If you ride a motorcycle and become injured, you may want to file a personal injury claim to help pay for any medical costs, lost wages, as well as receive compensation for your general pain and suffering. As a motorcyclist, one of the safest things you can do is make sure to wear a helmet every time you ride your motorcycle. Not only does this decrease your risk of serious injury in the event of an accident, but it can also affect your eligibility to file a personal injury claim.
Comparative Fault in Motorcycle Accidents
Whether or not you will receive damages for your personal injury claim from your motorcycle accident will depend on a few different factors. For instance, if you did not sustain an injury to your head, but instead hurt another part of your body, such as your ankle or knee, then whether or not you were wearing a helmet will not affect your claim. Although, if you were wearing a helmet, you may want to make it known in your claim to show that you are a responsible motorcycle rider.
If you were injured in the head or neck on your motorcycle while wearing a helmet, it is important to make note of this in your claim. This shows that you were not careless or reckless, meaning you were not responsible for making your own injuries worse. This places the negligence, and therefore the fault of the accident, on the other driver.
If you were not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident and suffered a head or neck injury, your claim may depend on the helmet laws in your specific state. Most states have some sort of motorcycle helmet law, except for:
- New Hampshire
Even if your state does not have a helmet law for motorcyclists, the fact that you didn’t wear a helmet most likely in some way contributed to your injuries. For instance, a motorcyclist in Illinois is not legally required to wear a helmet, but is still subject to the shared fault laws of that state. In these types of accidents, you will most likely be found comparatively negligent, meaning that you share fault for the accident. This will affect your settlement depending on the specific laws of your state.
If your state does have a helmet law for motorcyclists, as most states now do, it will be even more difficult to prove that you have no fault for your accident, as you could have prevented your own injuries’ severity, and you also broke the law. Receiving a full settlement in this type of case is extremely rare. For example, New York has a universal motorcycle helmet law. All riders, whether expert cyclists or on a motorbike for the first time, must wear a helmet. New York also uses comparative negligence, which means your settlement will be reduced by the percentage of responsibility you share for the accident.