How Can a Motorcycle Helmet Affect Your Motorcycle Accident Case?

By July 7, 2023July 26th, 2023Motorcycle Accident

Motorcycle helmets serve a vital role in protecting riders from traumatic brain injuries and even death during a motorcycle accident. Helmet usage, however, involves much more than safety. After a motorcycle accident, the at-fault party’s insurance may raise the question of whether or not you wore a helmet to diminish your chances of receiving appropriate compensation. 

Helmet Laws and Motorcycle Accident Cases

Helmet laws may vary significantly by state. How the court views motorcycle accident claims involving helmet use may depend on those state helmet laws, so knowing and following them can improve the prospects of your legal claim.

Some common helmet laws include:

  • Mandatory helmet laws for all riders: Some states require that all motorcycle riders, regardless of age or experience, wear a helmet while riding. In these jurisdictions, not wearing a helmet can result in fines and other penalties, both if the police catch you riding without a helmet and in the event of an accident. 
  • Age-specific helmet laws: Other states have helmet laws that apply only to riders under a specific age, often 18 or 21. In these locations, adult riders may choose not to wear a helmet without facing legal repercussions.
  • Variations on helmet laws: In some areas, helmet laws apply primarily in specific circumstances, such as when riding on a highway. 
  • Regardless of helmet laws in the local area, wearing a motorcycle helmet may not prevent accidents but it can lower the risk of a brain injury and strengthen your legal position after a collision. Comply with helmet laws and prioritize safety to protect yourself both on the road and in the courtroom.

    Your attorney can explain the relevance of helmet laws in your area to your case. Note that the at-fault party has no excuse for their negligence, regardless of whether or not you wore a helmet. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can build a strong case that maximizes your claim as the injured party.

    Comparative Negligence and Your Motorcycle Accident Claim

    Comparative negligence determines the responsibility each party shares in an accident. In the context of a motorcycle accident, this means that both the motorcyclist and the other party (usually a driver) may share liability for the accident.

    If you did not wear a helmet and sustained a head injury in the accident, the opposing party or insurance company may argue that your failure to wear a helmet contributed to the severity of your injuries. An experienced lawyer can implement the appropriate strategy to maximize your claim, even if comparative fault comes into play.

    How Can a Motorcycle Helmet Affect Your Motorcycle Accident Case

    Understanding Evidence of Helmet Use in Motorcycle Accident Cases

    If you did wear a helmet at the time of the accident, evidence of this could prove crucial to demonstrating your responsibility. Your attorney can identify and collect the necessary evidence to support your case one way or another.

    Common Types of Evidence

    Your attorney may look at several important types of evidence to demonstrate that you were wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. 

    • Witness testimony: Your attorney can interview witnesses who can attest to whether or not you were wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. This could include fellow riders, bystanders, or even the other party involved in the accident.
    • Photographs from the accident scene: Photos taken immediately following the accident can provide valuable evidence of helmet use or non-use. This can include images of the damaged helmet, as well as photos showing the injuries that the motorcyclist sustained.
    • Video footage of the accident: If you have video footage available from traffic cameras or nearby businesses, your attorney can review the footage to determine if it shows whether or not you were wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

    Proving whether or not you were wearing a helmet during a motorcycle accident can sometimes be difficult, particularly if you have no clear images or witness accounts. In such cases, your attorney may need to rely on expert testimony or other types of evidence to establish the facts of the case. 

    How Expert Opinions and Testimony Can Affect Your Motorcycle Claim

    In complex motorcycle accident cases, expert opinions and testimony play a crucial role in calculating damages.

    Medical experts may provide assessments and opinions on the extent and long-term effects of your injuries. Economic experts may analyze your lost income and earning capacity based on your occupation, skills, and future prospects.

    Finally, accident reconstruction experts can analyze the accident scene and the vehicles involved to determine the sequence of events leading to the crash and whether non-helmet use contributed to the injuries. Their professional insights help determine the appropriate value of your damages and strengthen your case.

