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.