While many motorcyclists in Des Moines like to ride without a helmet – which is their legal right – it can contribute to devastating injuries in the event of an accident. According to a 2012 factsheet provided by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau, over the past five years, 83 percent of all individuals killed while riding motorcycles in the state were not wearing helmets.
For those who survive a motorcycle crash in Iowa while not wearing helmets, there may be large monetary costs associated with the physical rehabilitation and medical treatments for head and spine injuries. In that case, the injured should speak with an attorney who is familiar with how helmet laws and helmet use might affect a claim for compensation.
Iowa Motorcycle Helmet Laws
Iowa does not have any law in place that requires motorcyclists to ride with helmets. Although this has led to debates over whether or not more lives could be saved if a law was in place, it does mean that riders who were not wearing a helmet at the time of an accident were not breaking the law. That said, because of the comparative negligence laws in the state, failure to use a motorcycle helmet may affect an injured biker's recovery of damages in some cases.
Comparative Negligence in Iowa
The state also uses a system of comparative negligence when examining liability in a car accident. This ultimately means that a party injured in a motorcycle or car accident may be awarded a percentage of damages minus the share of the blame they are assessed. If the rider is more than 50 percent at fault for an accident and injuries, however, the injured rider will not be eligible to recover any compensation at all.
In the case of a motorcycle accident claim, if the injured party suffered head and/or spine injuries in a wreck but was not wearing a helmet at the time, the rider may be deemed partially at fault for neglecting to wear a helmet to protect his or her head and neck. Thus, the injured motorcyclist may not recover the full amount of damages.
Of course, if the rider broke his or her leg and suffered no head injuries, then helmet use would not be a factor in the case and would not affect recovery of damages.
Contact an Attorney for Help after a Des Moines Wreck
Because the laws regarding motorcycle helmets and fault in motorcycle accidents can be difficult to navigate, it is important to speak to an accident attorney if you have suffered head injuries and were not wearing a motorcycle helmet. The attorneys at Walker, Billingsley & Bair can help you understand the laws that pertain to your case and compile the evidence you need for your accident claim. Feel free to contact us today at (888) 435-9886 to set up an initial consultation. You also can contact us online.