Florida Helmet Law:  What You Need to Know

You are riding your motorcycle on a stretch of I-95 in Palm Beach County, not wearing a helmet, when a motorist texting while driving her sports car above the speed limit merges straight into you; she barely glancing up from her phone to check her rear-view mirror before changing lanes.  Your bike is sideswiped by her car and you are thrown from the bike.  In addition to road rash, you suffer two broken legs and various other injuries throughout your body.  Thankfully, you are spared any injuries to your head or brain, even though you were not wearing a helmet at the time of the collision. Incredibly, after you have recovered sufficiently to retain an attorney and file a claim with her insurance, the other driver tries to blame the entire series of events on you and the fact that you were not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.  However, you did not even think you were required to wear a helmet under Florida law.  She also was clearly negligent in texting while operating her vehicle at a high speed and changing lanes without even really checking her mirror.  Who is at fault here under the Florida helmet law?

Florida Helmet Law for Motorcyclists and Their Nuances

Motorcyclists are required to wear helmets under Florida law if they are under 21 or have elected not to carry an insurance policy that provides a minimum of $10,000 in medical benefits.  If, for example, you are 23 and have an insurance policy that provides for $10,000 or more in medical benefits, then you would not be required to wear a helmet while riding your motorcycle in Florida.  However, if you are 20, it does not matter how much insurance you carry, you are required to wear a helmet while riding your motorcycle.

Comparative Negligence in Florida Motorcycle Accidents

Like in any personal injury scenario in Florida, the other side can always argue that you failed to take appropriate precautions to ensure your own safety if you are involved in a motorcycle accident.  This is true regardless of whether you were wearing a helmet or not.  Nevertheless, because Florida does not require that the plaintiff in a personal injury action be without fault in seeking to recover from whoever caused the accident, this argument ultimately does nothing to lessen the negligent party’s responsibility.  Instead, it simply ends up spreading the blame around.

This strategy ultimately may benefit the negligent party’s insurer, but it is not a get-out-of-jail-free card for that person him or herself.  For example, in the scenario above, the motorist that hit you was texting and did not even check her mirrors before changing lanes straight into you.  Therefore, although her defense attorney may think that it sounds good to blame the victim because he was not wearing a helmet, this completely ignores the fact that the driver of the motor vehicle was texting at the time she hit the motorcyclist, so this is likely not going to be a very convincing argument to a jury.  This is simply a silly argument given that, if you are over 21 and carry the proper amount of insurance, then you are not even required to wear a helmet.  In addition, in the scenario above, there really is no negligence on your part that the defense attorney would be able to point to, so he is barking up the wrong tree by somehow trying to argue that the accident was your fault because you were not wearing a helmet.

Contact Schwed, Adams & McGinley

 At Schwed, Adams & McGinley, our experienced personal injury attorneys have more than 150 years of representing the victims of motorcycle accidents, motor vehicle accidents, and all other types of personal injury scenarios in Florida.  During their collective decades of practice, our experienced Florida personal injury attorneys have dealt with defense attorneys who attempt to blame our clients who were injured while on a motorcycle who may not have been wearing a helmet, but were injured due to someone else’s negligence, not because they were not wearing a helmet at the time the accident occurred.  Our attorneys will always seek to obtain maximum compensation for your injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident, regardless of whether the other side tries to fool the jury and somehow imply that since you were not wearing a helmet the other party operating his or her motor vehicle was not negligent.  If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence in Florida, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A today at 877-694-6079 or contact@schwedlawfirm.com for a free consultation.