Florida, contrary to common belief, has requirements for wearing a motorcycle helmet. However riders over the age of 21 that carry a minimum of $10,000.00 in medical coverage are exempt. Also, persons over the age of 16 riding a motorcycle with 50CC engine or less, under two brake horsepower and incapable of speeds over 30 MPH, are also exempt from wearing a helmet. In other words if a motorcyclist has $10,000.00 in medical insurance and is over 21, he can leave his helmet at home. He is also at risk severe brain trauma if involved in a crash, with medical bills far exceeding the $10,000.00 in coverage. Personal injury protection insurance (PIP) is not permitted for motorcycles, even if the motorcyclist retains it for his automobile.
Does the wearing of a helmet while riding a motorcycle prevent all head injuries? No, it doesn’t. Does it reduce the severity of some head injuries? Statistics show a sharp rise in Florida motorcycle fatalities since the repeal of the state’s mandatory helmet law in 2000.
All Motorcycle Helmets are Not Created Equal
If a person decides to wear a helmet while riding, the type of helmet should be considered carefully. All motorcycle helmets are not created equal. There are three basic types of motorcycle helmets offering varying degrees of protection. There is the full head and face style, the three quarter, and what is commonly called the beanie, or half helmet. The half helmet only covers the head above the ears. It has been shown to protect the head from traumatic injuries in only 36.8% of crashes. The three quarter, which provides protection of the head and ears but not the face, was shown to protect from head injuries 55.5% of the time. The modular and full face models offer the greatest protection with the edge being given to the full face for greater chin protection. Any one of these models may receive DOT approval.
The DOT allows helmet companies to provide their own testing and does not follow up to check for design or material changes. The Snell Institute is a private testing organization with considerable stricter standards than the Department of Transportation. It also performs follow up spot checks on all of its approved products. There is no impact duration associated with the Snell ratings. The DOT limits duration allowing for less initial impact.
Motorcycle Accident Injury Liability
Does the helmet that a rider wears, or doesn’t wear, affect a claim for traumatic brain injuries in a lawsuit against a negligent party? There are no statistics on the difference in settlements based on the helmet style or not wearing a helmet. Settlements are mainly determined by the negligence of the other party and the severity of the injuries. There is no monetary threshold that has to be passed in the settlement of a motorcycle injury case as there is with other motor vehicles. Compensation can be recovered for the following:
- Medical Expenses – These can be expenses in the past and also in the future. They may include the costs for the emergency room, hospital care, surgery, rehabilitation, assistive devices and future help from medical professionals related to the sustained injuries
- Pain and Suffering – Not being restricted by PIP, motorcyclists are able to seek compensation for pain and suffering. This is for the pain of the injury at present but also for the expected period of time that the pain my last. Taken into consideration also is the severity of the injury and the degree of pain.
- Lost wages – A person who is injured in a motorcycle crash may lose wages for a short while or for life. They may need to be trained for a different line of work or not be able to work at all. All of these things are considered when awarding damages for lost wages.
- Mental anguish – Emotional suffering can lead to a victim being awarded after a motorcycle crash. Chronic anxiety, grief, sleeplessness and other forms of emotional stress are taken into consideration.
- Loss of consortium – The spouse of the injured motorcyclist may also recover damages for lost or diminished marital benefits such as affection, sexual relations and companionship.
If you or a loved one was injured in a motorcycle accident you may be entitled to substantial compensation. Even if there was no other driver involved. Defective parts or poorly marked road hazards are considered negligence in many cases. The Florida motorcycle accident attorneys at Dolman Law are proficient in determining the actual cause of a crash and who the negligent parties are. Call Dolman Law today and speak with an experienced Florida motorcycle accident attorney.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765