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Does Not Wearing a Helmet Affect Liability for a Motorcycle Accident?

Does Not Wearing A Helmet Affect Liability For A Motorcycle Accident?

Motorcycle riders and passengers are required by law to wear helmets in Virginia. A rider will not necessarily be automatically responsible for a collision if they are not wearing one, but due to the state’s contributory negligence doctrine, not wearing a helmet could have an impact on your injury claim. Here, we’ll discuss the motorcycle helmet laws in the Commonwealth of Virginia and what you can do to protect your injury case and liability for a motorcycle accident.

Understanding Helmet Laws in Virginia

According to Virginia Code § 46.2-910, a person who operates a motorcycle must:

  • Wear safety glasses or goggles or a face shield; or
  • Have the motorcycle equipped with a windshield or safety glass while operating the motorcycle; and
  • Wear a protective helmet

Passengers are also required to wear protective helmets.

Face shields, helmets, and safety glasses or goggles must meet or exceed specifications and standards set by the American National Standards Institute, Inc., the Federal Department of Transportation, or the Snell Memorial Foundation.

Anyone operating or riding a motorcycle with wheels no more than eight inches in diameter or a three-wheeled motorcycle containing a windshield, nonremovable roof, or enclosed body is not required to wear a protective helmet.

How Shared Fault Could Prevent the Recovery of Compensation

Wearing a helmet can mitigate the risk of severe injury or death in a motorcycle accident. Although they can’t prevent all injuries, helmets can protect your head and brain from the violent impact of a crash.

Wearing a helmet can also improve a person’s chance of receiving compensation in a personal injury case. But failing to wear a helmet doesn’t constitute negligence for an accident under state law. The court can’t assign fault if that’s your only mistake. However, the court could determine you’re partially responsible for the accident if you also engaged in misconduct, such as speeding, distracted driving, or tailgating.

Virginia follows a pure contributory negligence doctrine. That means a victim who shares even 1% fault for their own injury cannot seek compensation from the other at-fault party.

For example, if a jury determines a drunk driver is 95% liable for your motorcycle crash, but you were 5% at fault for lane splitting, you would not be allowed to recover a financial award, despite sharing significantly less responsibility for the accident.

Not wearing a helmet could complicate pursuing compensation from the negligent driver, so it’s crucial to have an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer on your side.

Contact Us

At Invictus Law, we provide top-notch legal representation to those injured in accidents in our community. Our award-winning motorcycle accident lawyers in Virginia Beach, VA have been recognized for our work by Super Lawyers and the National Trial Lawyers. We also hold a 10.0 Superb rating from Avvo.

If you sustained personal injuries in a motorcycle accident due to someone else’s negligence, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Even if you were not wearing a helmet, it might be possible to recover compensation. Our consultations are 100% free, so there is no risk to discuss the specifics of your case with us.

Call Invictus Law today for your free consultation at (757) 317-5125 or fill out our contact form online.


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