If you were not wearing a motorcycle helmet at the time of your motorcycle crash, your injuries could be much more severe. However, you still may be able to recover compensation from the negligent driver who caused your collision.
Are You Required to Wear a Helmet in Virginia?
Motorcycle operators and their passengers are required to wear a helmet under Virginia’s motorcycle helmet law. The helmet must comply with the standards set by the federal Department of Transportation, the Snell Memorial Foundation, or the American National Standards Institute, Inc. In addition, motorcyclists and their passengers are required to wear one of the following, unless the motorcycle is equipped with safety glass or a windshield:
- Face shield
- Safety goggles
How Does Not Wearing a Helmet Affect Your Right to Compensation After a Motorcycle Accident?
The law requiring motorcycle riders and passengers to wear a helmet and goggles, face shield, or safety goggles specifically provides that the failure to wear them shall not constitute definite proof of negligence. This provision is a crucial protection for motorcycle accident victims because Virginia follows an extremely harsh contributory negligence law.
Under the contributory negligence doctrine, motorcyclists and passengers who were even one percent at fault in causing the motorcycle accident would not be entitled to any compensation for their injuries. However, the insurance company for the negligent driver cannot use the fact that the person was not wearing a helmet or other safety equipment as a complete bar to paying them damages for their injuries.
However, this does not mean that the failure to wear a helmet will not hurt a victim’s claim. All injured parties in motorcycle and other vehicle accidents have a duty to mitigate or reduce their damages. If a victim suffered a traumatic brain injury or other head injury, the insurance company may be able to successfully argue that they failed to mitigate their damages and should receive less compensation in their settlement.
If you weren’t wearing a helmet when you were hurt in a motorcycle accident, our knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyers can explain how this may impact on your legal rights against the negligent driver. We will also aggressively fight so that you receive the maximum recovery you are entitled to from their insurance company. Call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation to get the answers and legal assistance you need.