blog home Motorcycle Accidents Does Motorcycle Safety Equipment Affect Injury Cases?

Does Motorcycle Safety Equipment Affect Injury Cases?

By Texas Personal Injury Lawyer on April 30, 2024

A motorcycle on the ground in the background and a silver helmet in the foreground.

In Texas, the decision to wear a helmet and protective gear while riding a motorcycle is more than just a safety consideration — it’s also a legal matter that can affect personal injury claims. Texas has comparative fault laws that may reduce the amount of money you receive in a personal injury claim or lawsuit.

If a rider wears a helmet, eye protection, and the appropriate clothing, they demonstrate a commitment to safety, which can positively influence the liability determination in case of an accident. On the other hand, failure to use a helmet and the proper safety gear may lead to a higher percentage of fault attributed to the motorcyclist, reducing the amount of money they will receive in a personal injury settlement.

Comparative Fault and Motorcycle Accidents in Texas

Comparative fault refers to the system used in Texas to determine liability in an accident. It’s important to remember that under Texas’s modified comparative fault rule, a party can only recover damages if it is found to be less than 51 percent responsible for the incident.

In motorcycle accidents, the comparative fault principle is critical because it directly affects the compensation the injured party can receive. For example, if a motorcycle rider is found to be 20 percent at fault for an accident due to not wearing a helmet, and the other party is 80 percent at fault, the motorcyclist’s compensation will be reduced by their share of the fault. In this case, if the motorcyclist won a settlement of $100,000 to cover the cost of their injuries, the total amount received would be $80,000.

Not Wearing a Helmet Can Reduce Your Compensation

Texas law stipulates that all riders under 21 must wear helmets. For those over 21, the choice is theirs as long as they have completed a safety course or possess adequate insurance. However, if an accident occurs, not wearing a helmet can be perceived as negligent behavior, potentially reducing the compensation you might receive.

Interpreting Texas helmet law is key to understanding its impact on personal injury cases. Helmets are the most recognized form of protection, and their use has been statistically shown to save lives. Studies indicate that riders without a helmet are three times more likely to suffer brain injuries in a crash compared to those who wear one. Helmets are vital in preventing traumatic brain injuries, which can be life-threatening and life-altering.

The absence of a helmet at the time of an accident can be construed as carelessness, which may influence a case’s outcome. In legal proceedings, the defense may argue that the lack of helmet use contributes to the severity of injuries, placing partial blame on the rider. This argument hinges on the concept of failure to mitigate damages, suggesting that the rider’s decision not to wear a helmet exacerbated their injuries.

Not wearing a helmet may also lead to the court assigning more fault to the rider, even if another party was predominantly responsible for the accident. The court examines the extent to which a helmet could have prevented or mitigated injuries and considers this when determining fault percentages.

The Importance of Protective Gear

Helmets aren’t the only equipment that can affect motorcycle injury claims in Texas. The impact of safety gear, from eye protection to reflective clothing, can also significantly influence the outcome of a case.

The role of safety equipment can be a determining factor in establishing fault in motorcycle accidents in Texas. The right motorcycle protective gear can prevent a wide range of injuries that riders may otherwise suffer during an accident. That’s why the use of safety gear is a factor courts consider when assessing comparative fault.

Wearing protective jackets, gloves, pants, and boots significantly reduces the risk of road rash, fractures, and other soft-tissue injuries. While no gear can prevent all injuries, the proper use of motorcycle protective gear greatly enhances a rider’s chances of surviving an accident with fewer and less severe injuries.

Reflective gear increases visibility, which is especially important during night riding or in poor weather conditions. When motorcyclists wear reflective gear, they make themselves more noticeable to other motorists, potentially preventing accidents. If an accident does occur, the use of reflective gear can be a significant factor in evaluating fault. It can be argued that the rider took reasonable steps to prevent the accident by making themselves visible.

Were You Injured in a Houston Motorcycle Accident?

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