Can You File a Motorcycle Accident Claim If You Weren’t Wearing a Helmet?
Although wearing an adequate helmet can reduce the risk of serious injury and even death in the event of a motorcycle accident, some riders still opt to forgo them. If you happen to be one of them, you’re probably wondering how that might impact your ability to take legal action following a crash.
While riding without a helmet doesn’t prohibit you from filing a personal injury claim, it could impact the outcome in certain scenarios. Read on to learn what those scenarios are:
If You Sustained a Head Injury
Because motorcycle helmets have been proven to reduce the risk of head injury, choosing not to wear one could be considered a failure to mitigate damages. Should you seek compensation for expenses stemming from a head injury, the opposing party may be able to argue that you’re partially responsible for them.
If they can prove your condition wouldn’t be as severe had you been wearing adequate safety gear, they can shift some liability your way. Since Florida has a pure comparative fault rule, this would also shift some financial responsibility your way. In other words, you would not be able to pursue funds for 100 percent of the damages. Instead, your own percentage of blame would offset the defendant’s obligation.
If You Were Allegedly Riding Recklessly
If you did not sustain a head injury, the opposing party won’t be able to argue that wearing a helmet would have reduced the extent of damages you did incur. Not wearing a helmet could hurt your claim in another way, however, by hurting your credibility in general since it demonstrates a disregard for safety.
While Florida does not have a universal helmet law, the state recognizes their importance by requiring all riders under 21 to wear one. This law also extends to those with less than $10,000 in medical coverage for motorcycle-related injuries.
In other words, forgoing a helmet could be considered a sign of risky behavior. And if the opposing party accuses you of contributing to the crash by driving recklessly, the insurance adjuster may consider the fact that you weren’t wearing a helmet to support their allegation.
Should this end up being the case, a strategic personal injury attorney can help you challenge such assertions. They’re still going to pose an added hurdle, however, which can make it difficult to recover the compensation you deserve. Rest assured, your legal team won’t stop fighting for you, and they won’t let the insurance adjuster bully you into accepting an unfair payout just because they think you were being reckless.
Call (727) 821-1500 to Speak with a Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Florida
At Emerson Straw, we’re all too familiar with the devastating damages that motorcycle accidents can leave in their wake. If you or someone you love was seriously injured while riding, let us help you gather the evidence needed to hold all liable parties accountable. Call (727) 821-1500 or fill out our Online Contact Form to schedule your free case review with a motorcycle accident lawyer in Florida.