November 2016 archive

Can Damages for Accident Injuries be Recovered If a Motorcyclist is Not Wearing a Helmet

Many motorcyclists who have been in accidents wonder how helmet wear or non-use of a helmet affects their recovery for injuries or other damages as part of a personal injury claim. The bottom line in these cases is that your individual state’s motorcycle laws play a major role in these matters. To get all of the answers you need and guidance as part of a motorcycle accident injury claim, you need to gain the consultation of a personal injury lawyer in your state, or the state where your accident occurred.

Almost all U.S. states require motorcyclists to wear helmets. Only in Illinois, New Hampshire and Iowa are there no requirements for helmet wear during motorcycle use.

Arizona Laws Regarding Helmet Wear by Motorcycle Riders

In Arizona, only riders under the age of 18 years are required by law to wear a helmet. Anyone else aged 18 or older can make their own choice regarding head protection during use of their motorcycle.

In early 2016, Arizona House Bill 2052 was an attempt by some legislators to change the law to mandatory helmet wear. That bill failed and was not passed into law. So Arizona riders can still feel the wind in their hair, as they ride without this form of protection on the state’s roadways.

While Arizona does not require adult motorcyclists to wear helmets, these laws exist in other states for the riders’ own safety. According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, of every 100 motorcycle riders not wearing a helmet who are fatally injured in an auto accident, approximately 37 of those would have survived their crash injuries if a helmet had been worn. Even more injured victims would have suffered less significant injuries if they had been wearing a helmet.

Mandatory Helmet Laws Affect Damages for Accident Injuries

If you are riding your motorcycle in a state that does have a mandatory helmet law, not wearing a helmet at the time of your accident can affect your case against the at-fault driver. In fact, it could make it very difficult to recover some forms of compensation. This is because your choice to not wear a helmet despite the law qualifies your actions as comparative fault.

Comparative fault refers to your carelessness that contributed to your own accident injuries. Because you chose to ignore the helmet law in such a state, you may not be able to recover anything for head or neck injuries. But you may still be able to recover damages for injuries on other parts of your body not typically protected by a helmet, as well as for other losses.

How States without Helmet Laws View Your Personal Injury Claim

Any personal injury claim filed after a motorcycle accident can be affected by non-use of a helmet, even in states where helmet laws do not exist. How the case is affected is reliant upon the type of damages sought for recovery. Insurance adjusters typically try to prove through documented evidence how wearing a helmet could have protected you, therefore asserting that you made a bad decision that contributed to your own injuries and reduced the defendant’s responsibility in some regards.

If injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident were not of the head and neck, helmet wear will not be a factor in your case. But if it can be shown that wearing a helmet may have saved you from your accident injuries, it may be hard to recover the full amount of the damages you seek. This is because you made the conscious decision to not wear protective head gear, knowing that a helmet could prevent injury in an accident.

If you were wearing a helmet in your accident in a “no helmet required” state, that could help your case because it reflects responsibility on your part, as a motorcycle rider. If you suffered injury to your head or neck despite wearing a helmet, your claim will certainly benefit. Showing that you tried to keep yourself safe and were not careless about that safety is a definite positive as a plaintiff. This also shows how much more serious your injuries could have been due to the negligent driver’s actions, if you did not make that responsible choice.

How to Gain the Compensation You Deserve for Arizona Motorcycle Accident Damages

If you are an Arizona motorcyclist and you were not wearing a helmet in your motorcycle accident that was someone else’s fault, you can still work to prove that your injuries would have been equally serious if you had been wearing a helmet. By having a skilled and experienced Arizona motorcycle accident and personal injury lawyer, you can recover the compensation you deserve – helmet or no helmet. For any personal injury or motor vehicle accident claim, having an experienced personal injury lawyer helps you stand up to insurance adjusters who will try to prove how their insured driver was not responsible for your injuries.

Head Injuries and Traumatic Brain Injuries are Common Results of Motorcycle Accidents

There are many inherent risks in motorcycle riding, as anyone who owns a motorcycle knows all too well. The greatest among these risks are head injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries suffered in motorcycle accidents. Such injuries can happen regardless of helmet wear, although wearing a protective helmet can certainly help reduce the severity of outcome. Wearing a helmet can even prevent traumatic brain injury in some circumstances.

