Washington, like many other states, requires motorcyclists to wear helmets. While not popular with everyone, the law is designed to protect motorcyclists involved in a motorcycle accident. But physical protection is not the only reason why Washingtonians should wear a helmet. Another reason is legal. To learn what that reason is, keep reading.
The reason, in a word, is money. Wearing a helmet has financial, not just physical, consequences following a motorcycle accident.
Why? Because in an accident the person who hit a motorcyclist can use the motorcyclist’s negligence against them – such as not wearing a helmet, which would have reduced the motorcyclist’s injuries. That negligence, in turn, can reduce or even bar the motorcyclist from receiving any money. This result is the product of a doctrine known as contributory negligence.
Consider an example. Let’s say that a motorcyclist was hit while not wearing a helmet, resulting in serious injuries carrying a medical bill of $100,000. That motorcyclist will likely not get the full $100,000 even if the other vehicle was entirely at fault for causing the accident. The reason for this is because the motorcyclist negligently increased his injuries by failing to wear a helmet. By contrast, a motorcyclist wearing a helmet would likely get all $100,000.
Wearing a helmet is just one of many issues lurking for Washington motorcyclists hurt in an accident. For help navigating those often choppy waters, Washingtonians may benefit from discussing their situation with an experienced motorcycle-accident attorney. Doing so could be the first step towards not only holding the responsible party accountable but also receiving compensation that they need and deserve to get through a difficult time.
Source: FindLaw, “Helmet Laws and Motorcycle Accident Cases,” Accessed Nov. 13, 2016