What is the “Helmet Defense” in Motorcycle Cases?

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helmet defense

At Crary Buchanan, we are often asked by motorcyclists the question of whether motorcyclists can still initiate a personal injury lawsuit for a motorcycle accident when they were not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.  The answer to that question is “yes,” you can bring a personal injury case in connection with a motorcycle accident even if you were not wearing a helmet.  However, in Florida, the fact that you did not wear a helmet could be problematic for your case.

In this article, we will talk about Florida’s law with regard to wearing a helmet, and then discuss how the “helmet defense” in Florida can be a hidden cost in your personal injury lawsuit. 

If, after reading this blog, you have additional questions about your own situation, then we welcome you to contact an auto accident attorney in Stuart, FL, at our firm, Crary Buchanan.  At Crary Buchanan, we are proud of our standard of excellence, which has allowed us to thrive as one of the oldest law firms on Florida’s Treasure Coast.  

Find an auto accident attorney in Stuart who is passionate about giving you the highest quality representation.  Call us today at 772-287-2600, or schedule a free estate planning to consult online with our online contact form

Florida Does Not Require You to Wear a Helmet

In the State of Florida, motorcyclists are not required to wear a helmet when riding provided that you are 21 years old or older, and you have at least $10,000 in bodily injury insurance coverage.  

While there are many statistics demonstrating why wearing a helmet can be much safer for a motorcyclist in a vehicle accident, the decision to wear a helmet is a very personal one for many motorcyclists.  Accordingly, even though you do not have to wear a helmet by law, motorcyclists who get into an accident tend to suffer far more serious injuries. That leads us to the notion of the “helmet defense” in Florida.

Florida is a “Comparative Negligence” State

What does it mean to be a “comparative negligence” State?  It means that in Florida, more than one party can be blamed for the injuries and damage that result from a vehicle accident. Thus, insurance companies will pay on accident claims based on the percentage of fault of each party.  

Thus, the ability to parse out how much people (or their insurance companies) pay in damages based on the percentage of fault leads to the use of the “helmet defense.”  

Simply stated, those who are involved in an accident with a motorcycle will assert, as a defense, that the motorcyclist’s injuries would have been much less serious had the motorcyclist worn a helmet.  In other words, a motorcyclist’s choice not to wear a helmet places a percentage of the blame on the motorcyclist for his or her injuries.  

A successful assertion of the “helmet defense” – in that the motorcyclist was comparatively negligent for not wearing a helmet – can substantially reduce, or even remove entirely, any damages award that the motorcyclist may otherwise be entitled to.  Of course, that would place the burden of medical costs onto the injured motorcyclist, which could be financially devastating.

Accordingly, if you or a loved one were involved in a serious motorcycle accident, you want to make sure that you have an experienced auto accident attorney in your corner.  If you or a loved one were not wearing a helmet at the time of the motorcycle accident, there are still ways in which you can protect any damages award that you should receive.  Your attorney will help you navigate those issues.   

Find an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today – Call Crary Buchanan

Vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of personal injury and wrongful death in the nation.  Many factors can contribute to a traffic accident, but as noted the primary reason is negligence.  Drivers are negligent in a variety of ways.  A driver who falls asleep may be considered negligent.  When a careless driver causes an accident, you can pursue a personal injury claim or lawsuit.

It doesn’t matter what type of injury you sustained.  You have the right to seek compensation if another driver caused you injury – even if you were partially responsible for the accident.   Automobile and truck accident injuries can lead to a variety of expenses, and a personal injury claim can compensate you for these costs.  Yet, you need the right legal advocate on your side to get full and fair compensation for your damages.  If you or someone you love suffered an injury, speak with a Stuart, Martin County personal injury attorney from Crary Buchanan.  We want to help you recover the money you need.

At Crary Buchanan, we are committed to providing clients with exceptional service in every aspect of personal injury law.  You can depend upon our 85 years of experience in the Florida legal industry. 

Our legal team is passionate about maintaining the high standards of professionalism and legal service that were established and practiced by founding attorneys Evans Crary Sr. and Evans Crary Jr.  Evans Crary Sr. began his law practice in Stuart in 1927 at a time when Martin County was only two years old.  He became a municipal judge at the age of 25 and served as County Attorney for 23 years. 

During his time as County Attorney, he was elected to represent Martin County in the Florida Legislature.  In 1945 he was elected to the Florida House of Representatives.  He served in the House for nine years and even served as Speaker of the House before he went on to become a member of the Florida Senate.  Today, the Crary Buchanan law firm continues to practice the example of integrity, professionalism, energy, and devotion that was clearly illustrated in the lives of both Evans Crary Sr. and Evans Crary Jr.

Our clients are more than case numbers; they are people. We recognize that you are an individual with unique needs and expectations.  Our team is here to meet your need and exceed your expectations. When you work with us, you can have confidence that a caring legal advocate is on your side.

If you have more questions or want a dedicated auto accident attorney in Stuart to help you, call 772-287-2600 or schedule a free consult online with our online contact form.  You can always depend on Crary Buchanan for community, experience, and trust.  Call today.