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Failure to wear motorcycle helmet can impact personal injury recovery

In many areas of our lives, we take precautions to avoid injury or harm to ourselves. When it comes to driving, for example, we wear seatbelts. Studies, of course, have shown that wearing a seatbelt is a critical way to ensure one’s safety in the event of a motor vehicle accident. Similarly, helmets have been shown to be critical to avoiding head and brain injury and death in motorcycle accidents.

One way to highlight the importance of wearing a motorcycle helmet is point to a recent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which found that bikers who wear a helmet have a 29 percent improved chance of living through a crash than those who do not wear a helmet. Currently, 19 states and the District of Columbia have universal motorcycle helmet laws in place. These laws require both bikers and their passengers to wear helmets.

Fortunately, West Virginia is among the states that have universal motorcycle helmet laws, but that still leaves numerous states with partial helmet laws and some which have no helmet laws in place at all. Helmet use has been found to be much higher in states with universal helmet laws, which makes sense.

Choosing to forego wearing a motorcycle helmet can impact one’s ability to recover damages in personal injury litigation, depending on the circumstances of the case. In cases where a biker suffers head injuries or brain damages, the driver who caused the accident may be able to argue that the biker is partially at fault for the injuries because of his or her failure to wear a helmet. Such arguments are not always successful, but they can come up and one should be prepared.  

Motorcyclists who are harmed in an accident should work with an experienced attorney to ensure that their rights are protected and that they achieve a fair recovery. This is especially the case for those who were not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.

Source: Claims Journal, “Motorcycle Helmets Increase Changes of Survival by 29%,” October 16, 2014. 

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