Motorcycle accidents can be absolutely devastating and life-changing for both the accident victim and their family. Recovering physically, financially, and emotionally from a motorcycle accident is challenging enough without the other side trying to accuse you of bearing fault for your own injuries if you weren’t wearing a helmet.
Here’s how choosing not to wear a helmet could compromise a future lawsuit if you get into an accident and what to do if you or a loved one were in a motorcycle accident without a helmet.
Massachusetts Helmet Laws
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has imposed a law that requires all motorcyclists to wear protective headgear when riding. However, not all motorcycle helmets are created equally. You should have a Department of Transportation (DOT) approved helmet that is manufactured specifically to protect against the most common head injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident.
Legal Consequences of Not Wearing a Helmet If Stopped
If you are stopped in Massachusetts while riding a motorcycle without a helmet, you could face the following penalties:
- A $35 fine for a first offense
- A $75 to $100 fine for a second offense
- An increase in motorcycle and/or vehicle insurance rates
- The cost of having your motorcycle towed
- A nonmoving violation added to your driving record
Other Consequences of Not Wearing a Helmet
Wearing a motorcycle helmet does more than just protect you from legal consequences and fines — it can save your life. Unhelmeted riders are:
- Twice as likely to sustain cervical spine injuries
- 42% more likely to die in a motorcycle accident
- 69% more likely to sustain a serious head or brain injury
Wearing a helmet is an economically sound choice too, for both you and the Commonwealth. In 2010, it was reported that the annual cost of motorcycle collisions in the U.S. was $12.9B in economic damages and $66B in harm to society. Motorcycle riders who survive accidents without helmets are also more likely to need costly surgery, extended hospital stays, and extensive rehabilitation. They may be partially or permanently disabled and unable to return to work.
Can the Other Side Blame You for Your Own Injuries?
The other driver’s attorneys will look for any reason they can to either prove their client wasn’t at fault at all for the accident or your injuries, or that the victim was at least partially responsible. Not wearing a helmet makes this easy for them and they’ll more than likely try to argue that if you suffered head injuries in the accident, that you bear full responsibility because you decided to ride your motorcycle without a helmet.
However, not wearing a helmet does not absolve the other driver from negligence. If their carelessness on the road caused your accident, they should be held accountable for the damages they caused. Helmet or not, if the other driver wasn’t negligent, the accident would not have happened.
Contact Mazow | McCullough, P.C. for Help Now
After being injured in a motorcycle accident, it’s critical that you take steps right away to protect your rights and best interests. The other side is already building a case against you and if you weren’t wearing a helmet at the time of the collision, they may try to suggest you are at fault for your own injuries.
You need an experienced motorcycle accident attorney in your corner. Contact Mazow | McCullough, P.C. today for a consultation at (978) 744-8000 or toll-free at (855) 693-9084.