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Motorcycle helmets and negligence

Arkansas residents will likely be unsurprised to learn that safety advocates recommend that motorcycle riders and passengers wear a safety helmet at all times. Studies have found that wearing a crash helmet can greatly reduce the likelihood of a traumatic brain injury, which is one of the most common injuries suffered by motorcyclists. These statistics have led lawmakers in many states to make the wearing of safety helmets by motorcyclists mandatory, but Arkansas currently allows riders who are 21 years of age or older to ride without this protection if they choose to.

Riders who choose not to wear a helmet may wonder if their decision could impact their ability to seek civil remedies following a motorcycle crash caused by the reckless actions of a passenger vehicle driver. Riding without adequate protection could be viewed as negligence, but it would only influence the amount of damages they receive and not their ability to file a lawsuit. This is because in most cases their negligent actions only affected the severity of their injuries and did not contribute to the accident that caused them.

If Arkansas does pass legislation requiring all motorcycle riders regardless of their age to wear a helmet, the law is likely to withstand challenges based on constitutional arguments. This type of legislation has been effective at reducing fatality rates among motorcyclists, and courts in several states have found these laws constitutional.

When dealing with a case involving comparative negligence, a personal injury attorney could argue that the actions of the plaintiff did little to increase the severity of their injuries. In a case involving a rider who was not wearing a helmet, this could involve providing evidence that the accident would likely have caused serious injuries even if a helmet had been worn. In a wrongful death case, an attorney could argue that a safety helmet would not have saved the rider's life.

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