Motorcyclists do not have the protection afforded by the interior of a car, truck, or SUV, which puts them in far greater danger if a collision occurs. Even though people on motorcycles make up a small percentage of the total number of motorists involved in collisions, they have high fatality rates, especially when not wearing helmets.
Without a helmet, bikers can suffer serious brain damage or even fatal injuries. If you or a loved one suffered a brain injury due to a motorcycle accident, call the top New York personal injury lawyers at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, at (212) 986-7353 to discuss your case for free.
In New York State, everyone on a motorcycle, driver and passengers, must wear a helmet approved by federal motor vehicle safety standards, which includes pretty much any helmet legally sold in the U.S. for motorcycle protection. The driver of a motorcycle must also have goggles or a face shield to protect from wind and ensure proper visibility. It is worth noting these rules apply to anyone on a moped or similar vehicle that has a top speed of 20 mph or more.
Some people may wonder why helmets are required by law for anyone riding a motorcycle. NY Department of Health statistics are pretty clear on this subject. For example:
- In 2015, more than 1,700 motorcyclists across the U.S. were saved by wearing helmets.
- Head injury is the leading cause of death in motorcycle crashes.
- Motorcycle helmets are estimated to be 37% effective in preventing fatal head injuries for motorcycle drivers, and 42% effective for passengers.
- Helmets are 67% effective in preventing brain injuries in crashes.
- Motorcycles riders without helmets are three times more likely to have a brain injury due to a crash than helmeted riders.
In some cases, a defective helmet can allow head injury to a biker. In these situations, the manufacturer of the helmet may be liable for the injuries. Proving this negligence, however, can be quite difficult, which is why it is so important to have an experienced NY motorcycle accident attorney on your side.
Traumatic brain injuries can alter the rest of a person’s life. Even if a reasonable standard of living can be attained with medical help, the victim’s daily quality of life can be so altered that personal relationships and even marriages can suffer as a consequence.
If a passenger is allowed to ride a motorcycle without a helmet by owner of that motorcycle, that would be seen as an act of negligence, and the owner may be held partially responsible for the passenger’s injuries.
If you choose to ride your motorcycle without a helmet, perhaps for a quick trip down the block, and are struck by a driver, will that affect your claim? To some degree, yes. New York works on a comparative negligence system, which means you can bring a legal claim if the defendant was ANY degree at fault, but the amount you’re awarded by a jury will be reduced by your percentage of fault. If the jury decides you were 10% at fault for not wearing a helmet, you’d lose 10% of whatever final amount the jury gave you. However, it is usually still worthwhile to pursue a claim, and a skilled NY motorcycle accident lawyer will work around your situation.
If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury due to a motorcycle accident, you may be able to hold another negligent party responsible. Call Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, at (212) 986-7353 and make sure your rights are protected.
Michael Fitzpatrick obtained a settlement for a 58-year-old man who was riding his motorcycle when he was struck by the defendant's vehicle exiting a driveway.
Kenneth J. Halperin represented a motorcycle driver in upstate New York who was ejected from his motorcycle when he ran over a patch of small rocks in a roadway, causing him to lose control of his bike.