Yes, even if you were not wearing a helmet at the time of a motorcycle accident in Florida, in many cases you may still file a claim and be eligible to recover compensation for your injuries. However, not wearing a helmet may result in reduced compensation for your head or facial injuries.
All claims are different. We counsel anyone who has been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by another driver in Palm Coast or Ormond Beach to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney. The motorcycle accident attorneys at Chiumento Dwyer Hertel Grant have been helping injured motorcyclists recover compensation for 40 years. Contact us at (386) 445-8900 or through our website for a free initial consultation about your legal options.
The question about how the lack of a motorcycle helmet may affect a motorcycle accident claim arises often. In Florida, a motorcyclist who is 21 or older may ride without a helmet if the rider has at least $10,000 in medical insurance coverage. An accident claim is based on fault. The presence or lack of a helmet has no bearing on who was at fault for a motorcycle accident.
However, Florida’s reliance on the doctrine of “comparative negligence” in accident claims may be used by insurance companies to reduce compensation paid out to motorcyclists who don’t wear helmets and suffer injuries in crashes.
How much compensation can I receive from a no-helmet motorcycle accident claim?
It is not possible to predict with accuracy what a motorcyclist may recover from an accident claim beforehand. You should not trust anyone who guarantees that your motorcycle injury claim is worth a certain amount of money. In a personal injury claim in Florida, you may seek compensation for various losses, including the costs of:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
However, Florida is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that the injured person in a personal injury lawsuit will have their compensation reduced by the amount of fault that a jury says they bear for the accident. This is expressed as a percentage – 10%, 40%, 75% – and any damages the jury awards are reduced by that much.
If the plaintiff in a claim suffered head and brain injuries in a motorcycle accident and was not wearing a helmet, the jury could decide the motorcyclist was partially to blame for their injuries. If, however, the motorcyclist suffered a broken leg, the lack of a helmet would not be an issue and would not provide a reason to reduce damages.
Is there a helmet law in Florida? Do you have to wear one?
Yes, Florida does have a helmet law at Chapter 316.211 of the Florida Statutes. It requires motorcyclists either to wear a helmet or have at least $10,000 in medical insurance to cover injuries in a motorcycle crash if they wish to ride without a helmet.
A rider’s helmet should comply with the performance standards in Federal Motorcycle Vehicle Safety Standard 218, which is what any reputable motorcycle shop will sell you. Look for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) symbol on the back of the helmet.
In 2000, Florida legislators amended the law to create an exemption for adults who don’t want to wear a helmet.
To legally ride a motorcycle without a helmet in Florida, you must be 21 years old or older and be covered by an insurance policy providing at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries incurred as a result of a crash while operating or riding on a motorcycle.
Are motorcycle helmets really effective protection in a motorcycle accident?
All indications are that wearing a motorcycle helmet is a good way to protect yourself should you happen to be in an accident.
The nonprofit Motorcycle Safety Foundation says, “Helmet effectiveness has been confirmed by scientific studies, while helmet myths – ‘helmets break necks, block vision and impair hearing’ – have been consistently disproved. Safety-conscious riders wear helmets as a sensible, responsible choice every time they ride.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says, “Research indicates that helmets reduce motorcycle rider fatalities by 22 to 42 percent and brain injuries by 41 to 69 percent.”
The CDC said that higher-quality studies indicated that the protective effect of helmets was about a 42 percent reduction in risk of death and 69 percent reduction in the risk of a head injury in a motorcycle crash.
The federal government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that in a serious motorcycle crash, the best hope a rider has of protecting his or her brain is a motorcycle helmet.”
In Florida in 2018, there were 574 motorcyclists killed in crashes, the highest number of any states. Fifty-one percent of the riders killed were not wearing helmets, and many would have survived if they had had head protection.
How can a motorcycle accident lawyer help me after a collision?
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by someone else’s carelessness or negligence, you may be eligible to pursue a claim against the at-fault driver for the economic and noneconomic damages you suffered as a result of the accident. In addition to building a case for compensation, a lawyer will push back against attempts by insurance companies to shift the blame and put unwarranted blame on you to reduce or eliminate an insurance payout.
A Florida motorcycle accident lawyer from Chiumento Dwyer Hertel Grant will protect your rights and pursue justice for you in the form of an insurance payout for injuries and other losses you have suffered. We will be advocates for you.
Call our Palm Coast law firm at (386) 445-8900 or contact us using our online form to arrange for a free consultation with an experienced Florida personal injury lawyer. We represent clients on a contingency fee basis. If we aren’t successful in securing money for you, you don’t owe us a fee. An initial consultation involves no obligation. Call us today.