Riding a motorcycle is an enjoyable way to navigate the beautiful state of Florida. However, you need to take steps to protect yourself when riding your motorcycle; you’re more vulnerable than other motorists. In fact, the rate of death among riders involved in motorcycle accidents is 27 times higher than other motorists.

Drivers and passengers of enclosed vehicles have some protection in accidents. The frame of their vehicles can shield them from harm and prevent them from being ejected. Unfortunately, motorcycle riders are often thrown from their bikes in a collision. For example, you might land on your head. This can cause traumatic brain injury. 

It’s not uncommon for such injuries to have a permanent impact on a victim’s quality of life. The consequences of such an injury may include mood disorders, impaired cognitive functioning, memory problems, and more.

Wearing a helmet when riding a motorcycle can help prevent serious or catastrophic injury in an accident. However, you may wonder whether Florida law requires motorcycle riders to wear helmets.

The answer: it’s a little complicated. This overview of Florida’s motorcycle helmet laws will explain what you need to know.

Both motorcyclists and their passengers generally must wear their helmets in Florida. A proper helmet must conform to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218. You’ll know a helmet meets these legal requirements if it has a United States Department of Transportation (or US DOT) sticker on it.

It’s also important to wear DOT-approved eye protection.

When You Don’t Have to Wear a Motorcycle Helmet in Florida

There are instances when Florida law does not require motorcyclists to wear a helmet. For example, if a motorcycle has an enclosed cab, its passenger doesn’t need to wear protective headgear. A motorcyclist over the age of 21 also doesn’t have to wear a helmet if they have $10,000 or more in insurance coverage.

However, this doesn’t mean you should ride a motorcycle without a helmet. Riding without a helmet can put you at risk of sustaining severe or fatal injuries.

It’s also important to understand how your choice to not wear a helmet may affect you financially. Suppose you’re seeking compensation after a Florida motorcycle accident by filing a claim or lawsuit. Your chances of collecting full damages could depend on whether you were wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

How Failing to Wear a Helmet Can Impact a Florida Motorcycle Accident Case

Florida has a comparative negligence law. This law divides damages among all parties that are responsible for an accident, including an injury victim. If an injury victim shares responsibility for a crash, their compensation will be reduced to account for their share of blame.

The following example will help you better understand how comparative negligence applies to a motorcycle accident case. Suppose a motorcycle rider is rear-ended by a distracted driver and thrown from their motorcycle. They hit their head and sustain major injuries.

The rider decides to file a claim or lawsuit against the negligent driver’s insurance to recover compensation for their medical bills and other losses. They’re seeking $20,000 in compensation.

However, the rider wasn’t wearing their helmet when the accident occurred. The insurer may argue that the rider’s injuries would have been less severe if they were wearing a helmet. An insurer or court might determine you’re 20% responsible for your injuries. As a result, the most compensation you would be able to recover would be $16,000 (80%).

The main reason to wear your helmet when riding a motorcycle is to protect yourself. However, wearing a helmet can also influence the outcome of any future lawsuits you may be involved in. Do yourself a favor and always wear a helmet when on a motorcycle.

Contact the Clearwater Motorcycle Accident Law Firm of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today

For more information, please contact the legal team of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for a free initial consultation with a motorcycle accident lawyer in Clearwater. We have four convenient locations in Florida: Clearwater, New Port Richey, and Tampa.

We serve throughout Pinellas County, Hillsborough County, Pasco County, and its surrounding areas:

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater Office
1811 N. Belcher Road, Suite I-1
Clearwater, FL 33765
(727) 787-2500

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Congress Ave Office
2360 Congress Avenue
Clearwater, FL 33763
(727) 591-5610

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
6601 Memorial Hwy Suite 202
Tampa, FL 33615
(813) 686-7588

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – New Port Richey Office
2515 Seven Springs Blvd.
New Port Richey, FL, 34655
(727) 815-8442