Am I at Fault for Not Wearing a Helmet?

Am I at Fault for Not Wearing a Helmet?

Motorcycle Accident Lawyers

Not wearing a helmet is a leading cause of injury and death to motorcycle drivers involved in a crash. Traumatic brain injury can cause paralysis, impaired speech, or even a vegetative state. When it comes to liability, not wearing a helmet could also impact your ability to recover the full amount of damages resulting from the accident.


There are different categories of liability or negligence that may be assigned to one or more drivers in an accident. If the motorcyclist is found to have contributed through either general negligence or negligence per se, there is a chance that the defendant’s attorney could claim that there was shared fault, also known as comparative negligence. This is common when a motorcyclist fails to wear a helmet. One or more of these factors could impact the amount based on the percentage of blame attributed to the motorcyclist. Most states allow compensation for up to 50% liability. However, there are exceptions in some states, so contacting an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer is recommended.

General Negligence

  • Distracted driving – Texting is one of the most common examples of distracted driving.
  • Road rage – Was one driver driving aggressively, leading to an accident?
  • Drunk driving – Drivers under the influence are likely to drift, not look before changing lanes or not notice other vehicles around them.
  • Speeding – Speeding can lead to an inability to stop safely, navigate turns or even cause other drivers to react in a manner that causes accidents.

Negligence Per Se 

  • No helmet – Laws requiring helmets vary state to state, as do the liability laws.
  • Lane splitting – This is when a motorcyclist rides between lanes of traffic.
  • Driving more than two abreast in a single lane – 
  • Breaking any traffic law – Examples are speeding, drinking while driving, etc. 

Types of Injuries

Some of the most common injuries suffered by riders in a motorcycle accident are:

  • Road rash
  • Burns
  • Soft tissue
  • Fractures
  • Internal Injuries
  • Head Trauma
  • Neck and Spine injuries

Any of these injuries by themselves could result in medical bills, lost wages, impaired movement or cognitive abilities and diminished capacity to earn wages in the future. It’s not unusual for motorcyclists to have multiple injuries in a crash. The laws pertaining to the percentage of fault attributed to either driver vary in each state, as do the limits on damages. When there is any question of liability in an accident, reach out to a motorcycle accident lawuer in Des Moines, IA for advice on your rights under the laws of your state. Thanks to Johnston Martineau, LLP for their insight into personal injury claims and motorcycle accidents when you weren’t wearing a helmet.

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