If I Was Injured in a Motorcycle Accident and Wasn’t Wearing a Helmet, Will I be Able to Recover Damages From the Other Driver?

Unfortunately, many motorcycle accidents take place each year, some ending in serious injuries and others ending in fatalities. Helmets are very important in the way that they save tons of lives each year by reducing the trauma and extent of head injuries sustained when motorcycle accidents occur. Many states in the U.S. have implemented helmet laws surrounding these accidents and how it is mandatory to constantly wear one when riding. So how do you know if you will be able to recover for your injuries if you have become injured and you weren’t wearing a helmet at the time?

Common Motorcycle Injuries
First, it is important to understand that some extremely serious injuries can result from a motorcycle accident, and typically made worse by not wearing a helmet. Here are some of the hard injuries you may expect to sustain:

  • Second- and third-degree burns: You must always remember that motorcycle engines are always fully exposed, and can become up to 230 degrees in heat. When an accident, mere clothing is not enough to keep a rider from sustaining burns.
  • Spinal cord injuries, internal bleeding, brain trauma: Force of impact can be very severe when involved in an accident, and can be the same at low speeds as it is at high speeds. This is why a motorcyclist may suffer from internal bleeding, collapsed lungs, spinal cord injuries, and more.
  • Broken bones: Fractures of the pelvis and wrist are especially common in accidents. The injuries occur when a rider stretches out his or her hands to protect their face in the event of a crash. This leaves lower extremities exposed, which causes severe injury in many cases.

Various Circumstances in Motorcycle Accidents – and Recovery

  • Wearing helmet, but no head or neck injury: The helmet will be irrelevant to your injury claim in a case like this. However, you can still choose to mention that you were wearing a helmet to prove that you are a responsible rider.
  • Not wearing helmet, no head or neck injury: This is still a case in which the helmet will be irrelevant to your overall case. In this type of situation, it will be shown how much worse your injuries could have been had you not been wearing a helmet.
  • Wearing helmet with head or neck injury: In this claim, the helmet is a vital piece of information because it shows how much worse your injuries could have been.
  • Not wearing helmet, no state helmet law, with head or neck injury: In this situation, it may be difficult to recover for your injuries, even if there is no state law. In the end, you may be seen as “comparatively negligent”, which is partially responsible for your injuries.
  • Not wearing helmet, state helmet law, with head or neck injury: It will be extremely difficult to recover damages for a head injury if you were not wearing a helmet and your state requires it. This automatically establishes your comparative negligence. A motorcyclist could endure the difficult task of attempting to prove that the injury would have occurred even with a helmet, but this will be next to impossible in most situations.

New Jersey has a specific code section known as New Jersey Public Law 39:3-76.7, which applies to riders of every age. It states that no person is allowed to operate a motorcycle unless he or she is wearing a protective helmet of a size proper and type approved by the federal DOT. Because of this, if you become injured in a motorcycle accident and you were not wearing a helmet, your ability to recover damages is made all more difficult.

If you were injured in a motorcycle accident and believe you have a claim, there are some things to consider. What are your state laws regarding wearing a helmet, and how may things play out in court? You will want to speak to an experienced attorney about your options and to learn more about liability and recovery in a situation like this. Call MDL today for a free consultation!