Motorcycle helmet laws vary significantly from one state to the next. While some states require everyone who gets on a motorcycle, regardless of their age or insurance status, to wear a helmet, others do not require riders over the age of 18 to wear a helmet. Pennsylvania has clear legal standards for when a motorcycle rider must wear a helmet. For more legal information connect with motorcycle accident lawyer.
Table of Contents
- Who Must Wear a Motorcycle Helmet in Pennsylvania?
- Why Should You Wear a Motorcycle Helmet?
- Helmet Labeling
- Protective Eyewear
- Helmet Use and Motorcycle Accident Claims
- Can I File a Motorcycle Accident Claim for TBI if I Did Not Wear a Helmet?
- Contact a Pennsylvania Motorcycle Accident Lawyer for Help
Who Must Wear a Motorcycle Helmet in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania law requires riders to wear a helmet if they:
- Have not yet turned 21
- Do not have at least two years of motorcycle-riding experience
Pennsylvania riders can forego the experience requirement if they have taken a motorcycle safety course that allows them to receive clear instructions about how to stay safe out on the road.
However, the fact that Pennsylvania law does not require riders to wear motorcycle helmets does not necessarily mean that riders should not wear a helmet. Motorcycle helmets have a 67 percent effectiveness rate for preventing traumatic brain injury. Failure to wear a motorcycle helmet may substantially increase the risk of injury in an accident. It may lead to more serious injury when the rider fails to wear a helmet.
Why Should You Wear a Motorcycle Helmet?
While Pennsylvania law may not require motorcycle helmet use, savvy riders know that wearing a helmet and other protective gear can keep them much safer in the event of an accident. Motorcycles offer relatively little protection from the road or another vehicle that strikes the driver. A helmet, on the other hand, may offer protection.
Helmet Use Reduces TBI
Traumatic brain injury can have severe repercussions in many areas of the injured party’s life. A traumatic brain injury can interfere with a patient’s short-term and long-term memory and processing ability. Furthermore, traumatic brain injury can cause a patient to struggle with emotional regulation, which may make it very difficult for the patient to deal with other people or potential challenges faced during the normal course of a workday.
Traumatic brain injury can also cause patients to suffer from headaches and sleep disturbances. Wearing a helmet, however, can significantly decrease the risk of a traumatic brain injury in a motorcycle accident. Wearing a helmet may also help patients avoid the full severity they might face if they got into an accident without a helmet.
Helmet Use Decreases Neck Injuries
Riders who fail to wear motorcycle helmets have twice the risk of injuries to the neck in an accident; Neck injuries can cause substantial complications. Some patients with neck injuries will suffer from ongoing pain whenever they turn their heads, which can interfere with much of their daily function.
In other cases, neck injuries can turn out far worse: patients with a spinal cord injury, for example, may suffer from paralysis below the site of the injury. A motorcycle helmet can cushion and protect against a severe neck injury, which may help many patients stay safer.
Helmet Use Reduces Facial Injuries
A motorcycle accident can result in severe facial injuries, including road rash and broken bones in the face. Even when working with a plastic surgeon, patients may not fully restore their former appearance following severe facial injuries. Failure to wear a motorcycle helmet may also increase the risk of significant dental injuries in the accident. A motorcycle helmet, particularly one with a face shield, can provide a great deal of protection to the face, keeping the rider safer.
Wearing a Helmet Can Reduce the Risk of Death in an Accident
Wearing a motorcycle helmet leads to a 42 percent reduction in the risk that you will die in a motorcycle accident. Head injuries can cause death immediately, as can severe injuries to the neck. Having a correctly-worn helmet in place can significantly reduce the risk of death in an accident. Motorcycle riders often represent a disproportionately high rate of auto accident deaths, even though they make up a relatively small percentage of the drivers on the road.
Pennsylvania law also outlines how helmet manufacturers must label helmets to ensure compliance. First, Pennsylvania motorcycle riders must wear DOT-certified helmets.
The helmet must also contain permanent information about:
- The manufacturer
- The model
- When and where the helmet was manufactured
Only the DOT certification sticker must appear on the outside of the helmet. However, the other information about the helmet must appear somewhere easily accessible on the helmet for informational purposes.
Pennsylvania law also notes that motorcycle riders must wear protective eyewear. Wearing goggles, a shielded helmet, or shatterproof eye protection can help protect against bugs and road debris flying into the eyes.
