Can I File a Motorcycle Accident Claim Even If I Wasn’t Wearing a Helmet?
If you were recently hurt in a motorcycle accident but you weren’t wearing a helmet at the time, you’re probably wondering whether you’re still entitled to compensation for the associated damages. After all, even if you didn’t contribute to the crash, the resulting injuries might not have been as severe had you been wearing adequate safety gear.
Since every claim is unique, there’s no universal rule that applies to plaintiffs who weren’t wearing helmets. There are, however, a few general rules that will likely influence the outcome of your case. Read on to learn more about such rules so you have some idea of what to expect should you choose to take action:
If You Sustained a Head Injury or Suffered Facial Trauma
Personal injury claimants must take reasonable measures to mitigate damages. Since riding a motorcycle carries an assumption of risk, that means donning appropriate safety gear every time you hop on your hog.
If you opt to forego the helmet and you end up in a wreck, you could be deemed partially liable for the severity of any head injuries or facial wounds—even if you didn’t actually contribute to the crash. As long as the defendant can prove that you wouldn’t have incurred nearly as much in damages had you been wearing a helmet, they can shift at least some blame your way. This, in turn, will reduce the total compensation to which you’re entitled.
Under Florida’s pure comparative fault rule, a personal injury payout must be diminished by the plaintiff’s own percentage of fault. That means if you incur $100,000 in recoverable damages but the defendant presents sufficient evidence that wearing a helmet would’ve prevented roughly 25 percent of your injuries, you may only seek up to $75,000.
If You Did Not Sustain a Head Injury or Any Facial Trauma
If your claim does not include any damages stemming from a head injury or facial wound, the fact that you weren’t wearing a helmet at the time of the accident shouldn’t affect its outcome. There are, however, several other factors that could influence the total compensation to which you’re entitled. Examples include:
- The liable party’s total available insurance coverage;
- The role—if any—that you played in the wreck;
- The severity of the injuries you did sustain;
- The extent of your non-economic damages;
- Whether you’re able to return to work upon reaching maximum medical improvement; and
- The strength of the evidence you present.
The circumstances surrounding the crash will also impact the potential payout. For example, if the defendant’s conduct constituted intentional misconduct or gross negligence, you may be entitled to a punitive award in addition to the standard compensatory damages.
Discuss Your Case with a Motorcycle Accident Attorney in West Palm Beach
If you’re recovering from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident, turn to Donaldson & Weston. Our compassionate team has counseled more than 10,000 clients.
From the moment you call our firm to the day your claim is resolved, you can be sure you’ll be treated with the utmost respect and professionalism. Call 561-299-3999 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation with a motorcycle accident lawyer in West Palm Beach.