Can Motorcyclists Recover Damages if They Were Not Wearing a Helmet During the Crash?

Motorcycle accidents can occur no matter how careful you are. In fact, a motorcycle collision can occur regardless of whether you are wearing a helmet or not. But does the fact that you were not wearing a helmet impact your ability to recover damages?

Our experienced traffic accident attorneys at H&P Law can help you understand your rights as a motorcyclist involved in a motorcycle crash in Las Vegas or other parts of Nevada. Below, we take a closer look at motorcycle helmet laws in the state of Nevada and how not wearing a helmet may affect your ability to receive compensation.

Why Should You Wear Helmets While Riding a Motorcycle?

First of all, doing so is required under the law in Nevada. Nevada Revised Statutes § 486.231 requires all motorcycle riders and passengers to wear protective headgear (helmets) that meets the standards set forth by the U.S. Department of Transportation. In addition, motorcyclists and passengers must also wear protective glasses and face shields or goggles.

Second of all, wearing a helmet reduces your risk of severe or fatal injury. Common types of injuries that are more likely to occur when a person is not wearing a helmet include:

  • Head injuries. The most common type of injury that results from motorcycle accidents without helmets is head trauma. The skull is particularly vulnerable to impact in these scenarios and can result in severe fractures, traumatic brain injuries, or even death. Head trauma can also lead to long-term effects such as memory loss, balance issues, and difficulty speaking. Even if the rider survives the crash, they may have to live with these effects for the rest of their life.
  • Facial injuries. Another type of injury that can occur when riding without a helmet is facial injury. The face is vulnerable in motorcycle accidents because it is exposed and unprotected by any kind of padding or cushioning material. Facial injuries can range from minor scrapes and bruises to more serious lacerations or broken bones in the face area that require medical attention and surgery.
  • Neck injuries. Neck injuries are also a major concern when riding without a helmet due to the lack of protection around this area. Neck injuries can be very serious due to their close proximity to the spinal cord, which controls all movement throughout the body. Such neck injuries include whiplash or cervical spine fractures, which can lead to paralysis or even death if not treated properly or quickly enough after an accident occurs.

While these injuries may still occur regardless of whether the motorcyclist wears a helmet or not, headgear can significantly decrease the severity of your injuries.

Recovering Damages After a Motorcycle Accident

In most cases, if you are injured in an accident while not wearing a helmet, you will still be able to recover damages from the other party or parties involved in the crash. However, if it can be proven that your lack of wearing a helmet was the cause or partial cause of your injuries, then your recovery amount may be affected or reduced due to comparative negligence laws in Nevada.  

Comparative negligence refers to situations where both parties were partly at fault for an accident (or injury), and so they both share responsibility for any resulting damages. In other words, if it can be shown that not wearing a helmet contributed to any injuries sustained during an accident, you may have less money awarded as part of your settlement or court verdict due to comparative negligence laws in Nevada.

Thus, although you can still recover damages after an accident – even if you were not wearing a helmet during the crash – your recoverable compensation can be reduced.

Contact H&P Law for Legal Guidance

It is imperative that motorcyclists understand their rights and responsibilities under Nevada law to make sure that they receive the compensation to which they are entitled. If you were involved in a motorcycle crash while not wearing a helmet, contact H&P Law to discuss your unique situation and determine how the fact that you weren’t wearing a helmet can affect your recoverable damages. Call (702) 598-4529 today for a free case review.

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