You’ll find over 550,000 motorcyclists in the state of Florida today – not counting the tourists who also find their way there. Unfortunately, this means that the likelihood of getting a motorcycle injury or even dying from one occurs more frequently than in any other state. In these cases, many people are left wondering if they’re required to wear a helmet. Typically this will depend upon your age, insurance, and type of injury claim you have.
Understanding Florida’s Motorcycle Helmet Law
Florida didn’t have a universal motorcycle law (F.S. 316.211(3)(b)) until 2000. This law mandates that anyone under the age of 21 or without an insurance policy that has at least $10,000 in medical benefits must wear a helmet. However, anyone over the age of 21 with the proper insurance doesn’t need to wear a helmet. Furthermore, everyone must wear protective eyewear.
This means that if you sustain a motorcycle injury while obeying this law your injury attorney can protect your right to collect damages from the driver who’s at fault for causing your injury claim. It’s up to you to decide what’s right for you but there are some instances where it may impact how much compensation you’re awarded. This is something that an injury attorney will be able to determine for you.
Understanding Florida’s Unique Insurance Laws for Motorcyclists
While Florida is a no-fault state for car insurance this isn’t true for motorcycles. Instead, motorcyclists are allowed to register their motorcycle without obtaining any proof of insurance. Of course, you can purchase coverage for medical payments but it’s rarely enough when there’s an injury claim. When this happens you’ll need to hire an injury attorney to pursue compensation from the party that’s at fault.
Understanding Florida’s “Helmet Defense” System
In Florida, there’s a system in use that’s known as “pure comparative fault.” This system weights the legal responsibility of anyone who makes an injury claim that’s based on a crash. What this means is that you can hire an injury attorney to help you pursue your claim even if you’re partially at fault but how much money you’ll receive will be proportionate to your degree of fault.
When you sustain a motorcycle injury while not wearing a helmet the defense’s injury attorney may use “the helmet defense” tactic to reduce your damages. According to this tactic even if the other driver is found to be at fault for causing the accident you may be considered partially negligent based on how much worse your injuries were made since you weren’t wearing a helmet.
There are times when a helmet may not even factor into a case. For instance, if you sustain a motorcycle injury consisting of a broken leg from someone crashing into you the decision not to wear a helmet is irrelevant to your injury claim. However, if you’ve developed a traumatic brain injury from this same accident then it could be argued that you may not have sustained this motorcycle injury had you been wearing a helmet. If this comparative fault claim is successful, your damages may be reduced significantly. When this happens you may be held responsible for 20% of the accident and so instead of being awarded $100,000 you’ll only receive $80,000. It’s at times like this when you’ll want to have an experienced attorney on your side to help you challenge insurers and defense attorneys effectively.
If you receive a motorcycle injury in Palm Harbor and St Petersburg, contact an injury attorney at Blenner Law Group for an injury claim consultation today.
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