In the state of Kentucky, motorcycle helmets are mandatory for people under the age of 21. If you are injured in a motorcycle accident while not wearing a helmet, it could have an impact on your recovery of damages. Not wearing a helmet, no matter your age, does not necessarily bar recovery after an accident. Anyone seeking to recover damages after an automotive accident must prove negligence for a determination of fault to be made. Kentucky is a comparative negligence state, which means fault can be apportioned to one or more parties. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact a motorcycle accident attorney in Kentucky who is familiar with state-specific laws governing rules of the road. Helmet Laws in Kentucky According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates, for every 100 motorcyclists killed in a crash while not wearing a helmet, 37 would have survived if they had been wearing a helmet. For this reason, Kentucky law requires helmet use for:
- Any person younger than 21 years of age who is operating or riding on a motorcycle as a passenger
- Any person who is operating a motorcycle under a "motorcycle instruction permit"
- Any person who has held a valid motorcycle operator's license for less than one year
If you fall into one of these categories of people and you are in an accident, regardless of whether you were wearing a helmet or not, you are eligible to seek recovery for damages. However, the amount of your compensation can vary depending on several factors. Comparative Negligence Kentucky follows a "comparative negligence" rule when it comes to personal injury lawsuits, meaning that you can be found partially responsible for your injuries. If you are not wearing a helmet at the time of a motorcycle accident, you may be found comparatively negligent, but this does not bar your possible recovery. It may, however, reduce the amount of damages awarded if it is shown that failure to wear a helmet contributed to your injuries. If you were not wearing a helmet, and you sustained head or neck injuries, you must prove that your injuries could not have been prevented by the use of a helmet. If it is found that a helmet would have reduced your injuries, your compensation may be reduced proportionately. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney will be able to discern how best to maximize the compensation to which you are entitled. If you are unsure about your proportionate share of fault in a motorcycle accident you were involved in, schedule a free consultation with Edwards & Kautz. Or call 1-866-795-5087 to speak with one of our experienced motorcycle accident attorneys. *Photo courtesy of Drew Leavy through Flikr