While Texas law technically allows those over 21 (with applicable insurance plans) to ride without a helmet, the practice is incredibly unsafe and could even hurt your ability to recover compensation should you suffer a serious accident.
Mile for mile, motorcyclists and their passengers are 27 times more likely to be killed in an accident than those in traditional motor vehicles. Motorcycles are less stable, harder to for other drivers to see, and offer very little protection in the event of a crash. Not only is a motorcycle helmet considered the most-basic piece of personal protective equipment for motorcyclists, they account for thousands of lives saved each and every year.
According to The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, helmets are about 42 percent effective in preventing motorcycle accident deaths and about 69 percent effective in preventing brain injuries. Some may argue that motorcycle helmets do nothing to prevent crashes, and that’s true—but there’s no debating the fact that helmets save lives.
Motorcycle helmets are mandatory in Texas, but riders over the age of 21 (who also have an applicable insurance plan) may be exempted from this requirement. I do feel it’s important to note that this exemption only applies to criminal penalties associated with riding without a helmet, and does not address the issue of liability and/or comparative negligence when it comes to a motorcycle accident causing injury or wrongful death.
While motorcycles, ATVs, and similar vehicles offer little-to-no protection to riders and passengers involved in an accident, a helmet is primarily structured to protect your head and brain from traumatic blunt force trauma. Statistics show that the majority of car-vs-motorcycle accidents are caused by the driver of the car, and it’s not uncommon for even a low-speed collision to result in a rider (and/or passenger) being thrown from the bike.
One of the more severe injuries that helmets are designed protect motorcyclist from are what doctors call traumatic brain injuries. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a complex brain dysfunction that results from a violent blow to the head. If serious enough, a TBI can result in long-term complications and even death. Brain injuries are unfortunately-common in motorcycle accidents, but those who wear their helmets are about three times less likely to suffer from TBI in the even of a crash.
While I understand why some people choose to ride without a helmet in Texas, as a Dallas accident injury attorney, I’ve seen first-hand how incredibly effective motorcycle helmets can be when it comes to preventing catastrophic injuries and wrongful deaths.
As a motorcyclist, you should be aware that your decision to ride without a helmet could impact your ability to successfully pursue a personal injury claim against the person who caused the accident.
Texas is a comparative negligence state. This means that the amount of damages (compensation) that a victim can recover in a personal injury or wrongful death claim will be reduced based upon the degree to which the victim’s own negligence contributed to the injury. Even when the accident is clearly the fault of another motorist, if it can be successfully argued that your failure to wear a helmet played a significant role in the severity of your injuries, any compensation you’re seeking may be drastically reduced.
While it would be difficult to argue that failing to wear a helmet contributed to road rash or a broken arm/leg, if you suffered a head injury or TBI, you can be certain that the insurance company will attempt to shift a large portion of comparative negligence onto you.
Without an attorney on your side to look out for your best interests, you have little leverage against the insurance company. They have a team of attorneys already working to find any reason to reduce the value of your claim, and without someone in your corner willing to take them to court, they have no reason to fairly negotiate.
Luckily, the Dallas attorneys at Montgomery Law are here to help people just like you. Our law firm works on a strict no-win no-fee policy, meaning you will never pay attorneys fees unless and until we actually win your case. We’re available 24 hours a day by email or phone, and invite you to contact us today for a free consultation at 214-720-6090 (local) or 1-833-720-6090 (toll-free).