Helmet use among motorcyclists has significantly decreased from 2019 to 2020. In Florida, riders over the age of 21 do not have to wear a helmet as long as they carry at least $10,000 in medical insurance coverage. However, even though the law doesn’t require all motorcycle riders to wear helmets, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.
If you or someone you love has been involved in a motorcycle accident, contact the motorcycle accident attorneys in West Palm Beach for a free case evaluation.
Increased Risk of Injury and Death
Not only are motorcyclists more likely to be involved in an accident than someone driving a car, but they are also approximately 29 times more likely to be killed and four times more likely to be injured. Riding a motorcycle is even more dangerous if you do so without wearing a helmet. The federal government estimates that unhelmeted riders are three times more likely to sustain a brain injury in a collision. A study published online in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons also discovered that riders without a helmet are 22 percent more likely to suffer a cervical spine injury, which can result in paralysis.
Why Riders Should Wear Helmets
Although helmets are not a “cure-all” for motorcycle safety, public health researchers estimate that wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of being killed in an accident by nearly 42 percent for motorcycle passengers and 37 percent for operators. Other key findings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) include:
- In states that do not have universal helmet laws, such as Florida, 57 percent of the motorcyclists killed in 2019 did not have helmets. Compared to the 9 percent in states with universal helmet laws.
- Approximately 749 lives could have been saved in 2017 if all motorcyclists had worn helmets. 1,872 motorcyclist’s lives were estimated to have been saved because of helmets.
- 51% of riders killed in Florida motorcycle accidents in 2019 were not wearing helmets.
- Results from the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS) show that the overall rate of DOT-compliant motorcycle helmet use nationwide was 70.8% in 2019.
In addition to dramatically decreasing the risk of fatalities, helmets can also assist in preventing severe and permanently debilitating injuries, such as:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injuries
- Skull and facial fractures
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Damage to the ears and eyes
- Dental injuries
Choosing a helmet that meets minimum safety standards is also critical. The way to find a reliable and well-made helmet is to look for the DOT on it. A DOT-approved helmet means it legally meets the NHTSA’s set of standards created to ensure helmets provide an acceptable level of protection.
The Impact of Helmets on Liability
Being involved in a motorcycle accident without wearing a helmet can also impact your injury claim. Even if the law doesn’t require you to wear one, the at-fault party’s insurance company can blame the severity or cause of your injuries on your negligence for failing to wear a helmet. As a result, it can be extremely challenging to recover a full and fair settlement. Florida courts follow the rule of pure comparative negligence, which reduces each party’s compensation based on their percentage of fault. For example, if you are awarded $100,000 but found 80 percent to blame for not wearing a helmet, you will only recover 20% or $20,000.
Discuss Your Case With a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, protect your right to compensation and schedule a free consultation with LaBovick Law Group. Call (561) 623-3681 or contact us online today.