No one is immune to being injured in an accident on the road. Drivers of all vehicles—from trucks to motorcycles and everything in between—suffer approximately three million injuries each year in the United States. However, the more safety features and protections you have in and around your vehicle, the safer you can be. That same logic applies to motorcyclists who fail to wear their helmets on the road.
Because the risk of injury for riders without a helmet is so high, you may wonder if you’re still allowed to pursue a personal injury claim against another driver after an accident. From Pennsylvania’s helmet laws to its modified comparative fault regulations, here’s everything you need to know.
Wearing a Helmet Reduces the Chance of Serious Injury Following a Motorcycle Accident in Pennsylvania
Motorcycles don’t offer the same safety features that passenger cars do. There are no seatbelts, airbags, or collision warning systems. Perhaps most importantly, motorcyclists don’t have a robust metal cage protecting them, so they must instead rely on helmets and protective riding suits to keep them safe. When even these protections aren’t administered, the chances of suffering a severe or fatal injury increase.
Wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle is similar to wearing a seatbelt in a car. Staying protected will help prevent injuries in the event of an accident, but you may not always remember to take these precautions. Fortunately, those who have been hurt in a motorcycle accident caused by another person’s negligence may still be entitled to compensation with an expert lawyer by their side.
Motorcycle Helmet Laws in Pennsylvania
Helmets have long been known to significantly reduce the risk of injury or death in a motorcycle accident. Because of their effectiveness, 49 states have laws requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets. States vary in their approach, with 28 states requiring only certain types of riders to wear helmets. The only state that doesn’t have a helmet law is New Hampshire.
In Pennsylvania, the law stipulates that any person riding a motorcycle who is under the age of 21 is required to wear a helmet. Anyone over the age of 21 must wear protective headgear unless they have two years of riding experience or have completed a motorcycle safety course approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. A person who is controlling a three-wheeled motorcycle with an enclosed cab is not required to wear protective headgear.
How Helmet Use Affects a Motorcycle Accident Claim in Pennsylvania
Victims of these crashes may think they can’t file an injury claim because they failed to wear a helmet, even if they think another driver is to blame for the accident. On the contrary, riders who have been injured because of another’s negligence can certainly file a personal injury lawsuit and recover the compensation needed to pay off medical bills, lost wages, and any other costs associated with the crash. However, your helmet use—or lack thereof—may affect the extent of the damages recovered depending on the nature of the accident and the injuries associated with the crash.
For example, if you suffered a broken leg in your accident, helmet use probably won’t factor into your lawsuit. It will most likely only come into play in cases involving head or neck injuries.
If you’re suffering this kind of injury, it’s important to understand how Pennsylvania law governs helmet use in motorcycle accident claims. Pennsylvania follows modified comparative fault, which specifies that claimants may recover damages—minus their proportion of fault—as long as they’re not more than 50 percent responsible for the accident and injuries. For example, failing to wear a helmet may be considered comparative negligence if the rider suffered a head injury because it may have contributed to the injury or its severity.
If the defendant alleges that you contributed to your own injuries by breaking the law and not wearing a helmet, they must prove that wearing a helmet reasonably could have prevented the injuries in question. Fortunately, an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer may still be able to help you pursue a case for recovery. To learn more about how helmet use could affect your motorcycle accident claim in Pennsylvania, contact a Montgomery County motorcycle accident attorney today.
Contact an Experienced Motorcycle Injury Lawyer in Montgomery County
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident while not wearing a helmet, you may still have a viable claim. The experienced Pennsylvania personal injury law attorneys at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C., will meet with you one-on-one to discuss your case and any potential obstacles during a free consultation. We’ll outline the facts and circumstances surrounding any impending legal action and will help you determine the most strategic method to compensate you for any lost wages, medical bills, property damage, and psychological trauma associated with the crash.
For nearly 68 years, our attorneys have been serving the legal needs of clients in Montgomery County, Bucks County, Lehigh County, Chester County, Delaware County, and throughout the surrounding areas. We’ve earned the trust and respect of clients facing a wide range of legal problems. Our attorneys serve to protect you and guard your rights. Give us a call at (215) 822-7575 or complete our online contact form today.