Cranwell & Moore P.L.C., Attorneys at Law

Lack of helmet use can complicate an accident victim's recovery

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As most motor vehicle operators in Virginia know, a helmet protects a motorcyclist's most important organ -- the brain. In the event of an accident, a helmet can help protect the brain from severe injuries. In fact, all motorcycle riders in Virginia are required to wear a helmet that meets specifications cited in Virginia Statutes 46.2-910.

Even understanding both the legal requirements and the protections that helmets offer, some people still choose to ride without helmets, often believing they are exercising a right to be free. What many do not know, however, is that not wearing a helmet can mean that a motorcyclist will have a much harder time recovering compensation from another motorist if the motorcyclist is injured in an accident. Given the serious nature of head and brain injuries and the time and expense of treating them, this can turn out to be a devastating mistake.

In a typical personal injury case that follows a motorcycle accident in which the motorcyclist was not wearing a helmet, the defendant's lawyer will raise the fact that the injured party was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. This lack of protection, the attorney will argue, made the injuries more severe. If the defendant can successfully establish this fact in court, then an injured motorcyclist's legal recovery may be denied or drastically reduced based on Virginia's view of contributory negligence.

Although mandatory helmet laws and contributory negligence may affect the recovery of damages, not wearing a helmet does not completely rule out the possibility of obtaining compensation for injuries sustained in an accident. A personal injury claim in such circumstances, however, is usually more complicated. Thankfully, experienced personal injury attorneys are available to help victims find the best way to proceed with a claim.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Helmet Laws and Motorcycle Accident Cases," Accessed on June 4, 2015

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