Brain injuries are unique among injuries commonly suffered by the body, in that the brain is one organ that does not heal well. Broken bones, abrasions, contusions and other injuries of these types of accidents can heal, while brain damage can seriously impact an individual’s quality of life for as long as they live. In many circumstances, motorcycle riders are at first unaware that a brain injury has even occurred.

A motorcycle brain injury can be similar to the type of head injury suffered by actress Natasha Richardson, who was believed to be fine after head trauma suffered in a skiing accident. But she had received a traumatic brain injury that worsened within hours and took her life later that same day.

Whenever you are involved in an accident, such as a motorcycle accident that causes injury, it is important that you seek the consultation of a phoenix personal injury lawyer. You need help dealing with insurance adjusters to ensure you receive the full compensation you should, as part of an accident and personal injury claim.

What Is a Brain Trauma Lawyer?

A brain trauma lawyer is a personal injury attorney who has experience in dealing with insurance claims following brain injury sustained during a motorcycle accident. When you are the victim of a motorcycle accident that is no fault of your own, any injuries you sustain – such as a head or traumatic brain injury – will cause substantial expense in regard to medical treatment costs, imaging studies, property damage, lost income, and other damages. Insurance companies often try to quickly settle these types of insurance claims for lower than the victim deserves or needs to cover the lifetime of expenses that result from such injuries. A brain trauma lawyer will help you after your motorcycle accident, to ensure you are not taken advantage of by insurance adjusters and that you gain the full amount of recovery that you need.

About Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury is more common than you may realize. Such injuries common to car and motorcycle accidents, as well as sports participation, can range from mild to severe. TBIs, as they are known, cause immediate changes in everyday life for most victims. A TBI can seriously alter daily living and may result in permanent loss of functioning. A TBI is the most severe injury the brain can suffer and is often the result of a head impact. During that impact the brain actually jars, moves or twists within the protective skull.

In many ways, your brain defines who you are and charts the course of your future. When you lose functioning of one or more areas of your brain, you can suffer tragic alterations to your life. You will incur hefty medical costs, loss of wages, and possibly even long-term damages such as home health care expenses.

Traumatic brain injuries can cause any or all of the following immediate effects:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Loss of sensory perception
  • Vision changes, loss, or blurring
  • Light intolerance
  • Attention deficit
  • Concentration problems
  • Memory loss or lapses
  • Speech problems, such as slurring
  • Problems with reading, writing and other forms of communication
  • Difficulty understanding others’ speech or communications
  • Seizures or seizure disorder
  • Hearing loss or sensitivity
  • Sleep disorders, such as insomnia
  • Appetite changes
  • Paralysis
  • Emotional problems
  • Coma
  • Loss of daily or essential functioning

There are a host of issues that traumatic brain injury can cause after a motorcycle accident. Any of these changes or others after your accident qualify you for recovery of damages from the at-fault driver.

After-Effects of TBI: Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)

Anyone who suffers a TBI, such as in a motorcycle accident, may develop a progressive brain disease called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). This disease is most well known as causing the degeneration of motor skills, communication and functioning of sports figures and athletes, such as football players and boxers. A brain autopsy after death is how the condition is most accurately diagnosed, although many people can be presumed to have the condition if they have suffered degeneration of capabilities or functioning after a TBI.

Symptoms of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy include:

  • Confusion
  • Memory problems or loss
  • Paranoia
  • Impulse control problems
  • Behavioral issues
  • Depression
  • Aggression
  • Other signs

Patients with CTE or any of these symptoms after TBI often require ongoing medical care, including treatments, diagnostic imaging studies and even long term care. Symptoms may appear quickly after a TBI or may not appear until decades later.

How a Motorcycle Accident and Brain Trauma Lawyer Can Help

An experienced brain trauma lawyer with knowledge of your state’s personal injury laws can help you recover the compensation needed for medical bills, lost income, property damage, life care expenses and other damages associated with the motorcycle accident.