As any personal injury attorney will tell you, your state’s helmet laws often have a direct impact on how much, if any, money you can recoup after being injured in a motorcycle accident. In Wisconsin, helmet laws are much broader than they are in other states, and only certain riders are required by law to wear a helmet at all. Below are some important facts to know about how helmet laws affect your ability to win compensation in an injury claim.
Wisconsin’s Helmet Laws
There are only two categories of motorcyclists who must wear a helmet in Wisconsin. First, anyone under the age of 18, whether they are the operator or a passenger, has to be helmeted. Second, anyone with only a learner’s permit and not a full motorcycle license must wear a helmet. If a passenger is under 18 and not wearing a helmet, but the operator is over the age of 18, both the operator and passenger can be cited for a traffic violation.
Helmets & Injury Claims
When it comes to the issue of injury claims, your state’s helmet laws will often play a major role in the amount of compensation you are ultimately awarded. If an operator or passenger is required by law to wear a helmet, and they are not wearing one at the time of the accident, the odds of attaining a large payout are slim; both insurance companies and courts understand that helmets save lives, and they would likely view someone not wearing one as being a contributor to the severity of the injury. In other words, you would be seen as being at least partially at fault for your injuries.
The type of injury suffered may also impact the amount of compensation. For example, if you only sustained a broken leg, then whether you wore a helmet would not have much bearing on the injury. In this scenario, a fully licensed Wisconsin motorcycle operator over the age of 18 with a broken leg would typically have sufficient grounds to file a claim. In such a case, it’s advisable to work with a personal injury attorney to ensure that insurers and other responsible parties don’t try to fight the claim by arguing that not wearing a helmet was a contributing factor.
What the law says regarding helmet use in your state can be a crucial aspect of an injury claim. Understand your options by discussing your situation with a personal injury attorney. The lawyers at Fitzpatrick, Skemp & Associates, LLC serve accident, injury, and wrongful death clients throughout La Crosse County and all of Wisconsin and Minnesota. Call (877) 784-1230 or visit their website to set up a free initial consultation with a personal injury attorney today.