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Can I Recover Damages If I Was in a Motorcycle Crash Without a Helmet?

Posted on in Personal Injury

b2ap3_thumbnail_Chris-Strohbehn-injury-lawyer.jpgBy: Attorney Chris Strohbehn 

Motorcycle riders face serious dangers as a result of sharing the road with cars, trucks, and other vehicles. A motorcycle crash can cause a wide range of severe injuries, and in many situations, it is the negligence of drivers in other vehicles that causes injuries to riders. However, whether or not the rider was wearing a helmet is often a point of contention in motorcycle accident cases. In cases such as these, it is important for motorcycle crash victims to work closely with an experienced personal injury who will work hard to hold the negligent driver fully accountable for the injuries he or she caused.

Helmet Laws in Wisconsin

In the state of Wisconsin, all motorcycle riders and passengers are strongly encouraged to wear helmets and other protective gear while riding. Fully-licensed riders who are 18 years old or older are not required by law to wear a helmet on Wisconsin roadways. A rider who is under age 18 must wear a helmet. A helmet is also required for any person riding with a motorcycle instruction permit. All riders, regardless of helmet use, are required to wear eye protection unless the motorcycle’s windshield meets the height requirement set by Wisconsin law.

Determining Liability for a Crash Where the Rider Was Helmetless

While there may be exceptions, a rider’s choice to forgo a helmet generally does not factor into determining which party was at-fault for causing a motorcycle crash. In fact, it is explicitly stated in Wisconsin law that evidence pertaining to whether a rider was wearing a helmet or not is not to be considered in a personal injury action. A driver who acted in a negligent manner, such as by running a red light or texting while driving, cannot argue that the crash would have been avoided if the rider had a helmet on.

It is important to understand that the inadmissibility of evidence related to the use or non-use of a helmet only applies in cases in which the rider was not legally required to wear one. This means that if you were hurt while riding in violation of the state’s helmet laws, the defendant could argue for your compensation to be reduced. Such an argument might not be successful, but it is not prohibited by Wisconsin law.

Work With a Wisconsin Motorcycle Crash Lawyer

Recovering full compensation for a motorcycle accident can be complicated, especially when questions about helmets are raised. To get the help you need with your case, contact an experienced Milwaukee personal injury attorney at Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP today. Call 414-271-1440 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our team.

 

Sources:

https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/901/053

https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/1997/statutes/statutes/895/045

https://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/dmv/motorcycles/mc-safety/gear.aspx


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