Texas has a very lax helmet law for motorcyclists: only those riders ages 20 and under are required to wear a helmet while riding. Nonetheless, the absence of a helmet is often used as a defense in a motorcycle accident claim, with the at-fault party claiming that the motorcyclist should have been helmeted. If you’re the rider in a motorcycle accident not wearing a helmet, it’s likely that you feel frustrated and worried about recovering damages.
How Fault is Determined in a Motorcycle Accident Claim
In Texas, drivers handle paying for the accidents that they cause. Therefore, the party who was operating his or her motor vehicle irresponsibly, negligently, or carelessly at the time of the crash is the party who is considered to be at fault. It’s rare that the use of a helmet contributes to the blame.
Typically, these behaviors cause crashes.
- Drinking and driving
- Distracted driving
If the other driver’s action caused the crash, then the other driver’s insurance is liable for paying damages.
Considering Motorcyclist’s Injuries
Besides fault, the other thing that will be examined in a motorcycle accident claim for damages is the type of, and extent of, injuries incurred. Assuming that the injuries suffered by the motorcyclist are not injuries that could have been prevented or reduced by the use of a helmet—such as a burn—it’s unlikely that damages will be reduced because the motorcyclist wasn’t helmeted.
However, if the damages sustained may have been reduced by the use of the helmet—like a traumatic brain injury—then the insurance company may try to argue that the motorcyclist knew or should have known of the inherent dangers of riding un-helmeted.
Because of this, the insurance may furthermore attempt to argue that the motorcyclist’s recoverable damages should be reduced by the motorcyclist’s proportion of fault for the injuries.
Building a Case with the Help of an Attorney
If you weren’t violating the law at the time of your motorcycle accident, you shouldn’t be penalized for your injuries. At the Law Office of Julie Johnson PLLC, we can help you to prove that your lack of helmet was in no way related to the cause of your accident, nor should it be held against you in recovering damages.
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