Helmet Laws and Motorcycle Accident Cases
A motorcyclist is cruising down the road. Suddenly, a car accident happens in front of them, and the motorcyclist doesn't have time to stop.
Without a helmet, the risk of death and serious injuries goes up. That's why many states have motorcycle helmet laws. They know that helmet use can reduce head injuries and even fatalities.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have created rules about motorcycle safety. They even have a sticker that goes on approved helmets. This sticker shows that the helmet meets the federal motor vehicle safety standard.
In this article, we will go over what happens if there's a motorcycle accident, how to deal with the insurance companies, and how to protect your rights after a wreck.
What Happens If There's a Motorcycle Accident?
If there was a state law saying bikers should wear a helmet and the motorcyclist didn't, it could change the situation. This is where terms like "comparative negligence" and "comparative fault" come in. It means both parties, the motorist and the motorcyclist, might share blame in the event of an accident.
Comparative Negligence or Fault
This comparative negligence legal principle assesses the fault of each party involved in an accident. Instead of pinning 100% blame on one party, it evaluates the responsibility of all parties.
Imagine a scenario where a motorcyclist wasn't wearing a helmet and a car driver ran a red light, leading to an accident. Both have made mistakes. The system would determine how much each party's error contributed to the accident, like the car driver was 70% at fault, while the helmetless motorcyclist bore 30% of the blame.
How Helmets Factor In
For motorcyclists, helmets play a significant role in the conversation of fault. Helmets drastically reduce the severity of head injuries.
- If a motorcyclist chooses not to wear a helmet and ends up with severe head injuries from an accident, the lack of helmet use could be negligence, especially in states with strict helmet laws.
- But, if a car driver is speeding and hits a motorcyclist, but the motorcyclist wasn't wearing a helmet, the blame could be divided: the driver for reckless driving and the motorcyclist for neglecting personal safety.
The concept of comparative fault is important because it can affect any compensation awarded after an accident. If our helmetless motorcyclist files for $10,000 in damages but is 30% at fault, they might only get $7,000.
After a motorcycle accident of this kind, many people speak with a motorcycle accident attorney or a personal injury lawyer. A lawyer can help accident victims file a motorcycle accident claim. The goal: To get money for things like pain and suffering, medical expenses, or even wrongful death.
Dealing With Insurance Companies
Here's a tip: If there's a motor vehicle accident involving a motorbike, it's good to know state law. An insurance company might argue that you weren't wearing a helmet, which is against the law. This might affect your insurance claim. But a motorcycle accident lawyer or personal injury attorney can help.
Getting Help After an Accident
After a motorcycle accident, it's wise to get a free case evaluation. Some law offices offer this. It's a chance for you to talk about your motorcycle accident case without spending money. Remember, every personal injury lawsuit or personal injury claim is unique.
The Insurance Company's Stance
If you're a motorcyclist who's been in an accident without wearing a helmet, and if your state law mandates helmet use, the insurance company might argue the following:
- Reduced compensation: They could say your injuries might have been less severe or even prevented if you had worn a helmet. They might offer you less compensation than you expect.
- Negligence on your part: The insurance company could argue that by not wearing a helmet, you were negligent or didn't take due care, which contributed to your injuries.
How Motorcycle Accident Lawyers or Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help
Attorneys are professionals who are well-versed in state laws. They can counter the insurance company's arguments by pointing out nuances in the law that the average person might not be aware of.
A lawyer can gather evidence to show that the lack of a helmet might not have significantly changed the outcome. This could be through medical expert testimonies or by comparing your injuries to similar cases in which the victims wore helmets.
Lawyers also have experience negotiating with insurance companies. They can handle discussions more effectively than you, ensuring you get a fair settlement.
If negotiations don't conclude satisfactorily, your attorney can represent you in court. They can use their experience to argue on your behalf.
While the focus might initially be on helmet use, a skilled attorney can shift the focus to other aspects of the accident. This could include the other party's negligence, road conditions, or vehicle malfunctions.
A Few Final Points
If someone you know needs help after a motorcycle or trucking accident, contact a personal injury law office. They can offer a case review and guide you on the next steps.
Always remember that motorcycle safety is essential. Helmets save lives.
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.
Contact a qualified auto accident attorney to make sure your rights are protected.