How Does Not Wearing a Motorcycle Helmet Affect My Personal Injury Case?
Motorcyclists over the age of 21 who have a minimum of $10,000 in bodily injury insurance are not required to wear a motorcycle helmet under Florida law. Many motorcyclists prefer not to wear helmets despite the proven advantages of using them. If you choose not to wear a motorcycle helmet and you are in an accident, would your lack of helmet use have an impact on your personal injury case?
Comparative Negligence and Personal Injury
Compensation for injuries is determined through comparative negligence statutes in Florida. In the event of an accident, damages are assessed and liability may be proportionately distributed between the involved parties. This means injuries and property damage are not necessarily the complete responsibility of a single person at fault.
Insurance companies and defense lawyers have routinely used this law to limit losses. In the case of an accident involving a non-helmeted motorcyclist, the motorist could be assessed a certain percentage of the damages for causing bodily injury; however, a portion of the personal injury damages could be assumed by the motorcyclist for not wearing a helmet. The court determines the percentage of fault for each of the involved parties.
The “Helmet Defense”
A tactic known as the “helmet defense” has a long history in Florida. When used successfully, this defense can greatly impact the amount of compensation a motorcyclist may be due in an accident. Some rulings have completely eliminated insurance settlements with the helmet defense.
The helmet defense places blame on the victim for not wearing a motorcycle helmet, even though the motorcyclist is not required to wear one by law if over 21 and carrying $10,000 of bodily injury insurance. Claims can be made that the motorcyclist would not have had a head injury, or the injury would not have been as severe, if he or she had been wearing a helmet.
Advantages of Wearing a Motorcycle Helmet
There is no doubt that a properly fitting and properly designed motorcycle helmet can reduce or minimize trauma to the head in the event of an accident. Even though Florida does not require helmets for adults over 21, it is still advisable to wear one for safety. An accident can happen at any time, and motorcycle accidents do not always involve other drivers. For your own safety and protection, wear your helmet.
Tison Law Group has experience with personal injury law and we clearly understand the helmet defense. If you or a loved one have been involved in a motorcycle accident, or if you have lost a loved one in an accident caused by another motorist, contact us. We are located in Tampa, FL, and proudly serve Tampa Bay area clients in their time of need.