Injury Compensation if You Were Not Wearing a Helmet in a Motorcycle Crash
Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Jul 31, 2019 in Motorcycle Accidents
You may prefer not to wear a helmet when riding your motorcycle. However, if you were injured in an accident while not wearing a helmet, you may wonder if you can still pursue compensation for your damages. For example, could you be held partially at fault if you were not wearing a helmet?
Our experienced South Bend motorcycle accident lawyers at Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak can discuss these issues with you in your free initial consultation. Our firm a proven track record of obtaining fair compensation for Indiana injury victims. In your confidential consultation, we can review the details of your claim and explain possible legal options.
State Law on Motorcycle Helmets and Fault
Indiana requires drivers and passengers who are age 17 years old or younger to wear a helmet on a motorcycle. Adults who are at least 18 are not required to wear a helmet.
However, even if you were not wearing a helmet and the law required you to do so, you may still be able to pursue compensation for injuries you suffered in an accident caused by another driver.
If you file an insurance claim, the other driver’s insurance company may claim you would not have been injured if you were wearing a helmet. They may try to find a doctor or medical professional to say a helmet would have kept you safe in the accident.
The insurance company or jury may apply Indiana’s comparative fault law to your case to determine how much fault you have for your injuries. The law says you can pursue compensation if you are less than 51 percent at fault for the accident.
If your percentage of fault is below that, any compensation award you receive will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you were found to be 15 percent at fault, your final award would be reduced by 15 percent.
However, if the insurance company or at-fault party cannot prove a causal connection between your injury and you not wearing a helmet, they may have a difficult time applying the comparative fault law to reduce your compensation award. A causal connection means your actions or lack of action directly led to your injuries.
Problems with Not Wearing a Helmet
Even if you prefer not to wear a helmet, you may want to reconsider. Statistics show motorcycle helmets can help prevent fatalities and severe head injuries in motorcycle accidents.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 1,859 motorcyclists’ lives were saved in 2017 by helmets and another 802 could have been saved with helmets.
According to research compiled in BMC Public Health, helmets have been shown to reduce the risk of motorcyclist head injuries by 69 percent. After California implemented a universal motorcycle helmet law, motorcycle accident fatalities were reduced by 37.5 percent.
Not wearing a helmet also has financial consequences, as there is a difference of $290 million in associated health care costs between non-helmeted and helmeted motorcyclists. Motorcyclists with a traumatic brain injury have hospital costs that are 13 times greater than accident victims without a traumatic brain injury.
Call a Lawyer to Discuss Your Accident
Motorcycle accident cases involving victims who were not wearing helmets are often complicated. You could benefit from experienced legal assistance from a qualified motorcycle accident lawyer.
Our South Bend legal team is ready to answer any questions you may have about motorcycle accident cases. We represent injury victims on contingency so there are no upfront fees.