While it is legal for some motorcyclists in Texas to ride without a helmet, it’s always safer to use one. Under Texas law, a person under 21 years old must wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle. A person 21 years old or older can ride without a helmet as long as he or she has medical insurance covering motorcycle crashes and has taken a motorcycle operators training course. However, if a rider is not wearing a helmet and is hit by another driver, that failure to use a helmet could affect the compensation they’re entitled to.
Not Wearing a Helmet Could Hurt Your Case
Even if you met the two conditions for not wearing a helmet under Texas law, the lack of a helmet could worsen your injuries and increase your risk of death. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 4,957 motorcyclist fatalities in 2012. In states that did not have universal helmet laws, there were 10 times more helmetless rider deaths than in states that had universal helmet laws.
Texas follows the modified comparative fault system in motorcycle crash cases. This means that if the injured victim was 51 percent or higher at fault in causing his motorcycle injuries, he would not be able to recover anything from the other driver who hit him. If he was less than 51 percent at fault, his compensation would be reduced by his degree of fault.
If a rider wasn’t wearing a helmet, his degree of fault would be determined by the facts of his individual case. However, here are some guidelines to keep in mind:
- If the injuries were to the rider’s legs, it is unlikely that his failure to use a helmet would be an issue. He would probably be entitled to fully recover his damages, unless he was negligent in another way—like not using a turn signal.
- If the injuries were to the rider’s neck, face, or head, it is more likely that not wearing a helmet contributed to the severity of the injuries. The injured victim would have his compensation reduced by some percentage.
Even Without a Helment, You Can Still Be Entitled to Compensation after a Crash
Even if the rider is found to be partially at fault by not wearing a helmet, he could still receive a substantial compensation award. So an injured victim shouldn’t let not wearing a helmet stop him from contacting an experienced motorcycle crash attorney as soon as possible to find out about his legal rights.
Have you been injured in a motorcycle crash? If so, check out our testimonials to find out how we’ve helped other victims like you. And call our compassionate and knowledgeable legal team at (817) 380-4888 for a free consultation.