Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

Full Bio →

Written by

UPDATED: Jun 19, 2018

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.

In a motorcycle accident claim, the limitations on damages for failure to wear a helmet will vary depending on several factors, such as the state’s motorcycle helmet laws, the type of injury, and the fault of the injured party. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, consult an experienced attorney with questions about how your state’s motorcycle helmet laws affect an injury claim.

How Neglecting to Wear a Helmet Affects Motorcycle Injury Claims

There are a number of scenarios involving helmet laws and head injuries to consider when estimating motorcycle accident damages. The following take into account the type of injury and the state law on motorcycle helmets:

  • No Head Injury:  If you did not sustain head or neck injuries, then whether or not you wore a helmet would not be relevant to your injury claim. However, the act of wearing the helmet may show that you are a responsible motorcyclist, which could be favorable to you in the eyes of the party deciding fault. State law does not alter this scenario.
  • Helmet and Head Injury:  Your motorcycle injury claim is better supported if you were wearing a helmet and suffered a head or neck injury. Wearing a helmet reduces the chance that you will be considered comparatively negligent, or partially at fault, for the severity of your injuries. Insurance companies and opposing attorneys can still argue you contributed to your injuries, but the fact that you wore a helmet makes it harder to prove you were partially at fault.  State law does not alter this scenario.
  • No Helmet Law, No Helmet, Head Injury:  If at the time of the accident you were not wearing a helmet and you sustained head and neck injuries, it may be difficult to recover damages. The argument will be that your failure to wear a helmet contributed to the severity of your head and neck injuries. In legal terms, you may be found to be contributorily negligent, which essentially means that you are partially responsible for the type of injuries that you sustained. 
  • Helmet Law, No Helmet, Head Injury:  If you were not wearing a helmet in violation of your state’s motorcycle helmet law, then it is very difficult to receive compensation for head or neck injuries because, by law, your negligence contributed to the injuries. You may still file a motorcycle accident claim for other injuries, but should not expect to receive payment for head and neck injuries.

If your negligence contributed to your injuries, the only way to collect compensation is to prove that you would have sustained the same injury if you had been wearing a helmet. This is often very difficult to prove since insurance adjusters have an enormous amount of information supporting the claim that helmets can significantly reduce injuries in the event of an accident.  

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Getting Help from a Motorcycle Accident Attorney

While you may be able to prove that your injuries would be the same had you worn a helmet, this is a difficult burden to overcome and often requires an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. A lawyer will have access to experts that have studied the effects of helmets in accident cases and have testified in court to this issue. With the assistance of an experienced attorney, you are more likely to receive a higher award than if you tried to negotiate with the insurance company on your own.