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Can Not Wearing Your Helmet Impact Your Personal Injury Case?

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If you ride a motorcycle on a regular basis, you are probably already aware of the 19 states that require you to wear one at all times. But depending on your age, you may be able to take it off when you cross the state line in some of the neighboring states. But what happens if you have an accident because of the negligence on the part of someone else and you are not wearing it? Even if it is legal to go without it, will this have an impact on any financial settlement you may be entitled to? It may depend on the following factors.

Where Were You Riding?

If you were riding in one of the 19 states that have universal helmet laws, you are required to have a helmet on at all times. In some states such as Alabama, it does not even matter if you are riding or operating your bike on private property, while other states only require you to wear one if you are on public roads or highways. If your accident happens in one of these states, and you are in violation of the law, you may be found too negligent and this may limit or keep you from receiving any type of recovery against the responsible driver.

There are five states which recognize contributory negligence as a full defense in a personal injury case. These states are:

  • Alabama
  • Maryland
  • North Carolina
  • Virginia
  • Washington, D.C.

Under this defense, the defendant in the case can request that case be completely dismissed if they are able to show that you were negligent in the accident as well. If you are in a state that operates under comparative negligence, your settlement may be reduced by the percentage in which the court assigns to your level of negligence. This can also vary based on whether the state uses pure or modified comparative fault or uses the 50% rule or the 51% rule. 

What Is The Extent Of Your Injuries?

Even if you are in a state that does not require you to wear a helmet when you ride, you still may not recover as much as you would had you been wearing a helmet. Another factor in the equation is the type of injuries you sustain, as well as the extent of those injuries.

The CDC has show that helmets can not only reduce rider fatalities by 22 to 42 percent, but it can also reduce brain injuries by 41 to 69%. If you sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI), or a closed head injury, and the defense is able to show that your injuries could have been minimized by you wearing a helmet, it could affect if you are able to recover and if so, how much. On the other hand, if injure some other part of your body, such as breaking your arm, or even hurting your back, the defense may have difficulty arguing that wearing a helmet would have made much of a difference. 

It does not matter if you were wearing a helmet or not when your accident occurred. If you were injured on your motorcycle as a result of the negligence of someone else, you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit. The first thing that you need to do is to contact a motorcycle accident attorney. They have the type of knowledge that will allow them to review your situation and determine whether or not you have a valid case. If they decide you do, they will help you to collect and organize the required documentation, medical bills, and all of the other information that will be required to be submitted to the court. Call them for a review.