Personal Injury, Helmets, and the Law

Helmets can make or break a personal injury case. It all depends on what the law says about liability, and how a judge and jury will react.

Helmets are not mandatory in all states. Iowa, for example, no longer has a helmet law. It had one in 1968 when the state legislature was forced to enact one when the federal government made it a condition to getting funds released. When this pressure was lifted in 1986, Iowa repealed the law, so motorcycle riders have no legal motivation to wear one when on the road.

Studies consistently show that helmets reduce the severity of head injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents, and this can be used by a defendant in a personal injury suit to shift at least part of the blame to the plaintiff. Proving that a third party was negligent is by default an uphill battle when the plaintiff was on a motorcycle because there is a tendency for people to believe that motorcycle riders frequently engage in a risky behavior. In Iowa, having a helmet at the time of the incident can help dispel this impression under the guidance of a skilled and shrewd motorcycle accident lawyer.

Another law that has significance in personal injury claims is found in Iowa Code Chapter 688 which deals with tort liability. Iowa follows the comparative negligence doctrine, wherein a plaintiff who is partially at-fault for an accident can still recover partial damages, but only if the percentage of fault assigned is less than that of the defendant/s.  Not wearing a helmet can contribute significantly to the assigning of fault.

So what it all boils down to is that it makes overall sense to just wear the darn things, even if it gives you helmet hair. If you are involved in an accident in Iowa and get seriously injured, at least your lawyer can point out that even though you didn’t have to, you still wore a helmet. This goes a long way to convincing a jury at least that you are probably not in the habit of taking risks, and rule your way more favorably.

2 Responses to “ “Personal Injury, Helmets, and the Law”

  1. Pohl Berk says:

    I shared this with my friends.

  2. HachandRose says:

    I really love this style of blog, thanks for writing.

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