In the state of Arizona, there is no universal motorcycle helmet law. Any motorcycle rider under the age of 18 must wear a helmet when they are operating their vehicle. However, any rider 18 years of age or older can make a choice about whether or not they want to wear a helmet. Even though it is strongly recommended that all motorcycle riders wear a helmet, there is no way to enforce this safety feature. However, there are often many questions about whether or not wearing a helmet can affect any motorcycle accident case. Can a person still recover compensation if they are injured in a motorcycle crash when they were not wearing a helmet?
Here, we want to discuss how motorcycle helmet laws can affect these cases. Specifically, we want to look at whether or not helmet use in an Arizona motorcycle crash case can affect the outcome of an injury claim.
One of the main controversies surrounding states with helmet laws is whether or not a motorcyclist can be held responsible for their own injuries if they do not wear a helmet. In these cases, the at-fault driver may try to say that the motorcyclist is fully or partially responsible for their own injuries through the legal theory of negligence per se, which refers to negligence in the form of violating a law. In Arizona, a motorcyclist cannot be held negligent per se for not wearing a helmet because motorcyclists are not required to wear a helmet (if they are over the age of 18).
However, it could still be argued that a motorcyclist’s failure to wear a helmet contributed to the injuries they sustained. For example, if a driver sideswiped a motorcyclist and the motorcyclist then slammed into a road sign and sustained a head injury, the at-fault driver may argue that the head injury would not have occurred had the motorcyclist been wearing a helmet.
In Arizona, this argument will likely not hold up in court. Because the law does not require most motorcyclists to wear a helmet, liability for the crash will likely fall onto the party that caused in the first place.
If a motorcycle crash involving a cyclist under the age of 18 occurs and the motorcyclist was not wearing a helmet, negligence per se could be argued in the case because the law actually requires motorcyclists under the age of 18 to wear a helmet. Failing to wear a helmet when required to do so by law likely opens the door to an at-fault driver placing some of the blame for these injuries onto the motorcyclist, particularly for head or brain injuries.
According to information available from the Arizona Department of Transportation, we can see that there were 2,676 total motorcycle collisions across the state during the latest reporting year. Out of these incidents, 170 people lost their lives and 2,235 were injured. Undoubtedly, many of these injuries could have been prevented if those involved were wearing a DOT-approved helmet.
However, the reality is that the careless or negligent actions of other drivers often cause significant injuries to a motorcyclist. These other parties must be held accountable for their actions. All too often, other drivers operate recklessly around a motorcyclist. A skilled Scottsdale motorcycle accident attorney can help determine liability for the incident, negotiate with all parties involved, and help the victim secure the compensation they need.