Receiving payment for damages in a motorcycle accident – especially regarding injuries to the head and neck – will greatly depend on helmet laws, and if you were obeying them. The laws regarding motorcycles and helmets are clear. If you failed to obey the laws, you could lose the opportunity to collect compensation for your injuries, even if you were not at-fault for the accident.
What are Kentucky’s Helmet Laws?
The state of Kentucky uses a universal-type helmet law and there are only certain categories of riders who are required to wear helmets. A helmet is required for anyone who is 21 years or younger and operating a motorcycle or riding as a passenger on a motorcycle. Also, anyone riding a motorcycle while under a “motorcycle instruction permit” must wear a helmet until he or she receives the official license – regardless of age. Lastly, a person who is operating a motorcycle and has had a valid license for less than a year must still wear a helmet despite age.
The helmet laws are found under Kentucky Revised Statutes Section 189.285 and the Kentucky Motorcycle Manual.
Failing to Obey Motorcycle Helmet Laws
If you are in an accident and fail to wear a helmet, the issue of your own negligence may come to light – even if you did not cause the accident. Your legal recovery could be barred or significantly reduced because you failed to wear a helmet. If you are under the age of 21, using a learner’s permit, or have not had your license for more than a year, you could also face a traffic citation for not wearing a helmet.
In these types of cases, you will likely be found as contributorily negligent – that is, your own negligence contributed partially to the accident. Therefore, your settlement amount will be reduced based on your level of negligence. If you were involved in a serious motorcycle accident and suffered brain injuries, broken bones, lacerations and internal organ damage, then the court may decide that you are negligent for your brain trauma because you did not wear a helmet. The percentage for which they feel you were negligent would then reduce your settlement. If the courts feel that you were 50 percent or more negligent for your brain trauma, you may not be able to claim any of the damages for the head injury. You may, however, still be able to collect compensation for the lacerations, broken bones and internal organ damage if it is not directly related to your failure to wear a helmet.
Speak with an Attorney Regarding Helmet Use and Motorcycle Injuries
The laws regarding these types of injuries are complex. It can be hard to determine if you are eligible for compensation when you suffer multiple injuries. If you were not wearing a helmet and were involved in an accident, speak with Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC today. We offer free consultations, so get started by scheduling yours now or fill out our online contact form for more information.