Can I file a lawsuit after a motorcycle accident if I wasn’t wearing a helmet?

riders_with_helmetsMotorcycle helmets approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) are approximately 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries, and nearly 40 percent effective in preventing motorcycle accident fatalities.

In fact, helmets saved the lives of nearly 2,000 motorcyclists in 2016 alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Despite decades of research showing the efficacy of motorcycle helmets, many motorcyclists choose not to wear this essential piece of safety gear.

After being injured in an accident, these same motorcyclists often wonder if—and how—failure to wear a helmet might impact their ability to file a personal injury lawsuit and seek compensation for damages.

The answer to the question depends on a variety of factors, including your state's helmet laws, injuries, and ability to show the defendant was negligent and directly responsible for said injuries.

Pennsylvania repealed its mandatory helmet law in 2003. As a result, only motorcyclists under the age of 21 who lack two years of riding experience or the completion of an approved motorcycle safety course are required to wear a helmet when operating or riding a motorcycle.

Still, failing to wear a helmet might throw a wrench in the works if the primary injuries sustained were to the head or brain, as the defense might try to argue the injuries were the result of not wearing a helmet.

Fortunately, because Pennsylvania is a “comparative fault” state, motorcyclists can still collect damages, even if they were partially responsible for their injuries. However, the damages they might collect may be reduced.

Hire a Knowledgeable Motorcycle Accident Attorney

If you were injured in a motorcycle accident caused by another person or entity's negligence, your failure to wear a helmet shouldn't prevent you from receiving rightful compensation. Contact the motorcycle accident attorneys Accident and Injury Law Group today to schedule an appointment for a free initial case consultation.


Pellegrino Certa
Pittsburgh Personal Injury and Car Accident Attorney