Some states have enacted helmet laws that leave motorcyclists wondering if they can file a personal injury claim if they weren’t wearing a helmet when the accident occurred. Because these laws vary from state, it is important to get in contact with a personal injury attorney in your jurisdiction to determine whether or not helmet laws will affect your case. Consider the following:
States with Helmet Laws
If an individual is in a motorcycle accident within a state that has helmet laws, you may only be able to file a claim if you were acting in compliance with these laws at the time of the accident. In some cases, your ability to file a claim will depend on the type injury that you suffered. If you suffered injuries to your head or neck and were not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, you may not be entitled to compensation because you were not following the helmet laws. If you suffered injuries to other parts of your body, you may be entitled to compensation because the injury would have occurred whether or not you were wearing a helmet.
States without Helmet Laws
If you live in a state that does not enforce helmet laws, then you may be able to file a personal injury claim. However, if you live in an “at fault” state, you must be able to prove that your injury was the fault of the other party. Because you weren’t wearing a helmet at the time of the injury, if the injuries you suffered involve your head and neck, you may have a hard time proving that your injuries were not due to your own negligence.
In most “at-fault” states you must prove that you are no more than 49 percent to blame for any accident and/or injuries that occurred as a result of that accident. If you were not wearing a helmet and you suffered injury to your head and/or neck, the opposing party may try to prove that your injuries were your fault rather than their own. If it is found that the opposing party was less than 50 percent to blame for your injuries, then you will not be successful in your personal injury claim even though your state does not have a helmet law in place.
Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
Because personal injury claims can be very complex, it is in your best interests to retain the services of a personal injury attorney. A personal injury attorney in your state will know the laws that apply to your state and how those laws might affect your personal injury claim.