This is especially true when it comes to automobile accidents, where the passengers of a car are protected by a suite of safety mechanisms, while a motorcyclist is prey to everything from the actual impact to additional damage from being thrown from the motorcycle, and hitting the road or other obstacles such as signs or guardrails. The helmet is the one piece of equipment a motorcyclist can wear that makes a huge impact just how serious damage can be in the event of an accident. So if you get into an accident with someone else, and you’re clearly not at fault, can the lack of a helmet have an impact on the outcome of a personal injury case?
In Florida, the answer may be “yes,” and here’s why.
Questions Of Violation
In Florida, helmets are technically required to be worn by all motorcyclists. However, if you’re over the age of 21, and hold medical insurance that covers you for at least $10,000, then you don’t have to wear a helmet. Of course, the police are not going to pull over every single motorcyclist they see on the road and ask them to furnish proof of their insurance coverage, so many riders are tempted to take a chance on this and ride without a helmet anyway.
This has two consequences. Obviously if you get into an accident, your chances of getting a head injury are much higher. However, if you do not have insurance coverage, then that means you are also technically in violation of the law. This means there is a chance in court that you may be accused of contributory negligence, which is to say that you share some of the blame in the injury, and thus cannot sue the other party for the full amount.
Even if you are not breaking the law, do have medical insurance coverage, and do get into an accident that is likely to be the fault of another party, you may not be in the clear. The exact nature of your injuries may also play a role in the success of a lawsuit. For example, if you get into an accident that is not your fault, and suffer minor injuries to your body, but your head is subject to a major impact that results in severe head trauma, you may still be in trouble.
A defense lawyer for the person you are suing could argue that had you simply worn a helmet, the injury that you are attempting to sue for, namely the head injury, could have been avoided entirely. The party being sued can claim they may be responsible for the minor abrasions and injuries you suffered, but your head trauma is your fault, not the fault of the being people being sued, since that’s one area you could protect, but deliberately chose not to.