The debate over the usefulness of motorcycle helmet laws has continued for years. Despite reservations among many riders, helmets have proven to dramatically reduce the rate of brain injuries following a motorcycle accident. As with many jurisdictions, St. Augustine helmet laws state that riders under 21 years of age must wear a helmet at all times. The rules for adults 21 years and older are not as straightforward. State law allows adult riders to avoid the use of a helmet with proper health insurance coverage. The nature of St. Augustine helmet laws and their impact on a personal injury claim are complex and it may be wise to double-check the requirements with a skilled motorcycle accident attorney.
Helmet laws in St. Augustine are governed by Florida Statute Section 316.211. In addition to the age requirement, state law also mandates a minimum amount of medical coverage insurance. Any rider over the age of 21 that carries at least $10,000 in medical payment insurance may lawfully ride a motorcycle without a helmet. This requirement is uncommon with only Florida and Michigan adopting it to date.
These insurance policies must cover injuries sustained by a rider even if they are responsible for the crash. Obtaining this coverage is not always easy. Personal injury protection coverage is rarely available for motorcycles, and many health insurance policies explicitly exclude motorcycle accidents. Even VA benefits often do not provide the necessary coverage.
The Importance of Motorcycle Helmets
Helmet laws are often enacted due to the severity of motorcycle accidents. Despite occurring less frequently than car crashes, a motorcycle collision is significantly more likely to be fatal compared to larger vehicles. The IIHS also reports that helmets alone are 37 percent effective in reducing these fatalities. This is due to their ability to dramatically reduce the rate of traumatic brain injuries in motorcycle accidents.
How Helmet Laws Impact Injury Claims
Riding without a helmet may not completely negate a biker’s injury claim in most cases but that does not mean that failing to comply with the helmet laws will not impact a claim. If a motorcycle rider is injured in a crash, their lack of helmet could affect the damages available in a claim. The defendant could argue a plaintiff’s injuries were preventable had they complied with state helmet requirements.
Ultimately, the amount of compensation available to an injured rider will depend on their degree of fault in the accident. In St. Augustine, the doctrine of pure comparative negligence applies so if a rider is partially at fault for a crash, the amount of their recovery will be diminished proportionately to their share of responsibility. Wearing a helmet at all times could ensure that there is one less reason a claim may be denied or diminished in a motorcycle accident case.
An Attorney Could Answer Your St. Augustine Helmet Laws Questions
There is no guarantee that a motorcycle helmet will prevent injury or death in an accident. Riders that wear appropriate headgear are still injured every day in accidents, but the damage they sustain is usually less severe than it would have been without their protective gear. Complying with St. Augustine motorcycle helmet laws is not only a legal requirement, but it could also help save your life and save your right to a personal injury claim if someone else caused you to crash. To start pursuing the compensation that you deserve and learn more about motorcycle laws, call a local motorcycle accident attorney today and schedule a consultation.