Young adults from ages 15-44 account for over half of all road traffic deaths, and motorcycle riders make up a significant portion of that number. Fortunately, helmets prevent an estimated 37% and 41% of crash deaths among motorcycle riders and passengers, respectively.
Wearing a helmet can also make a difference for riders when they need to bring a claim to court after an accident. The best personal injury lawyer for motorcycle crashes is usually an auto accident attorney or motorcycle accident lawyer who specializes in motorcycles, since each state has different laws surrounding motorcycle crash claims and helmets.
Though helmet laws that affect recovery claims differ from state to state, your motorcycle accident attorney will probably outline some variation of the following possibilities.
•Helmet On, No Head or Neck Injury
If you were wearing a helmet but it didn't affect your injuries in a significant way, the helmet is unlikely to play a role in your case. However, your accident attorney may suggest that you mention your helmet since it shows that you were being responsible.
•Helmet Off, No Head or Neck Injury
Again, if your head and neck were uninjured, the law generally will overlook helmet use (or lack thereof). This is true even if your state requires helmet use.
•Helmet On, With Head or Neck Injury
If you were wearing a helmet and you still injured your head or neck in the accident, your motorcycle accident lawyer will likely advise bringing it up in court, because it proves that you took the proper precautions to prevent the injuries you sustained.
•Helmet Off, With Head or Neck Injury
You may limit your recovery claim if you suffered head or neck injuries while not wearing a helmet, even if state law doesn't require you to wear one. If the lack of helmet played a key role in your injuries, it will be difficult to prove that your own negligence didn't cause your injuries. It's even more difficult in a state where helmets are required by law.
The state of Missouri requires all motorcyclists to wear a safety helmet pursuant to M.R.S. Section 302.020, 2. The state of Illinois does not require safety helmets. The American Motorcyclist Association provides an excellent state-by-state breakdown of helmet laws.
Road crashes cost the U.S. approximately $230.6 billion every year, which breaks down to about $820 per person. If you want to avoid paying for your injuries after a crash, you'll stand your best chance if you were wearing a helmet.