Can Not Wearing a Helmet Affect Your Compensation After a Motorcycle Accident?
Motorcycle riders in the state of Florida may be wondering what their legal obligations are when it comes to helmet use. In many states, helmets are mandatory for all motorcycle riders and passengers, but is this the case in Florida? Let’s take a closer look at this issue and discuss whether or not the fact that you were not wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle will reduce your recoverable damages.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle collision while not wearing a helmet, contact our lawyers at Leifer & Ramirez. Our Boca Raton motorcycle accident lawyers can help protect your rights when filing a claim for compensation and ensure that you are fairly compensated for your injuries and losses.
Helmet Laws in Florida
In Florida, anyone over the age of 21 with medical insurance coverage is not required to wear a helmet while operating or riding as a passenger on a motorcycle (Florida Statutes § 316.211). However, those under 21 years of age are still required to wear an approved DOT-certified helmet when riding on public roads. Additionally, any rider over 21 must have $10,000 worth of personal injury protection insurance before being legally allowed to ride without a helmet.
However, even if you are not legally required to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle, it is still best to wear one for your own safety. Not wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle is a serious safety hazard that contributes to the risk of injury in an accident. Unprotected riders are more likely to suffer from traumatic brain injuries, facial lacerations, scrapes and bruises, fractures, spinal cord damage, and other potentially catastrophic results.
The Effect on Damages in a Personal Injury Claim
Florida is one of many “comparative fault” states when it comes to recovering damages from an accident—meaning that claimants can still receive compensation for injuries sustained even if they were partially responsible for causing them. This means that if you were found partially at fault for an accident because you were not wearing a helmet, but it was determined that another party (such as another driver) was more at fault than you were, then you can still receive some compensation for your injuries under comparative fault laws. The percentage of negligence attributed to each party will determine how much compensation each party will receive from the other(s).
Prior to 2023, you could pursue a claim for a motorcycle injury even if you year at fault for the most (but not all) of your own crash. However, on March 24th, 2023, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a transformative tort reform package called House Bill (HB) 837) into law. The legislation turns Florida into a modified comparative negligence jurisdiction. Under the new law, you cannot recover compensation from a defendant if you are 51 percent (or more) responsible for your own accident. It applies to the full range of negligence cases, including motorcycle accidents.
Discuss Your Case with a Lawyer
Not wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle could potentially affect your compensation. If you’re found partially at fault due to not wearing headgear during an accident, but another party is deemed more responsible than you were by comparison, then comparative fault laws should allow you to receive some financial compensation for your injuries sustained during the collision.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident but were not wearing a helmet, you might want to discuss the facts of your unique case with a knowledgeable attorney. Contact our lawyers at Leifer & Ramirez to get a free consultation. Call 561-660-9421.
We serve clients throughout the state of Florida, including Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Pompano Beach, Deerfield Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach.