Riding with a helmet

Our Car Accident Lawyer Explains Florida’s Motorcycle Helmet Law and How Not Wearing a Helmet Impacts Your Claim

Helmets are an essential piece of protection for motorcyclists sharing the road with larger vehicles. Florida has a helmet law in place to protect riders, but like many states, it is a partial helmet law, which means it does not apply to every motorcyclist. If you’re a motorcycle rider, it’s important to understand both the legal and safety ramifications of choosing not to wear a helmet. Our motorcycle accident attorney at Spetsas Buist explains Florida’s motorcycle helmet law, its exceptions, and how the law may impact your claim if you were not wearing a helmet during your accident.

Florida’s Motorcycle Helmet Law

Florida’s 2023 Statutes declare that anyone operating a motorcycle must wear (and properly use) protective headgear and an eye-protective device. All helmets must comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218, which defines helmet size, positioning, impact site, and more.

Motorcycle Helmet Law Enforcement in Florida

Enforcement of Florida’s motorcycle helmet law isn’t as clear as the law itself; it does not state whether police officers enforce the law as a primary or secondary offense. Police can stop helmet-less riders to check insurance and age, but many do not due to the difficulty of determining a rider’s age from afar.

Exceptions to Florida’s Motorcycle Helmet Law

There are some exceptions to Florida’s motorcycle helmet law. For example, if your motorcycle has an enclosed cab attached, passengers riding in that cab are exempt from wearing helmets. Riders over 21 years old may also choose not to wear a helmet, but only if they hold an insurance policy that covers at least $10,000 in medical benefits in case of injury in a crash.

Rules for Passengers and Young Riders

If passengers are not riding in an enclosed cab, they are also required to wear proper head protection. Riders under 16 years old must abide by stricter rules. All younger riders must wear proper helmets while driving mopeds, and their headgear must still comply with all Federal Motor Vehicle Standard 218 requirements.

Safety Considerations When Deciding Whether or Not to Wear a Helmet

Whether or not helmets are legally required and enforced, helmets are a vital piece of protective equipment for all riders. Helmet use reduces the risk of fatal injuries by 42% and the risk of head injuries by 69%. In a state with more fatal motorcycle accidents per resident than in other states, helmet use is even more important to protect yourself.

How Not Wearing a Helmet Affects Your Claim

If a rider was exempt from wearing a helmet and was in an accident caused by another driver, they may file a lawsuit against the other driver. However, if the motorcycle driver was required by law to wear a helmet, the amount of compensation they can recover may be reduced.

The Role of Comparative Negligence in Accidents Involving Riders Without Helmets

Florida is a comparative negligence state, so if a plaintiff is found to share some fault in the accident, their compensation will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to them. If they are assigned more than 50% fault, they are barred from receiving compensation.

If you were not wearing a helmet but were required to do so under Florida law, the opposing party’s insurance adjuster will claim that you contributed to your own injuries and thus share fault in the accident. If a jury decides that you carry 20% liability due to your missing headgear, then you will only be able to receive up to 80% of the compensation you may otherwise receive.

Potential Compensation if You’ve Been in a Motorcycle Accident

If you’ve suffered injuries due to a motorcycle accident, you may be eligible for compensation. The damages for which you may receive compensation include:

If your relative passed away as a result of a motorcycle accident, you may be able to bring a wrongful death claim against the other driver.

How Our Experienced Florida Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You After a Motorcycle Accident

With regular experience gaining policy-limit compensation for clients, our motorcycle accident attorneys at Spetsas Buist can help you protect your rights and seek the compensation you need to pay your bills and move forward after a traumatic accident. Take it from our clients – we’ll fight for you like family. Request a free consultation today.