Do You Have to Wear a Motorcycle Helmet in New Jersey?
For motorcyclists, wearing a helmet can make an enormous difference in the chances of surviving an accident. However, the helmet laws vary from state to state.
If you ride a motorcycle in New Jersey, it is crucial to abide by the law and take steps to protect your safety. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can help if you have been injured or lost a loved one in a crash.
Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi has extensive experience serving injured motorcyclists and their families throughout New Jersey. Please contact our office in Fort Lee for a free case review.
What Is the New Jersey Motorcycle Helmet Law?
New Jersey law requires all motorcyclists to wear a helmet. Helmets must securely fit the rider’s head and have a strap that wraps around the chin or the neck. The sides of the helmet must also be reflective to improve the visibility of the rider.
Motorcycle helmets worn by riders in New Jersey must also comply with the safety standards set forth by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). If you find a sticker on the helmet that reads “DOT FMVSS No. 218 CERTIFIED,” this is a guarantee from the manufacturer that the helmet is in compliance with federal safety regulations.
A motorcycle helmet that is compliant with DOT standards must meet the following conditions:
- The outside of the helmet should consist of a strong, hard, sturdy shell.
- The helmet must have an inner lining. The lining should be approximately 1 inch thick and consist of solid polystyrene foam.
- The foam layer may be inserted between the outer shell and the interior of the helmet. Therefore, it may not be visible, although you should be able to detect the inner layer by feeling along different points of the helmet.
- The chin strap should be riveted securely in place.
- DOT-certified helmets weigh approximately 3 pounds. Weight alone does not guarantee that the helmet meets the safety standards, but a heavier, thicker helmet is more likely to provide the protection you need.
- No feature on the helmet (such as decorative elements) can extend more than two-tenths of an inch from the surface.
In addition to knowing the requirements for DOT compliance and looking for the sticker on the helmet, you should also make note of any product information. Labels and packaging should include the model and size of the helmet, the year it was manufactured, materials used in the construction of the helmet, and identifying information for the manufacturer.
Reputable manufacturers of motorcycle helmets may also voluntarily submit their products to third-party groups for independent safety testing. You may see additional labels from organizations such as the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), which further indicates that the helmet is safe.
Read More: Helmet Laws in New Jersey
Can I Recover Compensation If I Wasn’t Wearing a Helmet?
Motorcyclists who don’t wear helmets and get hurt in an accident often wonder if they can still pursue damages from the other driver. The answer: It depends.
The no-fault law in New Jersey does not cover motorcycle accidents, so you will not have recourse to your PIP insurance for coverage of medical bills and other expenses. However, the comparative negligence rule in New Jersey may enable injured riders to seek compensation even if they were not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.
For example, if you suffered injury to your lower extremities in the crash, whether or not you were wearing a helmet has little to do with (a) fault for the accident and (b) the severity of your injuries. On the other hand, if you suffered a brain injury in the accident and you were not wearing a helmet, the defendant and his or her insurance company will likely be able to mount a strong challenge to your claim.
Legally, you can recover damages so long as your share of fault in the accident does not exceed the defendant’s liability. The decision not to wear a helmet can have an adverse impact on the compensation in your case, even if the other driver caused the accident.
Contact a New Jersey Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today
Motorcycle crashes are devastating events. Even if you wear a helmet and other protective gear, you are still at risk of serious injury.
The majority of motorcycle accidents occur due to errors on the part of drivers, not motorcyclists. Unfortunately, riders and their families often have a difficult time recovering the full compensation they are owed.
At Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi, we are committed to seeking justice on behalf of those who have been seriously injured or lost loved ones in motorcycle accidents. We never back down from challenging cases, achieving significant verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients and providing hands-on support and guidance every step of the way.
Please call Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi at (201) 585-9111 today for a free review of your case. Our motorcycle accident attorneys serve clients in Fort Lee and throughout New Jersey.