Riding on a motorcycle offers certain freedoms. It also comes with certain risks. Motorcycle accidents can be extremely dangerous due to the open nature of the bike. That is why protective personal gear is essential for riders and passengers. Although there are many options for gear on the market, the most important piece of protective equipment is a helmet.
The statistics clearly show why helmets are so vital. Without a helmet, a motorcyclist is three times as likely to suffer brain injury in the event of an accident. Helmets are often the difference between life and death for motorcyclists. Therefore, it is no surprise that many states have laws that specifically regulate the use of helmets for motorcyclists and their passengers.
Mandatory helmet laws vary by state. In some states, there are even stipulations that require drivers and passengers to wear goggles and other facial gear. However, most states simply require sufficient head protection with a standard motorcycle helmet. Because these laws do vary by state, you should check the regulations in your state to ensure compliance
There are numerous legal risks if you do not comply with mandatory helmet laws. In addition to receiving a ticket for not wearing a helmet, you are also vulnerable legally in case of an accident. In other words, if you are injured in an accident that is not otherwise your fault, the failure to wear a helmet may affect your ability to win damages in court.
This is the issue of negligence. If the motorcyclist was negligent enough to not wear a helmet, his or her culpability in the accident will be heightened. This can be referred to as comparative negligence. Although the motorcyclist may have otherwise been obeying the law, the failure to wear a helmet exacerbated the injuries. The motorcyclist, therefore, is deemed somewhat responsible for those injuries.
The extent of this negligence is determined by each state. Some states only list criminal penalties for the failure to comply with helmet laws. Other states, however, do not make it clear how such negligence may be interpreted in court. This makes the legal proceedings difficult to predict. In some cases, the judge or jury will decide whether or not the injuries were significantly affected by the lack of a helmet.
In states with strict laws, the failure to wear a helmet is even more damaging in court. In these cases, the negligence of not wearing a helmet is considered to be equal to other types of negligence. This includes issues like speeding and not using turn signals. If you pursue legal action in these states, your case may suffer badly because the failure to wear a helmet is often determined to be the proximate cause of the injuries. In order to win a case in states like this, you must be able to prove that your injuries were not made worse by the failure to wear a helmet.
The states listed below have mandatory helmet laws:
Unfortunately, no matter how many precautions you take, or no matter how vigilant or self-disciplined you may be while operating a motorcycle, this cannot stop other drivers from driving dangerously or negligently.
The biggest difference is that a car MUST carry at a minimum Personal Injury Protection Insurance, better known as No Fault Insurance. Under Florida Law, a motorcycle does not require this type of insurance.
A look at motorcycle defects and recalls, including information on a manufacturer's duty to notify owners of defective products, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s requirements.
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