If you ride a motorcycle, then you likely know how important it is to wear a helmet. Wearing a helmet can greatly reduce the chances of a serious injury or even death in the event of an accident. Your helmet can also impact your ability to seek compensation for any injuries suffered in an accident. If you're in an accident caused by someone else's negligence or recklessness, you may be able to file a suit. However, the outcome of that suit could be heavily influenced by whether or not you were wearing a helmet. Here are four common situations and how they're often resolved in court.
You didn't suffer head or neck injuries. If your accident injuries are located somewhere other than your head or neck, then it likely won't matter whether or not you were wearing a helmet. While wearing a helmet certainly shows that you were riding responsibly, it doesn't have a direct relationship with your injuries, so the court will probably find it irrelevant.
You suffered head or neck injuries and were wearing a helmet. In this scenario, your helmet helps your chances in a couple of ways. First, it shows that you're a responsible rider and that you took action to minimize your risk of head injury. It also can show just how reckless or negligent the other party was. If your injuries are serious and you were wearing a helmet, consider how serious they could have been if you hadn't protected yourself. Your attorney may use this point to illustrate just how much worse the accident could have been.
You suffered head or neck injuries, you weren't wearing a helmet, and your state does not have a helmet law. Not wearing a helmet certainly won't help your case. However, if you weren't required to wear a helmet, you may still be able to win your suit. You could, though, see your damages reduced. The court may find that you are comparatively negligent for your injuries, which means you bear some responsibility.
You suffered head or neck injuries, you weren't wearing a helmet, and your state does have a helmet law. In this situation, you were breaking state law when the accident happened. Also, the breaking of that law directly contributed to your injuries. Even if the wreck was caused by someone else, it may be very difficult to be successful with a suit in this situation. Your damages could be drastically reduced or your suit could be thrown out altogether.
Best practice is to always wear a helmet. If you're involved in an accident and unsure of your rights, talk to a motorcycle accident lawyer. They can review your case and consult with you about options. For more information, contact Master Weinstein Shatz Moyer, P.C. or a similar firm.