Can I Claim Compensation if I Wasn’t Wearing a Helmet During Motorcycle Crash?
Motorcycle riders and their passengers are required to wear helmets under Virginia law. If you were in an accident as a motorcycle rider or passenger and you were not wearing a helmet you may still consider pursuing a claim for compensation if the crash was not your fault.
Even though not wearing a helmet is against Virginia law, it doesn’t mean you can’t pursue compensation for your losses. But proving that you are not at least partially at fault for your injuries might be challenging.
Liability for Motorcycle Accidents
Helmets are approximately 29% effective in preventing motorcycle fatalities and about 67% effective in preventing traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), according to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. A motorcyclist who is not wearing a helmet is 40% more likely to have a fatal head injury.
Sometimes, whether you were wearing a helmet at the time of the crash will not have an impact on your injury claim. What it comes down to is whether or not you sustained a head injury. For instance, if you were not wearing a helmet and you suffered an arm injury, it would be difficult for the other side to argue that wearing a helmet would have prevented you from being hurt.
In Virginia, a driver who causes a motorcycle accident through their negligence or recklessness is responsible for compensating victims for their injuries. Virginia follows the contributory negligence rule in personal injury cases. This means that a plaintiff who is even partly responsible for the accident that caused their injuries would be precluded from recovering compensation from the other at-fault party. If, for example, you were found to be 5% at fault for the crash and the other party was 95% at fault, you would be barred from recovering compensation.
Fortunately, Virginia has a “last clear chance” doctrine that opens the door for plaintiffs who bear some responsibility for the accident to recover compensation. This doctrine establishes that the plaintiff could recover if the negligent defendant had the last opportunity to avoid the accident and failed to do so.
The other party’s insurance company will likely try to claim that your actions contributed to the crash. Because insurance companies are for-profit entities, their goal will always be to pay as little as possible for injury claims to save the company and its shareholders money.
Don’t let the insurance company get away with it. You need a skilled and knowledgeable Virginia motorcycle accident lawyer to protect your rights and set the record straight.
An attorney will thoroughly investigate what happened and determine that, even if you were not wearing a helmet while riding your motorcycle, you were not at fault for the crash, and the other driver is liable.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Some of the most common injuries suffered in motorcycle accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Back injuries
- Neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Road rash
- Cuts, bruises, and abrasions
- Lower-extremity injuries
- Internal bleeding
A biker is at risk of suffering severe head injuries, traumatic brain injuries, facial fractures, dental injuries and other similar harm if they are not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. Many of the other injuries listed here would likely occur whether or not someone was wearing a helmet.
If you suffered an injury in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you have the right to seek fair compensation, even if you weren’t wearing a helmet as required by Virginia law.
Contact a Virginia Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident where you were not wearing a helmet and sustained injuries, Whitestone Young, PC can help. We have successfully represented motorcycle accident victims just like you throughout Virginia. Our Fairfax motorcycle accident attorneys will be ready to discuss your crash and how we can help you during a 100% free consultation.
Contact us by calling (703) 912-0487 or by reaching out to us online. We’ll be ready to help you seek the fair compensation you’re owed.