Everyone knows you should wear a helmet. The statistics do not lie. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), helmets prevent brain injuries 67 percent of the time. However, we know that not everyone wears a helmet. However, before you choose whether to wear a helmet, you should know how helmet laws affect an accident claim should you sustain injury while out for a ride.
What does Florida law say about helmets?
Under Florida Statute § 316.211, it states clearly that a motorcyclist may not ride a bike without a helmet in Florida. However, it is not that simple.
Riders can ride without a helmet given they have satisfied certain criteria. If a rider is over 21 years of age and he has an insurance policy that provides at least $10,000 in medical coverage, he is able to choose whether he wants to wear a helmet or not.
So if it is not illegal, how will not wearing a helmet affect my claim?
While not wearing a helmet is not illegal (granted you meet the above criteria), in addition to putting your life on the line, you are also risking ruining your chances of recovery if you are in an accident.
Florida follows a pure comparative fault rule, which means that an involved party can be up to 99 percent at fault for an accident and still recover compensation. While this rule will likely not keep you from recovering compensation, it can greatly diminish the value of your settlement.
Consider this: you are riding through an intersection when a distracted motorist makes a left turn and slams into you. You suffer traumatic injuries to your head and neck. When you file a claim against the negligent driver, the insurer tells you that you are only able to recover 60 percent of your compensation demand.
This is because the insurer found that you were 40 percent at fault for your injuries due to your own negligence (i.e., not wearing a helmet).
It is important to note that insurers may try this tactic even when your injuries have nothing to do with helmet use (e.g, broken arm, road rash on your legs, etc.). Know that you can fight these assertions and recover the compensation you are due.
Where can I get help with my claim?
The Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys at Coffey Trial Law have decades of experience handling complex accident and injury claims.
We have represented countless motorcycle accident victims and helped them get the compensation they needed and deserved. And we can do the same for you, regardless of the circumstances.
We pride ourselves on giving clients personal attention and dedicated service. So if you have been the victim of a serious motorcycle accident, give us a call at 954-541-3194 to see how we can help you.