If you are seriously injured in a motorcycle accident in DuPage County, who is liable for your injuries? The answer to that question depends upon many different factors, such as the type of accident and how and when the motorcycle accident occurred.
Often, motorcycle accidents are caused by another motorist’s negligence. For instance, a passenger car driver might have been distracted and failed to notice a motorcyclist in his blind spot. Or, for example, a truck driver might not have gotten enough sleep the previous night and caused a drowsy driving accident.
In most scenarios like these, it may seem obvious that the other driver is at fault. But what happens if the motorcyclist sustained head injuries that could have been avoided if he had worn a helmet?
Understanding the Importance of Motorcycle Helmets in DuPage County
First, we should make clear that Illinois law does not require a motorcyclist to wear a helmet. In other words, in failing to wear a helmet, a motorcyclist is not breaking any law (and may in fact be abiding by every traffic law on the road). As a fact sheet from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) points out, Illinois is one of only two states without a motorcycle helmet law— Illinois and Iowa have no regulations in place to require riders of any age or capability level to wear a helmet.
Back in 2009, the Illinois Senate voted on a piece of proposed legislation (SB 1351), which would have changed Illinois law to require all motorcyclists to wear helmets, therefore meeting DOT safety standards. The measure failed. As such, motorcyclists in DuPage County are not required to wear a helmet. However, this does not mean that helmets cannot help to save lives and to prevent serious head trauma.
According to a fact sheet from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2015 alone, wearing a helmet saved 1,772 riders from fatal injuries. The CDC predicts that, if all motorcyclists in the country had worn helmets in 2015, an additional 740 lives might have been saved.
To be sure, studies have concluded that helmets reduce the risk of a head injury by about 69 percent. Helmet use also reduces financial costs. According to a publication from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the United States would save approximately $1 billion each year if everyone on a motorcycle wore a helmet.
Can a Motorcyclist’s Failure to Wear a Helmet Be Considered Negligent?
Now that you know how important helmets can be when it comes to reducing serious injury risks and accident costs, it is important to ask this question: If a DuPage County motorcyclist chooses not to wear a helmet, can that decision be considered negligent?
When a plaintiff files a personal injury lawsuit, Illinois law allows a defendant to raise contributory negligence (735 ILCS 5/2-1116) as a defense. This theory suggests that the defendant is not responsible for all of the damages because the plaintiff also bears some liability. Could failing to wear a helmet—even though it is not required by state law—be considered negligent on the part of the plaintiff?
In short, motorcyclists who abide by traffic laws, even if they decide not to wear a helmet, should not be considered negligent. This does not mean that the defendant will not try to make this argument, but with an aggressive advocate on your side, you will be able to show that you are not responsible for any portion of your injuries.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in DuPage County
Were you injured in a motorcycle accident? A dedicated DuPage County motorcycle accident lawyer can assist with your case. Contact Mevorah Law Offices LLC today.
Whether you are going through a divorce, injured in an accident, need to file a workers' compensation claim, charged with a crime, immigrating to the United States, or need to file for bankruptcy, Mevorah Law Offices LLC can help. Our trial lawyers have over 35 years of experience helping clients throughout Northern Illinois from five offices in Lombard, Bloomindale, Joliet, St. Charles, and Chicago.
Steven Mevorah has assembled experienced attorneys under one roof so that his clients need not search for a new attorney each time they need help. Mr. Mevorah has also established a wide network of additional attorneys so that his clients merely need to stop by Mevorah Law Offices LLC to find the attorney they need.
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