​Helmet Laws

Posted on August 9, 2022 in Motorcycle Accident

We wear helmets to protect ourselves from harm when riding motorcycles, bicycles, or engaging in other risky activities. While helmets do not protect your head 100 percent of the time, they can mitigate the damage from a crash.

Even if you take the proper precautions, a defective helmet can fail to protect you from serious injuries or death. While this should never dissuade anyone from protecting their heads, you can recover additional compensation if you or someone you love has suffered an injury due to a helmet failure or defect.

In a civil lawsuit or claim, the non-use of a helmet is not a defense against fault. Insurance companies often use non-helmet use to defend against motorcycle injury claims, but victims still have the right to compensation. You need a lawyer to conduct thorough investigations and collect expert testimony to seek compensation for the negligence that harmed you.

Helmet Safety and Regulations

​Helmet LawsHelmets can make the difference between life and death in an accident. Helmet wearers are 37 percent less likely to die in an accident than helmet-less riders. Motorcyclists are most likely to suffer head injuries, and any injury to the brain can have catastrophic and life-changing consequences.

Some state helmet laws require riders under 18 to wear helmets, according to the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA). Other states require all riders to wear helmets.

Other rules for safe riding include:

  • Wear eye protection if the bike does not have a windscreen
  • Taking a passenger on a bike requires a passenger seat and footrest
  • Equip your bike with a left and right mirror
  • Purchase the legally required motorcycle insurance

The safety of passengers is just as important as the safety of drivers. Motorcycle operators and passengers are both at risk of serious injuries and should wear protective helmets.


Motorcycle Accident Causes

Despite some unique challenges and issues associated with riding a motorcycle, most of the potential injuries are the same for motorcyclists and drivers of motor vehicles.

Motor vehicle operators may, unfortunately, exhibit one or a combination of these failings:

  • Speeding excessively
  • Inattention to detail
  • Following too closely
  • Wrongful passing
  • Crossing the centerline
  • Leaving the scene of a traffic accident
  • Drunk or drugged driving
  • Speeding in bad weather, heavy traffic, or other conditions

Motorcycle accidents are not always the fault of other drivers. Injuries can also occur when motorcycles have improper designs. Motorcycle accidents can occur due to poorly designed or constructed roads.

Accidents Involving Motorcycles: Types and Causes

The following accidents can injure motorcycle riders:

  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Accidents with other motorcycles
  • Roadway defects
  • Crashes with commercial vehicles
  • Accidents involving school buses, city buses, or tour buses
  • Collisions with trains
  • Uninsured/underinsured drivers
  • Drunk drivers
  • Negligent maintenance

What Injuries Are Associated With Motorcycle Accidents?

Because of size differences between the vehicles, motorcycle accidents can result in serious injury.

Among the common injuries suffered in motorcycle collision cases are:

  • Paralysis
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Wrongful death
  • Fractured/dislocated bones
  • Scarring/disfigurement
  • Torn ligaments/tendons

Motorcycle injuries can result in years of medical expenses, rehabilitation, and lost income for victims.

An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can address these long-term needs.

Benefits of Motorcycle Helmets

Below are some of the benefits of motorcycle helmets:

  • 69 percent less chance of head injury in motorcycle accidents
  • The chances of death are reduced by 42 percent with a helmet
  • The total cost of motorcycle accidents to society decreases by $17 billion due to helmets
  • Helmets can prevent traumatic brain injury

Fifty-nine percent of motorcycle accident victims did not wear helmets, according to the Government Accountability Office. Wearing a helmet makes sense.

Many other statistics demonstrate that wearing a helmet increases safety.

Motorcycle Helmet Manufacturing Process

To protect yourself, invest in a motorcycle helmet.

Typically, helmets consist of:

  • A plastic, fiberglass, or Kevlar outer layer to absorb the shock of impact on the head
  • Cushioning from expanded polystyrene or polypropylene EPS foam underneath the outer layer
  • A thin layer between the rigid outer shell and the cushioning that can absorb some impacts

Motorcycle helmets can cost as little as $50 or as much as $2,000. In terms of protection, you get what you pay for. You may discover that your helmet doesn’t provide much protection if you try to save money on your safety.

