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Motorcycle Personal Injury Law

Comparing Florida, California, Missouri, Washington DC, and North Carolina Motorcycles, with their ability to maneuver quickly and easily through traffic, have become a popular mode of transportation in the United States. With the popularity of motorcycles, however, comes an increased risk of accidents.  

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to die in a crash than people in cars. [1]

In this blog post, we explore the legal perspectives surrounding motorcycle personal injuries in five distinct jurisdictions: Florida, California, Missouri, Washington DC, and North Carolina.  

  1. Florida: Florida is known for its lenient motorcycle laws, but that doesn’t mean it’s without regulations. Riders over the age of 21 with at least $10,000 in medical insurance coverage can choose not to wear a helmet. However, in the event of an accident, failing to wear a helmet could weigh against you in a personal injury lawsuit under the concept of comparative negligence. This principle allows the court to reduce your compensation by the percentage of your fault in contributing to the injuries. [2]
  2. California: California stands out in its strict adherence to the universal helmet law, requiring all riders to wear a helmet, regardless of age. If you’re involved in a motorcycle accident and fail to wear a helmet, it could negatively impact any potential damages awarded. Additionally, California operates under pure comparative negligence, which means that a damaged party can recover even if it is 99% at fault, though recovery is reduced by the damaged party’s degree of fault. [3]
  3. Missouri: Missouri also stipulates a universal helmet law that requires all riders to wear helmets. It adheres to a “pure comparative fault” rule, allowing a damaged party to recover even if they are mostly at fault, reducing recovery by their degree of fault. However, if your negligence contributed to your injuries (like not wearing a helmet), it might impact your compensation. [4]
  4. Washington DC: Though not a state, Washington DC commands attention due to its unique laws. All riders are required to wear a helmet, and DC practices a contributory negligence system. This system, quite harsh, bars you from any recovery if you’re found to be even 1% at fault. This makes it particularly crucial for motorcycle accident victims in DC to secure an experienced personal injury attorney. [5]
  5. North Carolina: In North Carolina, a universal helmet law is in place. Besides, the state applies contributory negligence in personal injury cases, possibly denying all compensation if you share even a small portion of fault in the accident. In North Carolina, proving that the other party was entirely at fault is essential. While every state has its unique set of motorcycle laws and negligence systems, one consistent feature is the devastating impact of motorcycle accidents. [6]

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury from a motorcycle, give us a call at the Michael Brady Lynch Firm at 888-585-5970 or brandon@mblynchfirm.com. 

Date: August 15, 2023

Author: Brandon Salter and Anoop Desai

Citations

[1] https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/motorcycles

[2] https://www.fdot.gov/Safety/motorcyclesafety.shtm#:~:text=A%20rider%20may%20choose%20not,or%20riding%20upon%20a%20motorcycle

[3] https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/handbook/motorcycle-handbook/preparing-to-ride/#:~:text=All%20riders%20and%20passengers%20are,driven%20cycle%2C%20or%20motorized%20bicycle

[4] https://revisor.mo.gov/main/OneSection.aspx?section=302.026

[5] https://code.dccouncil.gov/us/dc/council/code/sections/50-1651

[6] https://www.ncdot.gov/dmv/license-id/driver-licenses/motorcycle/Pages/safety-helmet-law.aspx#:~:text=Under%20North%20Carolina%20law%2C%20all,Motor%20Vehicle%20Safety%20Standard%20218

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