The most important protective gear that anyone who gets on a motorcycle — as the operator or passenger — can wear is a helmet. The chances of suffering a brain injury in a motorcycle crash triple when a person isn’t wearing a helmet.
Many states have mandatory helmet laws. However, Kentucky repealed its universal helmet law more than two decades ago. Currently, only those who are under 21 or have had their motorcycle license for under a year are required by law to wear a helmet.
Of course, many people wear helmets even when they’re not required by law simply because they lessen the chances of suffering a serious brain injury. However, what if a person who isn’t wearing a helmet is injured in a crash caused by someone else? Does that impact their ability to seek compensation from the at-fault driver (or motorcyclist) for medical bills and other expenses?
In any personal injury suit, the court or jury is going to look at whether the plaintiff’s own negligence was responsible for the crash and/or their injuries. Their “contributory negligence” could significantly impact how much, if any, money they can be rewarded. However, if a person suffered severe injuries because they weren’t wearing a helmet, but did nothing to cause the crash itself, they might still be able to recover some money in a lawsuit.
Regardless of a state’s helmet laws — or absence of them — if a person’s injuries can be shown to be more serious because they weren’t wearing a helmet than if they had been, that can be considered a factor in determining how much money they can recover in a personal injury lawsuit. If your leg was crushed in an accident, for example, whether or not you were wearing a helmet is probably irrelevant. If you suffered a brain injury, however, it would be.
Wearing a helmet every time you get on a motorcycle is certainly advisable. However, if you were injured in a crash caused by another motorist, you still have a right to seek compensation to cover your expenses and damages. An experienced attorney can offer advice and assistance.