How Does the Use of a Helmet Impact an Injury Claim After a Motorcycle Accident?
It is mandatory in Virginia for motorcycle riders to wear protective helmets. Helmets can be crucial in preventing traumatic brain injury (TBI), and possibly, spinal cord injury (SCI). However, they cannot effectively prevent other types of injuries that involve other areas of a motorcycle rider’s body when a crash occurs.
In case you experienced severe injuries or lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident due to the negligence of another person, it can be vital for you to get legal assistance at the earliest.
Mandatory Motorcycle Helmet Laws in Virginia
According to Virginia law, any individual riding a motorcycle is required to wear a face shield as well as goggles or safety glasses, or have their bike fitted with a windshield or safety glass. All motorcyclists and passengers must wear protective helmets as well.
The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires motorcyclists and passengers to wear a helmet that at least meets the standards and specs of the Snell Memorial Foundation, the US Department of Transportation (DOT), or the American National Standards Institute.
The Use of Helmets in Virginia and Contributory Negligence
In Virginia, the rule of contributory negligence is applicable. According to this negligence theory, if the victim is a contributing factor to their injuries, even in the slightest, they cannot recover compensation for their injuries.
This aspect is especially relevant to motorcycle operators. The law states that if any action that you took as a motorcycle rider contributed even one percent to your collision or injuries, you are not entitled to hold the other party accountable, even if it was 99 percent their fault.
Motorcycle operators usually have questions about whether they need to wear a helmet when riding in Virginia. Wearing a helmet when riding a motorcycle is mandatory under Virginia law. It’s also essential to remember that the failure to wear a helmet could significantly affect your chances to recover compensation (due to the rule of contributory negligence) if you experience an accident and suffer from brain or head trauma.
The inability to wear a helmet could impact your claim for damages following an accident in Virginia. Insurers may contend that a motorcycle rider who failed to wear a helmet contributed to or even lead to their own injuries. The insurance company may try to use this argument to deny your claim.
Does wearing a helmet matter if I did not suffer from a head injury?
If a motorcyclist does not suffer neck or head injuries, then wearing a helmet or not should not affect liability. For example, if you injured your leg or suffered from a back injury, the inability to wear a helmet would not have altered the outcome. In such cases, helmet use is technically not relevant.
However, even if the inability to use a helmet defense may not be applicable, it does not prevent the insurer or the other party’s lawyer from using it against you. It will be necessary for you to provide medical proof that supports your stand and indicates that the use of a helmet would not have changed the outcome of the crash for you.
Advantages of Wearing a Helmet in a Motorcycle Accident
The DMV reports that a motorcyclist who is not wearing a helmet has a 40 percent higher chance of suffering fatal head trauma than one wearing a helmet. Furthermore, the DMV states that helmets are nearly 29 percent effective in the prevention of motorcycle fatalities and approximately 67 percent effective in the prevention of TBIs.
Helmets create an insulated cushion around the skull of the motorcyclist. In case a motorcycle rider is thrown off their vehicle for any reason, this protection means the difference between life and death. A motorcycle rider can strike an object or even hit the ground with massive force. A helmet will reduce the impact of such falls on an individual’s head and brain as well as their spine and neck.
In the absence of helmets, motorcyclists risk suffering from devastating injuries in an accident. Other than TBI, many accident victims experience spinal cord injuries that can cause potential paralysis.
Evidence for Helmet Usage Arguments
If you have been hurt or lost someone you love in a motorcycle crash in Virginia, an experienced lawyer at Buck, Toscano & Tereskerz Ltd. can undertake an in-depth investigation of the accident, determine your damages, and offer robust legal representation in all settlement negotiations with an insurer.
In order to fight arguments that your failure to wear a helmet impacted the severity of your injuries, you will require substantial evidence. A medical expert’s testimony and your medical records are two of the most vital pieces of evidence in such cases.
A qualified attorney at Buck, Toscano & Tereskerz Ltd. can help you compile and present this crucial evidence. For a free case review, contact us at (434) 977-7977 or message us online.