A motorcycle rider who gets something in his eye may have difficulty keeping his eyes open, which can interfere substantially with his ability to safely navigate the road. Some helmets come equipped with shields that will help keep wind and debris out of the rider’s eyes, while in other cases, the rider may have to wear separate eyewear to protect his eyes out on the road. Failure to wear protective eyewear means a rider does not comply with Pennsylvania law and may face the consequences.
Helmet Use and Motorcycle Accident Claims
Pennsylvania law does not require motorcycle riders to wear a helmet, so your decision not to wear a helmet may not impact your motorcycle accident claim substantially. It can, however, mean that you will suffer more severe injuries in your accident, which can complicate your recovery and the claim process.
If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident, regardless of whether you had on a helmet at the time of the accident, remember that the insurance company may have an intrinsic bias against you as a motorcycle rider. Working with a lawyer can go a long way toward helping you figure out how to navigate your next steps as you handle your motorcycle accident claim.
Get in Touch With a Lawyer as Soon as Possible
You do not want to wait around to get in touch with a lawyer after a motorcycle accident that resulted in any serious injuries. Even minor injuries, like broken bones, can cost thousands of dollars in medical costs. You may have the right to compensation for those financial losses.
However, in many cases, you may fight with the insurance company to get that much-needed compensation. The sooner you get in touch with a lawyer, the sooner a lawyer can start working on your behalf.
That may mean that a lawyer can:
- Collect evidence related to your claim. A lawyer can get a clearer idea of all the factors that may have contributed to your motorcycle accident when the investigation starts soon after the initial event.
- Connect with witnesses and get statements about what those witnesses observed at the time of the accident. Witness memory can grow increasingly faulty with time, making it essential to get in touch with a lawyer as soon after your accident as possible.
- Deal with the insurance company for you.
Avoid Dealing With the Insurance Company Directly
It may surprise you how quickly you hear from the insurance company after your motorcycle accident. In many cases, you may receive contact from the insurance company within a short time after the accident. The insurance company may even come to you with a settlement offer already in mind. However, that early settlement offer may not reflect the compensation you deserve, especially if you sustained significant injuries in the accident.
Let a lawyer take care of dealing with the insurance company on your behalf. The insurance company may try several tactics to limit the compensation it has to pay for your injuries: not just submitting a low initial settlement offer and pressuring you to take it but also using information from your conversation to help shape the claim.
Do you feel guilty about not wearing a helmet or for any condition that may have led to your accident? An admission of that guilt to the insurance company could cause the insurance company to put some of the liability for the accident on you, reducing the compensation you can take home.
Do you tend to brush off your injuries and suffering in conversation with others? It could prevent the insurance company from paying out the full compensation you deserve since the insurance agent may use that information to show that you did not really suffer the limitations you claim from your motorcycle accident.
Dealing with the aftermath of a motorcycle accident can prove complicated enough at the best of times. Let your lawyer take care of those interactions, so you do not miss out on much-needed compensation for your injuries.
Keep Track of Your Medical Records and Bills
Whether you wore a helmet or not, a motorcycle accident can still result in serious injuries. You may spend a long time in recovery, accumulating an increasing pile of medical bills. Keep track of all the bills you receive for your care. Make sure that co-pay and deductible amounts fall into that category. Your medical records and bills will be the essential foundation of your motorcycle accident claim. They show some of the biggest financial losses you faced from your motorcycle accident and clearly lay out your suffering.
Start Your Claim Before the Statute of Limitations Runs Out
If you contact a lawyer soon after your accident, your lawyer will make sure you stay on track and do not miss out on key deadlines for filing your claim and pursuing the compensation you deserve. However, many motorcycle accident victims with severe injuries will put off contacting a lawyer.
In Pennsylvania, you have two years from the accident to file a lawsuit. The court may refuse to hear your claim if you do not start file suit before that deadline. Your lawyer can help identify any exceptions to the statute of limitations that apply to your case.
Can I File a Motorcycle Accident Claim for TBI if I Did Not Wear a Helmet?
Failure to wear a helmet can increase your risk of TBI and other devastating injuries after a motorcycle accident. However, you still have the right to file an injury claim after a motorcycle accident involving traumatic brain injury, even if you did not wear a helmet at the time of the accident. Get in touch with a motorcycle accident lawyer to learn more about your rights.
Contact a Pennsylvania Motorcycle Accident Lawyer for Help
If you suffered an injury in a Pennsylvania motorcycle accident, regardless of whether you wore a helmet, get in touch with a Pennsylvania motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. Personal injury law firm in Pennsylvania can guide you through the claim process and provide you with essential support as they seek maximum compensation for you.