Let me begin by saying that the vast majority of motorcyclists are doing what they can to be safe on the road, while enjoying the sense of freedom that a bike provides. However, we have all seen the bikers that insist on weaving in and out of traffic, at high speeds, with no helmet and inadequate clothing. Can it possibly be fair to assume that a person riding with no helmet could file and win a tort lawsuit against another driver?
It doesn’t matter how the biker is outfitted. When he or she is the victim in a car accident, there is just as much right to compensation. However, if the major injury – leading to the need for medical care – is head or neck damage, the rules may vary.
In Florida, riders over the age of 21, with appropriate insurance, can legally ride without a helmet. Some states mandate that all riders where a protective helmet when riding. In those states, it can be difficult for motorcyclists, having received head and neck injuries in an accident while not wearing a helmet, to collect any damages in a tort lawsuit at all. Even in Florida, with the more lax helmet laws, the defendant’s attorney would fight hard for the case that a helmet would have protected against the injuries suffered and, in choosing not to wear one, the rider was negligent.
That is not to say that you, as a Tampa auto accident victim, could not collect compensation for your losses just because you chose to ride without a helmet. However, if the courts determine that you were negligent to some degree, the awarded funds could be less than if you had worn the proper head gear.
The lesson to be learned here is, for safety’s sake and also to protect yourself financially in the event of an accident, wear a helmet while you ride.