As of 2021, there were over 80,000 registered motorcycles on Louisiana roads.  Along with their popularity, motorcycle fatalities have also been on the increase in recent years. Motorcycle riders accounted for 14% of traffic fatalities in 2020, even though they make up only 3% of all registered vehicles. 

Motorcyclist with Helmet

The numbers do not lie. Motorcycle drivers are at high risk of sustaining serious injuries in the event of an accident. That is why the proper use of safety gear is so important. Even though motorcycle helmets have saved more than 25,000 lives in the last twenty years, their use has severely decreased.  The failure to use a helmet or other motorcycle safety equipment may have a serious impact on the amount of damages an injured rider may recover if they are involved in a crash. 

Does the law require me to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle? 

Louisiana has gone back and forth on the question of whether it is mandatory to wear a helmet when driving or riding a motorcycle. However, since 2004 Louisiana has implemented a strict mandatory helmet law. This law requires that all operators or riders of a motorcycle wear a helmet designed for motorcycles. This includes the presence of a chin strap, lining, padding, and visor. Any motorcycle operator who is found violating this law may be subject to a fine. 

How Will Not Wearing A Helmet Affect My Personal Injury Claim?

The ability to recover after a motor vehicle accident largely depends on which party is at fault in causing the accident. The party at fault is the one who caused the damage that compensation is being sought for. However, fault is often not fully assigned to one party. Fault can be split among the parties involved in an accident in varying degrees depending on the circumstances. A party is only barred from receiving compensation when they are found to be 100% at fault for causing the damages. 

Fault does not totally depend on the injuries caused by one party to another. A party may be found to be at fault for their own injuries if they did not take all reasonably measures to protect themselves from injury as well. This is known as contributory negligence. A court may find that Contributory negligence is present when the injured party contributed to their injuries in some way. 

This is where the importance of wearing a motorcycle helmet will come into play. Motorcycle helmets have been proven to prevent traumatic head injuries. Therefore, if an individual is seeking compensation for a head or brain injury they sustained from a crash while not wearing a helmet, a court may find that they did not take all reasonable measures to protect their safety.

Additionally, since Louisiana law requires riders to wear helmets, the defendant may also use the violation of this law to prove the rider’s contributory negligence. 

The courts reduce a party's compensation from an accident based on the percentage they are found to be at fault. Therefore, the failure to wear a motorcycle helmet may severely impact your right to compensation.

However, this does not mean a party who is not wearing a helmet may not receive damages from an accident or even have their damages reduced. It is very difficult for a defendant to blame your injuries on your actions. Many factors go into the court’s assessment of fault in a crash. The presence of a helmet will have varying effect on fault based on the accident itself. It is important that you contact a personal injury attorney if you find yourself in a situation where you believe your actions may reduce your right to compensation after an accident. 

The attorneys at Scott Vicknair have years of experience in motor vehicle accidents and will fight to ensure you receive the full compensation you deserve. It is crucial to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to help navigate these questions. Contact one of our experienced personal injury attorneys at Scott Vicknair at 504-500-1111 for a free consultation on your personal injury claim today.