Motorcycle riders and passengers don’t have the same protections as those driving in cars, trucks, or other enclosed vehicles. Motorcyclists should wear appropriate safety equipment, to help prevent extensive injury in the event of an accident. Helmets are an important part of rider and passenger protection.
One factor in whether you wear the helmet is the law. In Montana, some operators and passengers are required to wear helmets while riding a motorcycle – but not all. The Montana law applies to any passenger or operator under 18 years of age. In addition, any headgear must meet standards set by the Montana Department of Justice to comply with the law.
Obviously, motorcycle operators are responsible for wearing proper helmets if they’re under the age limit. However, an operator is also responsible for the compliance of his or her passenger as well. If you were to operate a motorcycle with a passenger under the age of 18 who was not wearing a helmet, you could receive a traffic citation.
There’s no doubt that helmets go a long way toward protecting motorcyclists in accidents. An impact to the head can easily lead to traumatic brain injury and other serious medical conditions. In an accident, wearing a helmet can mean the difference between minor damages or more serious consequences, including death. This is especially true if the accident is between a motorcycle and a larger vehicle.
However, helmets go beyond just protecting your body; they also can help if a lawsuit follows the accident. Many other factors contribute to determining fault and the level of compensation injured parties receive, but a helmet can make a big difference.
If you’re wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, you can appear as a more responsible driver, even if the law doesn’t require you to do so. If you wear a helmet and still suffer a head injury, you don’t need to worry about being considered comparatively negligent for your injuries, which reduce the amount of compensation you receive.
If you’re not wearing a helmet at the time of an accident, you may face greater difficulties receiving compensation for your injuries, even if the other party is at fault. The court may consider you comparatively negligent and reduce the amount of your compensation, especially if you have suffered a head injury due to the accident. This risk applies, even if you do not need to wear a helmet under the law.
However, it is possible to still receive compensation for any other injuries you suffered from the accident. If you’re under the age of 18 and are not wearing a helmet your chances of receiving any compensation are low if you suffered a head injury. These cases can become very difficult to navigate and require the help of an experienced motorcycle accident attorney to obtain any form of compensation.
On the other hand, if you do not suffer a head injury, the fact that you were not wearing a helmet becomes legally meaningless. This applies, even if you are under the age of 18 and should be wearing a helmet while on a motorcycle. You may face other legal penalties for violating the law, but you should be able to receive compensation for your injuries, as wearing a helmet would have done nothing to prevent your damages.
Helmets are a critical part of motorcycle safety, and wearing one can make a huge difference in an accident, both in terms of injuries and lawsuits. If you’ve suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident, contact the personal injury lawyers at Kovacich Snipes Johnson, P.C. to learn more about your rights and your likelihood of success in a lawsuit.