Whether to wear a helmet is a touchy subject among motorcycle riders, especially among those who value the greater sense of freedom they experience on their bike compared to driving a car. After all, few things match the feeling of the wind in your face as you ride.
At the same time, whether you were wearing a helmet at the time of a collision can significantly affect a motorcycle accident claim. And if you were not, you will need the help of an experienced motorcycle accident attorney.
If you have questions about your rights and potential compensation after a motorcycle accident, a knowledgeable attorney can help. What you need to know about how motorcycle helmets and state helmet laws can affect an injury claim follows.
An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can protect your interests and act as your champion throughout the legal battle.
While specific laws vary across the country, most states have some sort of helmet requirement for motorcycle riders or passengers.
Some states require all riders and passengers to wear helmets at all times, while others only require them for riders or passengers below a certain age (usually 18 or 21). The consequences for failing to follow state helmet laws typically include fines, points on your driver’s license, or increased insurance premiums.
All motorcycle helmets sold in the United States must meet certain safety standards. In most states, helmets must meet standards set by the U.S. Department of Transportation. To give yourself the best possible protection when riding, look for a helmet with a sticker showing it meets Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218.
That same study also showed that over ten years, states with motorcycle helmet laws had a 33 percent lower rate of head-injury-related deaths compared to states without helmet laws.
So, do motorcycle helmets save lives?
Yes, they do, but whether you were wearing one at the time of an accident should not prevent you from getting the money you need afterward.
Unfortunately, many insurance companies view failing to wear a helmet as a form of negligence and may use that fact to deny your claim or reduce your compensation.
If this happens to you, a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer can help you push back and pursue a claim that fairly compensates you for your injuries.
One of the fundamental legal issues in motorcycle accident claims is fault. What you need to know is that an insurance company will try not to pay a claim if they think they can prove that you caused or contributed to your injuries in a collision.
So, how do motorcycle helmets figure into this equation? From an insurance company’s perspective, not wearing a helmet is potentially a violation of state traffic laws (depending on the state) and an unnecessary risk.
From their point of view, your failure to wear a helmet is evidence that you contributed to your own injuries, meaning they should not have to pay for your medical bills and other losses from the crash.
The bottom line: If you were not wearing a helmet during a motorcycle collision, the insurance companies will most likely deny your claim or try to reduce your compensation. However, a capable motorcycle accident lawyer can defend you against an insurer’s unfair assumptions and fight on your behalf for fair compensation.
An insurance company might argue you contributed to your injuries by not wearing a helmet, but that does not make them right. The issue of who caused the crash is separate from your choice to wear a helmet.
If an insurer denies your claim or tries to shift blame for the collision to you, contact an attorney right away. They can gather evidence to support your claim and handle negotiations with the insurance companies while you tend to your injuries.
If you recently sustained injuries in a motorcycle crash, taking proactive steps to safeguard your rights is your top priority. Here’s a guide to help you stay on top of things:
Your health comes first, so see a doctor and follow their advice. Go to all your appointments, even if you start feeling better. Your medical records are key pieces of evidence that show the impact of the accident on your life.
As soon as you can, start a diary. Write down how you feel, the troubles you face every day because of your injuries, and how they affect your daily life. This record can help when you need to remember details later on.
Keep anything that has to do with the accident. This includes photos, clothes you wore, your helmet, and any broken parts from your motorcycle. Furthermore, don’t fix your bike yet — it’s an essential piece of evidence.
You might want to share your story with friends online, but it’s best to stay quiet about the accident. Insurance companies can use what you post against you, even seemingly harmless photos or “I’m okay” comments.
A lawyer with experience in motorcycle accident cases can tell you about your rights and what you should do next. They can also deal with the insurance companies and see that they treat you fairly.
If an insurance company offers you money, don’t agree to anything without first talking to your lawyer. They can help you understand whether the deal is fair and covers the true value of your case.
Remember, these steps can help protect your rights after a motorcycle accident. It’s about looking out for your best interests, both now and in the future.
The proper evidence can make all the difference in a motorcycle accident claim.
So, what do you need?
These are some must-have types of evidence for your case:
The police report from the accident can help show what happened, the vehicles and drivers involved, and (in some cases) who the officer thinks caused the collision.
Your helmet and gear can tell a lot about the crash. Keep them in the same condition as right after the accident.
Snapshots of the accident scene, your injuries, and any damage to your bike or gear can help you tell your story.
People who saw the accident can give statements about what they saw. Their words can support your claim, especially if they don’t have a stake in your case’s outcome.
Medical records help link your injuries to the accident. They show what injuries you received, the treatment you needed, and how the whole experience affected your health.
Estimates for fixing your bike can show how bad the damage was. They help prove the crash’s impact and the costs you incurred because of it.
If any traffic or dashboard cameras recorded the collision, they can provide real-time evidence of the crash.
What you experienced and felt during and after the accident matters, too. Your story is your personal view of the accident and its effects on your life.
Collecting all this evidence gives you a strong foundation for your motorcycle accident claim. It can help paint a clear picture of what happened and point to the truth about who should pay for your injuries.
Motorcycle accidents are complex issues in personal injury law, so we put together a list of the most common questions we receive about these cases and their answers:
Most motorcycle accident lawyers work on a contingency basis. In plain English, that means they don’t collect any fees unless they recover compensation for you.
This fee arrangement allows everyone to afford high-quality legal representation, even if they have few financial resources, because there are no upfront fee payments required.
Every state has its own laws regarding how long you have to file a lawsuit after an accident. While you must file a lawsuit within two years of the accident in most states, some states give you three or four years, while the deadline in other states is only one year.
Furthermore, the timeline can vary depending on who you wish to sue. For example, most states require you to file a notice of intent to file a claim within six months if you want to sue a government agency. The bottom line is to speak with an attorney as soon as possible after an accident to avoid any issues with the filing deadline in your state.
The amount you can recover through a motorcycle accident claim depends on your injuries, financial losses, and other factors.
While every claim differs, an experienced and dedicated personal injury attorney can help you pursue compensation for a wide range of losses related to the accident, including:
The amount of time it takes for a motorcycle accident case to conclude depends on several factors, such as:
In general, it takes several weeks or months before a motorcycle accident case ends. If your case goes to trial, it could take more than a year to conclude. The right legal team can make this process faster and much easier.
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