A novelty motorcycle helmet is a helmet that is not certified to meet U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). While some states require motorcyclists to wear DOT-approved helmets while riding, other states, including Iowa, have no helmet law.
As such, motorcyclists are welcome to wear a novelty helmet, a DOT-approved helmet or no helmet at all. While the former and latter don't provide optimal safety, there is no law found in Iowa Code 321.275 - Operation of Motorcycles, to suggest otherwise. However, there is extensive research showing that wearing protection like helmets and other safety gear for motorcyclists significantly increases the likelihood of getting out of a crash without disability.
What will happen if I wear a novelty helmet and then get in a crash?
If you were involved in a motorcycle accident while wearing a novelty helmet, the at-fault party might try to argue that you are partially to blame for your injuries because you wore an unsafe motorcycle helmet. While the law does not require you to wear a helmet, it is possible that you could be found partially at fault for your injuries.
Under the comparative negligence law, if your injuries would have been less severe if you had been wearing a proper helmet, then the defendant can argue that you are partially to blame and have your monetary damages reduced.
How to Prove the Negligence of the At-Fault Driver
Regardless of whether you were wearing a novelty helmet at the time of your accident or not, the other driver who caused the accident may still be liable if you can prove that you would not have sustained your injuries but for his or her actions.
To prove this, you’ll need to show that the other driver acted negligently or did something unreasonable and unsafe.
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Using a cell phone from behind the wheel
- Driving aggressively
- Failing to follow posted traffic laws
Filing a Claim for Damages After a Motorcycle Accident
After a motorcycle accident in Des Moines, an injured motorcyclist has two years to file a claim for damages, under Iowa Code 614.1. If you were wearing a novelty helmet at the time of the accident and were worried that this may affect your accident claim, you should consult with a motorcycle crash attorney. At Walker, Billingsley & Bair, our legal professionals have experience upholding bikers' rights in court. Learn more about our services today by calling us now at (888) 435-9886.