The state of Florida does not require motorcycle drivers or riders over the age of 21 to wear helmets. In fact, the only legal equipment requirement is to wear approved protective eye wear (Fla. Stat. §316.211(2)(b)). However, in motorcycle injury cases, defense attorneys generally claim motorcycle riders bear some fault for their injuries if they were not wearing a helmet.
Generally, motorcyclists are the persons most exposed to injury on the roadway. So, wearing a helmet is of the utmost importance for safety. In most of the hundreds of motorcycle cases our firm has handled, when the motorcyclist was wearing a helmet there was usually some indication that the helmet helped save the person’s life or, at least, prevented serious brain damage. For these reasons, the importance of wearing a helmet when riding on a motorcycle cannot be overemphasized.
When a motorcyclist, who was injured in an accident, was not wearing a helmet the insurance company’s attorneys will often argue that helmets are readily available, and will try to prove that the person’s injury would have been greatly reduced had the motorcyclist been wearing a helmet. While wearing a helmet does not guarantee an injury will not happen, the jury’s damages award will often be reduced by 20-80% if they find it could have been avoided or not occurred if a helmet was worn. For example, if the verdict was $1 million, it could be reduced to $500,000 to $200,000. The amount the jury awards likely will be reduced significantly by their perception that you were partially at fault for your injuries by not wearing a helmet (“comparative fault”).
While not all juries in motorcycle cases find comparative fault, increasingly juries are finding that even though it is not legally required to wear a helmet, it is a basic safety principle that all motorcyclists should observe.
At the law firm of Christopher Ligori and Associates we strongly advise that everyone wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle. If you didn’t wear a helmet and were in a crash where you were not at fault, you still have rights. Please call us at 877-444-2929 to learn more.