April 10, 2024

Motorcycle Head Injury and Helmets: The Impact of Not Wearing a Helmet

Feltoon Law, PLLC

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Whether you are a seasoned driver or newly licensed, wearing a helmet should be essential part of any motorcycle ride. The importance for all motorcyclists to wear helmets cannot be overstated, as they act as the best form of protection against potential life threatening injuries. 

In this article, we discuss the critical importance of helmet usage in motorcycle safety, examining its role in reducing the risks of head injuries and safeguarding riders’ well-being. From exploring the various types of traumatic brain injuries to navigating the legal implications of helmet use in insurance claims, this comprehensive guide aims to empower motorcyclists with the knowledge to protect themselves on the road.

Motorcycle Head Injury With No Helmet

With their small size, instability, and lack of protective features, motorcycles can be a risky option for the roadway. In fact, compared to riders of other vehicle types, motorcycle riders face a 24x increased risk of death in a crash. 

The best way to reduce the risk of death or serious injury in a motorcycle crash is to wear a helmet. In the event of a crash or collision, a helmet absorbs and disperses the impact forces that would otherwise directly affect the rider’s head. A 2008 study found that helmets are shown to decrease the likelihood of head injury by approximately 69% and decrease the risk of death by roughly 42%.

Potential Head Injuries

Motorcycle accidents can result in various types of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). TBIs result from a forceful jolt to the head or from an object piercing the skull into the brain. Examples of TBIs include concussions, skull fractures, brain bleeding, and brain bruising. 

Mild TBIs may result in symptoms including headache, dizziness, and confusion. Severe TBIs are much more dangerous and can result in long lasting symptoms such as personality changes, memory and attention issues, a reduction in motor skills, and paralysis. Severe TBIs are also associated with higher rates of Alzheimers, Dementia, and Parkinson’s Disease. 

Helmet Requirements for Motorcycles in Austin, TX

In Austin, Texas, all motorcyclists under the age of 21 are mandated by law to wear a helmet. For those age 21 and older, helmets are optional for bikers that fit into the following categories:

  1. Completion of a state-approved motorcycle safety course
  2. Owning insurance that provides coverage for medical expenses resulting from a motorcycle accident

Despite these privileges, exempted bikers should still consider wearing a helmet while out on the road. Helmets not only protect from potentially severe head injuries, but wearing a helmet can also ensure you receive fair compensation after a crash.

How Helmets Can Affect Insurance Compensation After a Crash

Any motorcyclist can seek insurance compensation for injuries caused by reckless or negligent driving, regardless of helmet usage. However, insurance companies may hand out less compensation to motorcyclists that didn’t wear a helmet. Choosing to not wear a helmet can be viewed as negligence, especially if any head injuries occurred because of it. 

In Texas law, there is a system of “proportional responsibility” for determining fault in accidents. This means compensation can reduce if the injured party is found partially at fault for their injuries. So, if it’s determined that not wearing a helmet made injuries worse, the compensation awarded in the insurance claim may be reduced proportionally. In other words, if the motorcyclist is found 15% at fault for not wearing a helmet, their compensation will be reduced by 15%.

Legal Action After a Motorcycle Head Injury With No Helmet

If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, it is essential that you speak to an experienced personal injury attorney. A skilled attorney will advocate for your rights and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. 

In Austin, TX, Feltoon Law is a trusted personal injury firm. To learn more about our practice call (737) 281-9100.

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