I wasn’t wearing a helmet in my Washington, D.C. area motorcycle accident—will I still be able to collect damages for my injuries from the other driver?
While Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. alike all have mandatory safety helmet laws, if you were injured in a D.C. biking accident caused by another driver, you will still likely be able to collect damages even if you were not wearing your helmet.
What that would affect, however, is how much you may be able to recover. If the judge determines that a helmet would have lessened your injuries, the compensation you receive may reflect that amount; by not following the helmet law, you suffered extra injuries related to your own contributory negligence.
Of course, just because this does not completely bar you from receiving compensation does not mean that you should ignore the helmet laws in affect in your state. There are so many reasons to wear helmets beyond financial reasons. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has done extensive studies regarding motorcycle helmet use, and perhaps the most important statistic that the NHTSA has found is that helmets are the single most important factor in motorcycle crash survival. In fact, helmets worn properly reduce crash fatality by 37 percent.
Of course, not every state is on board with helmet use laws for riders over 18, and as more states repeal these laws, fewer riders are wearing helmets. Not only does this affect the safety of individuals, but as crashes occur, the increased injuries (namely traumatic brain injuries) and deaths as a result of these repealed laws creates higher and higher costs for insurance companies, trickling down into higher premiums for their members.
Wearing a helmet is always a good decision, but if you were involved in an accident that was caused by another driver and you were not wearing a helmet, you will need a tough attorney to fight to earn as much compensation as possible. Call the Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia motorcycle accident attorneys at Lewis & Tompkins today at 202.296.0666 for a free consultation.