The Federal Standards for Helmet Manufacturing

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulates motorcycle helmets. The performance requirements for on-road helmets are in 49 Code of Federal Regulations § 517.218.

To receive NHTSA approval, manufacturers must self-certify that their products meet the standards. Occasionally, they test helmets to verify compliance, but the agency does not test the helmets before certifying them. Companies can face fines if their helmets do not pass the tests.

When shopping for a motorcycle helmet, always purchase one with the NHTSA seal.

Evaluation of a Product’s Performance

Helmets are subjected to several tests by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to determine impact and penetration resistance and whether the straps can withstand a certain amount of force without breaking.

Finding the Best Motorcycle Helmet

Choose something over wearing nothing if you cannot afford an expensive helmet. Helmets are simply too important not to wear.

Put your safety and comfort first. You’re wasting your money if you buy a helmet and don’t wear it because it’s uncomfortable.

One of the most important features is the thickness of the helmet. Minimum recommended thickness is one inch.

Helmet types include:

  • Open face
  • Full-face
  • Skull cap

A full-face helmet protects both your head and face. If you wear a full-face helmet, make sure you can see the road.

A Biker’s Safety Kit

Aside from motorcycle helmets, riders should wear this safety equipment:

  • Gloves
  • Jackets
  • Boots
  • Pants

Even the most advanced safety gear cannot always prevent injuries, although it may reduce their severity. Safety equipment can cost a lot of money, but it is always a worthwhile investment.

Possible Injury Claim Challenges if You Did Not Wear a Helmet

You may face obstacles in your legal case if you fail to wear a motorcycle helmet. When their policyholder is at fault, the insurance company will never miss an opportunity to blame you for your head injuries. According to them, wearing a helmet would have prevented serious injuries.

Not wearing a helmet should never disqualify you from receiving the compensation you deserve.

Although motorcycle helmets protect the head, you can suffer injuries in a motorcycle accident without hitting your head at all.

These injuries can include:

  • Back and neck injuries
  • Bone fractures
  • Internal organ damage
  • Pulmonary collapse
  • Spinal cord damage

Wearing a helmet will not prevent these injuries and you deserve full financial compensation for them when another driver causes your injuries. An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can help you when an insurance company becomes difficult regarding helmet use.

Motorcycle Accidents: Determining Negligence

In your case, the court will order compensation if the other driver was negligent in the crash.

To prove someone negligent, you must prove:

  • The driver violated their duty of care by acting unreasonably,
  • You suffered an injury, and
  • The driver’s negligence caused your injuries.

When insurance companies hear someone did not have a helmet and suffered a head injury, they immediately try to avoid paying for the injury-related losses. Never let a lack of a helmet keep you from seeking a legal evaluation about an injury case.

An experienced lawyer can help you explain that the real cause of your injuries was what the motorist did, regardless of whether you wore a helmet. Never allow anyone acting in their self-interest to push you around.

After a Motorcycle Accident: What to Do

After familiarizing yourself with some of the legal issues you may encounter in your case, you should have a basic understanding of how to proceed. Preserving the key facts of your case requires some steps.

First, seek the medical treatment you need immediately. This might require an ambulance ride or taking yourself to the emergency room following a crash. Getting prompt medical treatment provides a record of your injuries and treatment recommendations. Your lawyer can use these medical records to prove your injuries to the insurance company.

Then, contact a motorcycle accident attorney immediately. You should never try to handle a claim alone — especially if you suffered a head injury or weren’t wearing a helmet. This is a complicated matter, and the right legal assistance goes a long way toward obtaining the full compensation you need to cover your losses.

What a Motorcycle Accident Injury Attorney Can Do for You

Navigating the legal system alone can present challenges, especially when you have serious injuries. Never discuss your situation in detail with insurance companies or other parties before you have legal representation. With the right lawyer, you can feel more confident that the other party and the insurance companies involved will treat you fairly. Reach out to our experienced accident lawyers for a free case evaluation as soon as possible.