When riders suffer head injuries in accidents, they can still file a claim if they were wearing non-DOT motorcycle helmets – but their settlement may be reduced because they might be considered partially liable for their injuries.
The Department of Transportation sets forth quality standards for motorcycle helmets to better ensure their effectiveness. Not wearing an approved helmet might not cause an accident, but it does significantly increase your risk of suffering head and neck injuries if you are ever in one.
If you were not wearing a helmet and suffered head or neck injuries, then insurers can easily try to establish that your injuries are the result of your own negligence in failing to wear a helmet. The same applies if you were wearing a non-DOT approved helmet.
Apportioning some of the fault to you is possible because of Pennsylvania’s comparative negligence rules. Under this rule, you can still recover your damages, but your settlement will be reduced by your degree of fault. The insurers can say that you wouldn’t have suffered head injuries if you would have been wearing a quality helmet and are totally or partly liable; therefore, they will argue, they shouldn’t be responsible for paying for all of your damages.
If your accident resulted in other types of injuries that a motorcycle helmet would not prevent, then the fact that you were wearing a non-DOT approved helmet will not impact the amount of compensation you’re entitled to. Below are a few examples of types of injuries that will not affect your claim when you weren’t wearing an approved helmet.
- Road rash
- Back and spinal cord injuries
Recovering Compensation after a Motorcycle Accident
You can still qualify for compensation, but you’ll have to be able to prove that the injuries would have occurred even if you had been wearing a DOT-approved helmet. This will likely require medical expertise and information from mechanical experts who can analyze the forensics of the helmet. If expert testimonies can establish that your injuries were unavoidable even with helmet use, you can still be fully compensated for your damages.
If you have suffered injuries in a motorcycle helmet while you were wearing a non-DOT approved helmet, you’ll want to consult an attorney to help you with your claim. If you reside in the Newtown area, consider Cordisco & Saile as your go-to firm. You are welcomed to contact one of our motorcycle accident lawyers at 215-642-2335 for a free consultation.