Virginia requires motorcyclists to wear protective helmets, which can prove essential in preventing traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the event of a collision or fall. If you or a loved one experienced severe head or other injuries, or you lost a loved one as a result of a motorcycle collision, obtaining legal assistance from a motorcycle injury lawyer in Southwest VA right away is imperative.
You may wonder if wearing a helmet could affect an injury claim. The other party will likely make an issue out of the matter if it is found that you, for instance, were not sporting a helmet at the time of the collision. But the impact on your specific case will depend on many factors, such as age of the rider and extent of injury.
All motorcycle collision claims hinge on negligence. The use of a helmet, or lack thereof, is a contentious issue in any claim or lawsuit. Indeed, one of the first factors the insurance company will look at is whether you were wearing a helmet at the time of the collision or not.
Check out these common scenarios that could occur if you were to pursue a motorcycle collision injury claim. Your Southwest VA motorcycle injury attorney will be able to guide you through the specifics as they pertain to your case:
- You wore a helmet and experienced no head or neck injury: The wearing of a helmet shouldn’t affect your case. The only reason you may want to mention the use of a helmet is to show you’re a responsible driver.
- You did not wear a helmet and experience no head or neck injury: Perhaps you were not wearing a helmet at the time of impact but you did not sustain injury to your head; rather, you injured your arm, back, leg, or other part of your body that didn’t involve your head or neck. The lack of a helmet would not be relevant to your injuries. However, just like wearing a helmet can show you are a responsible driver, the other party’s insurance could claim that you’re an irresponsible driver because you failed to wear a helmet. It rarely holds legal water, but it can still cast a negative light on the case.
- You wore a helmet and experienced a head or neck injury: Wearing a helmet in this case shows that you followed the law and did all you could to prevent or reduce a head or neck injury.
- You did not wear a helmet, experienced a head or neck injury, and you are over the age of 21: This is when things get tricky. The other party could argue that your injuries may have been prevented, or at least significantly reduced, had you been wearing a helmet. In this case, you would have to prove that those injuries would have been just as severe as though you had worn a helmet. In many states, the failure to demonstrate this may mean you are found “comparatively negligent,” or partially at-fault, which would likely result in far less compensation. However, Virginia is a contributory negligence state, meaning that if you are even 1% negligent, you cannot recover damages.
- You did not wear a helmet, experienced a head or neck injury, and you are under the age of 21: In this case, it’s almost a certainty that you will be found partially at fault because you displayed negligence in heeding state laws — even if the collision would have been the fault of the other party entirely otherwise. Again, because Virginia is a contributory negligence state, even if you are 1% negligent, you cannot recover damages.
If you find yourself in any of the above situations, the first step is to consult with a Southwest Virginia motorcycle accident attorney.
Contact Altizer Law
Contact Bettina C. Altizer and the rest of her team at Altizer Law, all of whom have vast experience in handling motorcycle collision cases involving the use of, or the lack of, helmets. For a free, no-obligation consultation, please contact us at 540-345-2000.