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Can I Be Held Liable for a Motorcycle Accident if I Wasn’t Wearing a Helmet?

Can I Be Held Liable For A Motorcycle Accident If I Wasn’t Wearing A Helmet?

 You can hold someone liable for your injuries if they cause an accident that injured you while you’re riding your motorcycle. Not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash can’t be used to prove you were at fault for the accident. You could proceed with a case against the at-fault party and pursue compensation for your medical bills and other expenses.

However, every motorcycle accident is different. The unique circumstances of your case will determine whether the insurance company or defense attorney questions how much liability they should bear for your medical expenses. They could argue that you might have been able to prevent a severe injury if you wore your helmet. This could result in a much lower financial award than you deserve.

Hiring an experienced motorcycle accident attorney immediately after a motorcycle collision is crucial. You need someone to represent you in your insurance claim or lawsuit and try to acquire full and fair compensation.

Virginia Helmet Laws for Motorcyclists

Virginia Code § 46.2-910 requires all motorcyclists to follow these rules:

  • Wear a protective helmet
  • Equip the motorcycle with safety glass or a windshield while riding
  • Wear safety goggles or glasses or a face shield

 Any passenger on a motorcycle must also wear a protective helmet.

The American National Standards Institute, Inc., the Snell Memorial Foundation, and the Federal Department of Transportation set standards for protective gear worn by motorcyclists. All helmets, face shields, and safety glasses or goggles must meet these standards and specifications.

Wearing a protective helmet isn’t a legal requirement for a person who rides or operates a motorcycle containing wheels eight inches or less in diameter or an enclosed body, windshield, or nonremovable roof.

The Impact of the Pure Comparative Negligence Doctrine on Compensation

A helmet is effective in protecting a motorcyclist’s head during an accident. Whether the rider hits their head on the ground, another vehicle, or flying debris, the helmet can soften the blow and force of the impact. However, it can’t entirely prevent injuries. A motorcyclist could still suffer a traumatic brain injury while wearing a helmet, but it would likely be less severe than if they didn’t wear one.

Wearing a motorcycle helmet could improve a person’s chance of recovering financial compensation from another driver after an accident. State law doesn’t hold riders liable for not wearing helmets. However, the court could assign partial fault to the rider for the injury they sustained for engaging in other careless actions, such as speeding or distracted driving.

Virginia ascribes to the pure contributory negligence doctrine. That means even if the motorcyclist is only one percent responsible for causing the crash, state law could prohibit them from seeking compensation from the other party.

An example of how pure contributory negligence works is this. Suppose the court assigns 90 percent fault to a driver who is under the influence of alcohol, and the court also determines the motorcyclist is ten percent at fault for running a red light. Despite sharing less responsibility than the drunk driver, the motorcyclist isn’t allowed any financial recovery from the driver.

Contact Us

 We have represented injured clients for over 40 years at Whitestone Young, PC. Our reputation and track record of success speak for themselves. Several of the lawyers on our team hold an AV® Preeminent™ rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating possible.

Our motorcycle accident attorneys in Fairfax, VA, understand the financial strain of a motorcycle crash. We don’t want to burden you with upfront fees or costs. For that reason, we take cases on contingency. You won’t have to pay us unless we secure compensation for you.

If you sustained an injury in a motorcycle accident due to someone else’s negligence, call Whitestone Young, PC, for your free consultation today at 703-591-0200 or contact us online.

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