    Damages You Can Seek After a Motorcycle Accident, Regardless of Helmet Use

    Regardless of whether you were wearing a helmet, motorcycle accidents can result in severe injuries, property damage, and emotional distress. If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident that someone else’s negligence caused, you may be entitled to seek compensation for the damages you have suffered.

    Your lawyer will consider the combined costs of both economic and non-economic damages in an effort to compensate you for the subjective losses and intangible effects of the accident. 

    These damages may include:

    Medical Expenses

    One of the primary damages you can seek after a motorcycle accident is reimbursement for your resulting medical expenses. This category includes (but is not limited to) hospital bills, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation, physical therapy, and future medical treatments related to your injuries. 

    Property Damage

    Your motorcycle accident likely resulted in significant damage to your bike. You can seek compensation for the repair or replacement of your motorcycle, as well as any other personal belongings that the accident damaged or destroyed. 

    Lost Income and Reduced Earning Capacity

    If your accident caused you to miss work, you can seek compensation for the earnings you lost during that time. If your injuries are likely to keep you from returning to work or may impair your ability to do the same level of work in the future, you can also seek damages for the loss of future earnings. 

    Pain and Suffering

    Pain and suffering is the most common category of non-economic damages, meaning you cannot use receipts, bills, and photographs to prove it.

    These damages pay for the physical discomfort, emotional distress, mental anguish, and diminished quality of life you experience due to the accident and its consequences. They also include damages awarded for the psychological impact of the accident, such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, or other emotional trauma.

    Calculating pain and suffering damages may require the assistance of a legal professional to ensure a fair evaluation of your situation.

    Loss of Consortium

    Loss of consortium refers to the negative effect the accident has on your relationships, including the loss of companionship, intimacy, and support from your spouse or family members. If the accident has significantly affected your relationships, you may seek compensation for this type of damage.

    Loss of Enjoyment of Life

    This category of compensation is another of the intangible damages that are difficult to pin down. These damages account for the diminished quality of life that your injuries caused, including loss of mobility or the inability to participate in activities you once enjoyed.

    Punitive Damages

    In rare cases of extreme negligence or outright malice, punitive damages may apply. An experienced attorney can determine whether punitive damages apply to your case.

    Working With a Skilled Attorney Is in Your Best Interest

    You need legal representation to protect your rights and navigate the complex legal process after a motorcycle accident. Insurance companies often treat motorcyclists as second-class citizens. Your injuries deserve restitution, and a local motorcycle accident lawyer can ensure you have the best chance of recovering fair compensation.

    Here are just a few of the benefits a licensed legal professional can bring to your case:

    1. Understanding the legal process.
    2. Gathering evidence and building a solid case.
    3. Communicating and negotiating with insurance companies.
    4. Handling paperwork and documentation and ensuring adherence to strict deadlines.
    5. Maximizing recoverable compensation.
    6. Providing emotional support and legal guidance.

    From navigating the legal process and maximizing your compensation to gathering evidence, dealing with insurance companies, and understanding complex laws, an attorney is your advocate and guide throughout the entire process. By enlisting an experienced personal injury attorney, you can protect your rights and increase your chances of a favorable outcome in your motorcycle accident case.

    Contact an Attorney for Help With Your Motorcycle Accident Claim

    Motorcycle Accident Attorney, Jean Paul Brunache

    Helmet use can have a significant influence on the outcome of a motorcycle accident case. Factors such as local helmet laws, comparative negligence, evidence of helmet use, expert testimony, and more may all influence the determination of liability and damages in a case.

    Wearing a helmet not only protects motorcyclists from serious injuries, but it can also significantly improve the outcome of a personal injury case. While individual choice remains important, wearing a helmet can provide additional legal protection and improve your chances of securing fair compensation if you do suffer injuries in an accident. 

    A qualified personal injury attorney can provide valuable guidance and navigate the legal process on your behalf, increasing your chances of securing the compensation you deserve for the damages you have suffered.

    Contact an attorney to learn more about your rights if you suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident, including motorcycle accidents during which you did not wear a helmet.