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How Will Not Wearing a Helmet Affect My Illinois Motorcycle Accident Claim?

A majority of states have motorcycle helmet laws on the books. Some states have laws that apply to all motorcycle riders, regardless of age, while the majority of states have limited laws that apply to riders of a certain age group, usually those under 18. Illinois is one of only three states that do not have a law requiring motorcycle riders to wear a helmet.

Many states use the safety benefits of a helmet and the high cost of head injuries to support the existing helmet laws on the book. However, some states say wearing a helmet does not prevent or reduce the most serious of motorcycle injuries. Other points of support against a broad helmet law include no proof that wearing a bright helmet makes a rider more visible or that wearing a seatbelt is like wearing a helmet.

Although there is no helmet law on the books in Illinois, it is important to understand that if you choose not to wear one and you are involved in an accident, it could be used against you when you try to pursue the full compensation you deserve.

Motorcycle Injuries From Which Helmets Will Not Protect You

Helmets can certainly prevent or reduce head injuries in a motorcycle accident, but there are some injuries that may not be prevented by wearing a helmet. These can include: 

  • Spine Injuries: If you are thrown off the motorcycle and land on your back, you could injure your spine. Wearing a helmet would not protect your back from a spinal cord injury, herniated disk, or a fractured vertebra.
  • Internal Bleeding: Blood loss is a common factor in motorcycle fatalities. Internal organs have no real protection in an accident, and there is no correlation to helmets here, either. If there is internal bleeding, it should be taken seriously. You need to seek emergency treatment right away.
  • Motion Related Head Injuries: There is a chance that you could sustain a head injury that wearing a helmet would not help. For example, if your head is shaken about in the accident, a helmet will not protect you from the violent back and forth motion. It will only protect you if your head hits the pavement, as well.

In cases involving these types of injuries, your Rockford motorcycle accident attorney would argue that wearing or not wearing a helmet had no bearing on these injuries and that you should be awarded the full amount of compensation requested. 

Now, if you sustained a skull fracture because your head hit the pavement and you were not wearing a helmet, it is up to the jury or judge to decide on whether or not they want to assign a percentage of fault to you. If they do, then any award you receive could be reduced by the amount of fault you are assigned. For example, if the jury awards you $100K and also determines you are 5% at fault for not wearing your helmet, then your total compensation would be $95,000.

Contact an Illinois Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today

 If you need assistance pursuing a claim for damages in an Illinois motorcycle accident, contact Brassfield & Krueger, Ltd. to schedule an initial consultation.

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