New York Motorcycle Helmet Law and Its Effects on an Injury Claim
There is a universal New York motorcycle helmet law that requires all motorcyclists - riders as well as passengers - wear helmets while riding. That could negatively impact your claim if you were not wearing a helmet at the time of your accident.
New York Motorcycle Helmet LawNew York has universal motorcycle helmet laws. This means that the law requires everyone on a motorcycle to wear helmets while they are riding. That includes not just the rider, or the motorcyclist, but also passengers on a motorcycle. All riders, including experienced and novice drivers, must wear helmets while riding. There are no exceptions to the law based on age or licensing.
Does failure to wear a motorcycle helmet impact an injury claim?If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident, you might find that your failure to wear a helmet while riding adversely impacts your injury claim and your ability to recover damages. New York has comparative negligence laws, under which the value of a personal injury claim settlement is lowered if the plaintiff has displayed negligence that contributed to his/her own injuries. This means that the court may decide to lower the damages that are due to you by the amount of negligence that you have displayed by your failure to wear a helmet. For example, if a court finds that you were 30 percent negligent by your failure to wear a helmet, the court may decide to lower the damages due to you by 30 percent.
Other Factors That Could Impact Your ClaimHowever, you may also find that failure to wear a helmet only impacts an injury claim if you suffered head injuries in the accident. A helmet primarily protects a person against neck or head injuries in an accident, and therefore, if your failure to wear a motorcycle helmet resulted in severe head or neck injuries, the court may maintain that those injuries could have been prevented if you had been wearing a helmet at the time. However, if you suffered from a leg injury or lower extremity injury, a court may rule that your helmet could not possibly have prevented your leg injury, and therefore, the comparative negligence law may not apply in your case.
I was injured while not wearing a motorcycle helmet. What should I do?Comparative negligence laws are complicated, and your failure to wear a motorcycle helmet at the time of the accident does not automatically exclude you from damages. You can expect the defendant to argue that you were responsible or liable for your own injuries because of your failure to wear a helmet, but there are ways to counter those arguments successfully. If the injuries are the kind that could not have been prevented even if you had been wearing a helmet at the time, you may still recover damages.