Understanding Motorcycle Helmet Laws in New York

Head injuries are a very common type of serious harm caused by motorcycle crashes. Accordingly, New York has established laws requiring bikers and their passengers to wear helmets no matter their experience level or age.

Riders who were not wearing helmets when their accidents occurred may still sue for injuries they suffered. However, failing to wear a helmet will likely be viewed as a form of contributory negligence and can reduce the amount of damages plaintiffs may recover.

If you need to file a motorcycle accident claim in New York, get help from our experienced Westchester motorcycle accident lawyers at The Martello Law Firm by dialing (914) 685-6950.

New York’s Motorcycle Helmet Laws

In New York, all motorcycle riders must wear helmets. Furthermore, helmets should adhere to certain safety standards. There cannot be any rigid projections located within helmets’ shells or any projections that protrude over 0.2 inches from helmet’s outer layers. Furthermore, helmets must be designed with continuous curved surfaces and provide riders with peripheral vision clearance.

Legal motorcycle helmets should have symbols that indicate they have been approved by the Department of Transportation (DOT). Failure to wear an approved motorcycle helmet may be viewed as an act of negligence.

Can You Sue for Motorcycle Accident Injuries if You Were Not Wearing a Helmet in New York?

If you were hurt while riding a motorcycle and you were not wearing a helmet, you can still sue for damages you sustained. However, the amount of payment you are awarded may be limited.

Courts in New York adhere to the rules of pure comparative fault. This means that compensation for motorcycle accident injuries is apportioned based on parties’ percentages of blame. For example, if you are considered to be 15% at fault for your accident and the defendant driver is 85% liable, then the defendant will reimburse you for 85% of damages caused by your crash while you are left to account for the leftover 15%.

Failure to wear a helmet can be viewed as a form of contributory negligence when it comes to how your injuries were caused, even if your lack of helmet did not actually contribute to causing the crash itself. Accordingly, defendants in motorcycle accident lawsuits may argue that plaintiffs who were not wearing helmets should not receive full compensation. Fortunately, whether you were wearing a helmet or not, you can call our motorcycle accident attorneys for help negotiating for fair payment in your case.

Is There Other Protective Gear That Motorcycle Riders Must Wear in New York?

In addition to wearing helmets, motorcycle riders in New York have to wear protective eyewear. Like helmets, in order for eyewear to be legal, it must be approved by the state. A face shield or goggles will serve to satisfy this requirement for riders. However, other forms of eyewear may not comply with appropriate standards.

Are There Legal Consequences for Not Wearing a Helmet During a Motorcycle Accident in New York?

In addition to limiting the amount of payment you can sue for, failure to wear a motorcycle helmet can result in other legal consequences. For instance, those who do not adhere to New York’s helmet laws may be faced with imprisonment, fines, or both.

Does Not Wearing a Helmet Affect Your Insurance Compensation After a Motorcycle Accident in New York?

Motorcycle helmets are proven to reduce head injuries caused by accidents. Accordingly, insurance companies often factor helmet usage into claim payouts. If you were hurt because of an accident where you were not wearing a helmet, your insurance compensation may be reduced.

What to Do After Suffering a Motorcycle Accident Where You Were Not Wearing a Helmet in New York

If you were seriously injured because of your motorcycle crash where you were not wearing a helmet, you should call 911 and request immediate medical attention. Additionally, after calling 911, a police officer should report to your scene to draft an official accident report. These reports can be highly valuable when determining who to sue for your crash.

Victims who are badly injured may not be able to collect evidence at accidents’ scenes. However, if possible, you should take photos that show the property damage caused by your accident. Furthermore, it may be beneficial to take photos of the weather and road conditions at the time your collision occurred.

It can help to exchange information with other parties involved in your accident. Ideally, this includes other drivers’ contact and insurance information. Furthermore, acquiring contact information for potential eyewitnesses may enhance your ability to prove fault for your crash.

Damages You Can Sue for if You Were Not Wearing a Motorcycle Helmet During Your Accident in New York

If you were not wearing a helmet at the time of your crash, you may still recover multiple forms of monetary damages through a motorcycle accident lawsuit. For instance, plaintiffs in such cases may obtain compensation for a wide range of economic losses like medical expenses, property damage, and lost income. Additionally, payment for non-economic damages such as physical pain and emotional anguish may also be awarded to injured riders.

However, establishing claims for such damages can be complicated in cases where plaintiffs were not wearing motorcycle helmets. Defendants often use plaintiffs’ noncompliance with helmet laws to complicate settlement processes. Even so, the fact that their actions caused the crash itself can help show a jury that they are predominately responsible for the accident. In these cases, the damages that they caused you might only be reduced a bit to account for your missing helmet, and the jury can still find that the defendant owes you substantial compensation.

Those Who Are Injured Because of Motorcycle Crashes in New York Can Call Our Attorneys for Help

If you sustained motorcycle accident injuries, seek guidance from our experienced Yonkers motorcycle accident lawyers at The Martello Law Firm by calling (914) 685-6950.

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