In Missouri and Illinois, it is legal for most motorcycle drivers to ride their motorcycles without wearing a helmet. Though it’s not necessarily a choice we condone, as motorcycle accidents can be fatally dangerous even when the driver is wearing a helmet, from a legal standpoint, this means that if you were involved in a crash while riding your motorcycle without a helmet, you still have the right to seek compensation for the injuries you suffered. There are, however, other risks to consider outside of bodily injury when it comes to deciding whether or not to pull on your helmet before your next ride.

Q: What are the laws regarding helmet use in Missouri and Illinois?

A: As of August of 2020, properly licensed motorcyclists over the age of 26 and who also possess proof of health insurance are legally permitted to ride their motorcycles without wearing a helmet. No matter if they drive their motorcycle on the highway or down residential streets, those drivers who meet these criteria are not required to wear a helmet while driving.

Q: What kinds of injuries can occur when a motorcycle helmet isn’t worn?

A: Because of its small size and lack of the same protective features that many cars have, when a motorcycle is involved in an accident, the damage and injuries can be extremely severe for the driver. If you add to that equation that the driver was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, the injuries can be completely devastating. Most commonly for those drivers not wearing a helmet, head injuries can occur when they hit the pavement or collide with another object. The worst of these are traumatic brain injuries (TBI), which can lead to blindness, loss of bodily functions, paralysis, and in many cases, death.

Q: Can I still recover damages after my accident if I wasn’t wearing a helmet?

A: Yes, it is still possible to recover damages after an accident on your motorcycle even if you were not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. Legally, not wearing a helmet does not affect your right to claim compensation after an accident caused by another motorist. In Missouri and Illinois, accident victims can even pursue a claim for damages if they were partially responsible for causing the accident and their resulting injuries. Even so, it is possible that your claim and compensation could be negatively affected if you decided not to wear a helmet at the time of your crash.

Q: How does not wearing a helmet affect my personal injury claim? 

A: Even though you are legally permitted to not wear a helmet while riding your motorcycle if you meet the necessary criteria, deciding not to wear one and being involved in a crash could affect the compensation you receive because of a rule called comparative negligence. While comparative negligence allows you to recover compensation from the at-fault party even if you are found to be partially at-fault for the accident as well, at the same time, it may prevent you from obtaining the full compensation you are seeking because of the role you played in causing the accident.

Q: Will my insurance company use my lack of a helmet against me?

A: When the accident is investigated and it’s discovered that their insured motorcycle driver was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, many insurance providers will consider the decision to not wear a helmet a contributing factor to the way in which and the level at which the injuries were suffered. In other words, they will argue by way of comparative negligence that the decision to not wear a helmet contributed to the severity of the injuries suffered. As a result, they may decide to not provide the full compensation needed to completely cover your medical expenses because you are considered as being partially at fault for the injuries suffered—even if you were not necessarily at-fault for causing the accident itself.

Q: How can a lawyer help me if I wasn’t wearing a helmet during my motorcycle accident?

A: There are several complicated laws and rules at play when it comes to accidents involving motorcycle drivers not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. For this reason, a trained legal professional such as a personal injury attorney or motorcycle crash attorney should be sought out when the compensation offered by the insurance company isn’t sufficient. A lawyer can help you navigate the laws to help create the foundation of your case, then build upon it with proper evidence and argument. That’s the best way to ensure you get the highest amount of compensation you possibly can so that  your recovery process comes with peace of mind.

Secure Your Compensation Even Without a Helmet

Were you injured in a motorcycle accident while not wearing a helmet? You might still be entitled to compensation for your injuries. At Finney Injury Law, we understand the complexities of these cases and are dedicated to helping you navigate the legal process.

Contact us today to discuss your case. Our knowledgeable team is here to evaluate your situation and fight for the compensation you deserve. Don’t let the absence of a helmet deter you from seeking justice. Schedule your free consultation now and take the first step towards recovery and justice.