Every state across the country has laws regarding the use of motorcycle helmets. In some places, motorcycle helmets are required for every rider, regardless of age. However, that is not the case in Texas. In this state, only those under the age of 21 are required to wear a motorcycle helmet at all times.
What the Law Says
When we look at information directly from the Texas Department of Transportation, we can see that even though there is no universal motorcycle helmet requirement in this state, there are certain individuals who do have to wear a helmet at all times. Any motorcycle rider under the age of 21 must wear a helmet anytime they are on the motorcycle in motion.
Any motorcycle driver or passenger who is 21 years of age or older does not have to wear a helmet if they meet one of the following exemption requirements:
They complete an approved motorcycle operator training course, or
The rider has medical insurance coverage of at least $10,000 to handle any injuries they may sustain in an accident.
Even if individuals meet a requirement that allows them to not wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle, we strongly encourage all motorcyclists to consider wearing a helmet. Information presented by the National Safety Council indicates that more than 25,000 lives were saved by motorcyclists wearing helmets between the years 2002 and 2017.
The CDC says that helmets reduce the risk of head injuries for motorcyclists by 69% and are 37% effective at preventing deaths that would otherwise have occurred for motorcycle drivers. The agency also says that the US could save $1.5 billion in economic costs each year if every motorcyclist wore a helmet.
Will Not Wearing a Helmet Affect Compensation After an Accident
Not wearing a helmet could affect how much compensation a motorcyclist receives if they are involved in an accident and sustained a head injury, but only in certain circumstances. If a motorcyclist is required to wear a helmet by law, meaning they are under 21 or do not meet one of the exemptions mentioned above, then not wearing a helmet could affect compensation recovery.
A jury could find that the motorcyclist was partially at fault for the incident because they failed to follow the law by not wearing a helmet, but this will only matter if it can be proven that wearing a helmet would have prevented the injury. For example, if a motorcyclist sustains a broken leg in an accident, the failure to wear a helmet will not affect their injury claim. However, if a motorcyclist who was supposed to be wearing a helmet sustains a head injury, they could be held partially liable and receive reduced compensation.
If a motorcyclist was legally not wearing a helmet and was involved in an accident that caused a head injury, it may be harder to place partial fault onto them because they did not break the law by not wearing a helmet.
If you or somebody you love has been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by the negligence of another driver, we encourage you to reach out to a skilled Houston motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney can work to gather the evidence needed to prove liability and help you recover complete compensation for your losses.