Motorcycle Helmet Law and Head Injuries
Many people ride motorcycles for the freedom that they provide. Unfortunately, many drivers of larger vehicles are not as careful as they should be when sharing the road with motorcyclists. With little to protect the motorcyclist, they may suffer catastrophic injuries, including serious injuries to the head. If you are a motorcyclist in East Tennessee, you may be wondering about the motorcycle helmet law and head injuries that you may have suffered. Maryville motorcycle accident lawyer Mark Hartsoe can explain your options and guide you through the legal process.Motorcycle Helmet Law and Head Injuries
Head injuries may have significant consequences, especially if they involve traumatic brain injuries. A traumatic brain injury may put an accident victim into a coma or result in cognitive deficits that alter the victim's ability to earn a living or function in their daily life.
In order to protect motorcycle riders, Tennessee maintains a mandatory crash helmet law under Section 55-9302 of Title 55, Chapter 9, Part 3. A driver of a motorcycle or motorized bicycle, as well as a passenger, are required to wear a crash helmet that meets the federal motor vehicle safety standards specified in 49 CFR 571.218 (as well as other standards) if they are under age 21. The law does not apply to people in an enclosed cab and certain other limited situations.
A failure to wear a motorcycle helmet may also have consequences for a personal injury case involving head injuries. A defendant may argue that your head injuries were caused by your failure to wear a motorcycle helmet, rather than their careless conduct. A failure to wear a motorcycle helmet is likely to be considered negligence per se, or negligence as a matter of law.
Tennessee follows the doctrine of modified comparative negligence. If this doctrine applies to a certain personal injury case, the judge or jury assigns a percentage of fault to each party involved in the accident and awards damages that are proportionate to the defendant's degree of fault. However, if a plaintiff's percentage of fault is 50% or greater, they will be barred from recovering compensation. They may recover an amount proportionate to the defendant's fault if they are 49% or less responsible for their injuries.
It may be necessary to hire an experienced expert in biomechanics or medicine to testify on the issue of whether your head injuries would have been as severe or as widespread if you had worn a motorcycle helmet. If they would have been the same either way, you may not be affected by a failure to wear a helmet. Mark Hartsoe can retain a persuasive expert and present testimony on the scope and origin of your injuries.
More generally, the existence of this law is a reason for motorcyclists to wear a helmet while they are enjoying a ride. If you are unfortunate enough to be struck by a careless driver, you would want to be able to recover all of the compensation that you need, rather than having it reduced based on the doctrine of modified comparative negligence.Consult Maryville Lawyer Mark Hartsoe for Your Motorcycle Accident Case
A motorcycle helmet may save the life of a motorcyclist, and it also may reduce the risk of a serious head injury. A failure to wear a motorcycle helmet may complicate cases that otherwise would be fairly straightforward, such as those involving a drunk driver or a missed stoplight. If you are concerned about the motorcycle helmet law and head injuries, you should consult experienced Maryville attorney Mark Hartsoe. Call the Hartsoe Law Firm at (865) 524-5657 or contact us via our online form for a free consultation with a motor vehicle collision lawyer. Hartsoe represents people throughout East Tennessee, including in Blount, Knox, Monroe, Loudon, Jefferson, Grainger, Cocke, Campbell, Hamblen, Greene, Anderson, Cumberland, and Fentress Counties.