Can You Be Found Negligent for Not Wearing a Helmet While Riding a Bicycle or Motorcycle in Florida?
If you were the victim of a bicycle collision or motorcycle accident in Miami or elsewhere in Florida, the fact that you were not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash could potentially affect your personal injury claim.
Since Florida is a comparative negligence state, a motorcyclist or bicyclist who did not wear a helmet may be found partially at fault for their injury. Thus, even if another car driver was responsible for causing the crash, a biker can be held partially liable for their damages if they failed to wear a helmet.
It is vital to consult with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney to discuss your helmet-wearing rights in Florida.
Bicycle and Motorcycle Helmet Laws in Florida
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), head injuries account for nearly two-thirds (62%) of all bicycle-related fatalities in the United States. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), studies show that wearing a helmet reduces the risk of head injury by up to 50%.
In Florida, only bicycle riders under the age of 16 are required to wear helmets while riding. As for motorcycle riders, helmets are not mandatory unless the rider is under the age of 21 and/or has an insurance policy with personal injury liability that exceeds $10,000.
But what if a motorcycle or bicycle rider gets into an accident while lawfully not wearing a helmet and sustains a head or brain injury? Can their insurance company deny coverage by saying that the bicyclist or motorcyclist was negligent due to his or her failure to wear a helmet?
Is Not Wearing a Helmet Considered Negligence in Florida?
While a biker may not break state law by not wearing a helmet, he or she may be held partially responsible for their injury if the insurer can prove that the rider’s failure to wear a helmet worsened or caused their injury.
Under Florida’s comparative negligence doctrine, an injured party’s compensation can be reduced by the percentage of their own fault. Thus, if the court determines that a biker’s failure to wear a helmet made him 40% at-fault for his head injury, he will receive only $120,000 of a $200,000 personal injury award.
The court might decide that the injured motorcyclist or bicyclist was partially liable for their damages due to their failure to wear a helmet because the injured party was aware or should have been aware of the increased risk of serious injury.
However, if the biker’s injuries have nothing to do with his failure to wear a helmet, the fact that the rider did not wear a helmet will most likely not constitute negligence. If the other party involved or the insurer is trying to hold you partially liable for your brain or head injury due to not wearing a helmet at the time of a bicycle or motorcycle accident, contact a personal injury attorney right away.
A skilled Miami motorcycle accident lawyer by your side will minimize the percentage of fault and argue that your failure to wear a helmet did not contribute to your injury. Contact Pita Weber Del Prado to schedule a consultation. Call at 305-670-2889 to receive a consultation.