suffered the injuries you have. While that might not spare them from paying anything, it could potentially leave a dent in the total amount that you would be receiving.
A good example might be if you were originally going to get a total of $200,000 in compensation for your pain and suffering. But if they should see you partly at fault for not wearing a helmet, they might deduct a certain percentage based on your liability. So, if the court finds you 25% at fault, they will subtract 25% from that $200,000, leaving you with only $150,000 instead.
But what happens if somehow the court finds you more than 50% at fault? Should you be found at least 51% at fault or more, the court will rule that you are not owed any compensation.
Always Play It Safe: Wear a Helmet and Practice Motorcycle Riding Safety!
With liability being a potential issue in your pursuit for just compensation, wearing a helmet can help mitigate two potential problems in the aftermath of a motorcycle accident. The first will be to help limit your fault, which in turn will help increase your compensation as your lawyer pushes for more. But wearing a helmet is more than just the money, it’s about your own safety. Without a helmet, the risks of a head injury from a motorcycle shoot skyward.
Head Injury Patterns in Non-Helmeted Cyclists
Possible types of head injuries from a motorcycle include but are not limited to these:
- Fractured Skull
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Subdural, Subarachnoid, and Epidural Hemorrhage
- Degrading of Coordination and Motor Skills
All of these can lead to potential lifelong suffering and injury, and a number of them can lead to death. To treat brain injuries can also be incredibly costly. Wearing a helmet can not only save your life, but it can save you a great deal of money and medical treatment. From a big picture standpoint, wearing a helmet is a big win all around for motorcycle riders.
There are also other kinds of injuries that you can suffer, but with a motorcycle helmet (especially those with full-face protection) you can better your chances of avoiding facial, dental, and eye injuries as well. Consider all of these before deciding to ride without a helmet. It can make all the difference when the unexpected happens.
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