Motorcycle riders often face more dangers than other road users. Not every driver knows how to take precautions when sharing the road with motorcyclists and this can lead to accidents in which motorcycle riders are seriously injured or killed. Sometimes however, accidents can be caused by the actions of the riders, and if the rider gets injured, he may wonder how this can affect his chances at seeking compensation. Motorcycle riders can especially be worried if they were not in compliance with a law or regulation at the time of the accident.
One common area of concern for riders is a failure to wear protective riding gear. For example, motorcycle riders in Florida are required to wear helmets, which meet certain federal standards, if they are under the age of 21 years. For riders over the age of 21, wearing a helmet is optional if a person is covered by an insurance policy that would pay a minimum of ten thousand dollars in medical benefits if the rider is in an accident. Because the law is set up in this way, for most riders, wearing a helmet is often a personal choice.
While failing to wear a helmet is a non-criminal traffic offense, in a civil lawsuit, it can be used as evidence that the rider was responsible for their injuries. Such evidence can be introduced if the person suffers injuries that could have been avoided or mitigated if the person was wearing a helmet. So if a person suffers a head or neck injury, the failure to wear the proper helmet can be used to argue that the rider should not receive full compensation for his injuries. However, if the person’s legs or arms are injured, chances are evidence that the person was not wearing a helmet will not affect his ability to recover full compensation for their injuries.
Other motorcycle laws that prohibit off road motorcycles on major highways, or criminal ones that prohibit behavior like drinking while riding, can have different effects on a civil lawsuit seeking compensation for injuries sustained in an accident. Some of these laws could also lead to criminal charges and convictions for the rider. However, the basic rule remains the same. Generally, evidence of a rider breaking a law or regulation can be used against a rider if it is relevant to the injury the rider suffered. This does not stop insurance companies from trying to use even minor violations as reasons not to fairly compensate injured riders.
Let Us Help You
Riding a motorcycle can be an exhilarating experience; however, if a rider does not take proper precautions, he could get injured or killed. However, just because a rider may have been in violation of a noncriminal traffic violation at the time of the accident does not mean that he cannot receive compensation. Before you abandon a claim for compensation, or settle with an insurance company, contact an experienced personal injury attorney with experience handling motorcycle accident injury cases. Contact Vocelle & Berg, LLP, in Vero Beach, Florida for a free consultation.