When a Las Vegas motorcycle accident lawyer sits down with you for the free case review, one of the first questions they will ask is “were you wearing a helmet when the accident happened?” In many situations, the answer is no. And this represents a problem when the lawyer starts negotiating your case with an insurance company. The fact is that in Nevada not wearing a DOT-approved motorcycle helmet is not only deemed negligent but also against the law.
Our state has clear laws which oblige motorbike riders and their passengers to wear helmets on public roads. This is not a decision made to inconvenience motorcyclists, but to protect their lives. Studies and statistical data consistently show that wearing a helmet is the most effective way of preventing catastrophic injuries or even death in case of a crash with another vehicle or a stationary object.
What Are the Motorcycle Helmet Laws in Nevada?
Nevada Revised Statutes 486.231 specifies that motorcycle riders and passengers must have:
- Protective goggles, glasses, or face shields
- Transparent windscreens.
This rule is also applicable to mopeds. The only exception in Nevada helmet laws is for three-wheel vehicles where the rider and passengers are enclosed in a cab. Also, motorcyclists and moped riders participating in a parade authorized by a local authority are also exempt from the obligation of wearing a helmet.
The Consequences of Not Wearing a Motorcycle Helmet
Any Las Vegas motorcycle accident lawyer knows that the first and worst consequence of failure to comply with helmet laws is suffering severe, life-changing injuries in a crash. The motorcycle offers no protection to a rider or their passenger and any impact, even at reduced speed, can result in extensive injuries.
However, even if you manage to stay away from a crash, you still risk some penalties and complications. Here are some of the most important negative consequences if you are not wearing a DOT-compliant helmet.
1. Not Wearing a Helmet is a Misdemeanor
If you are pulled over for not wearing a helmet in Nevada, you will be charged with a misdemeanor. This translates into 2 demerit points on your driver’s license and a fine of $205 in Las Vegas. Points will disappear from your record after one year from the date of the traffic violation triggering them.
You must remember that if you accumulate 12 demerit points, the Department of Moving Vehicles will suspend your license for six months.
2. Even an Incompliant Helmet Can Get You a Traffic Citation
Nevada helmet laws stipulate that the protective headgear must be DOT-compliant. This means that the design and manufacturing of the helmet must follow the rules set in 571.218 Standard of the Code of Federal Regulations.
Some of the features of a compliant helmet are:
- It must weigh at least three pounds.
- It must be lined with 1-inch thick polystyrene foam.
- It must have sturdy chin straps secured with rivets.
- External decorations or other features do not extend further than 2/10 of an inch from the helmet surface.
3. Your Insurance Premiums Will Go Up
In Nevada, motorcyclists are required to carry the same amounts in liability insurance as car drivers:
- $25,000 for bodily injury per person
- $50,000 for bodily injury per accident
- $20,000 for property damage.
If you receive a citation for failure to wear a helmet, your insurance company will definitely hear of it. As a result, your insurance premiums will go up, because not wearing a helmet is deemed to be risky behavior.
4. Your Motorcycle Accident Claim Amount Will Be Reduced
Nevada uses a comparative negligence principle in all personal injury cases, including motorcycle accidents. Failure to comply with helmet law will, therefore, have a significant impact on your accident claim.
As a motorcyclist, there is already a biased view against you. And insurance companies like to maintain this general view – that motorcyclists are reckless and do not know how to share the road – because it serves their purpose. Once an adjuster finds out that you were not wearing a helmet, they will try to make the most of it.
Your Las Vegas motorcycle accident lawyer will likely manage to negotiate a compensation amount, but it will not cover all your damages. The amount will be reduced by the percentage representing your percentage of fault.
On top of that, since the police investigated the crash and noted that you were in breach of helmet laws, you will also have to pay the traffic ticket.
Is It Worth Filing a Claim If You Were Not Wearing a Helmet?
Despite all of the above, you should not let a negligent driver get away with the damages they caused you. Yes, you were in the wrong and put your life in danger by not wearing a helmet. But that driver was also in the wrong – to a greater degree.
The comparative negligence principle is about who was more at fault for an accident that caused injuries and economic losses. Even if you were in breach of helmet laws, this does not negate the car driver’s duty of care towards you.
However, you will need an experienced Las Vegas motorcycle accident lawyer to file and negotiate your claim. Insurance adjusters are extremely aggressive in trying to dissuade accident victims from filing a claim. When they realize that you were also partly at fault, they will try to blow it out of proportion – even accusing you of being more than 50% at fault for your accident.
You Can Present Your Case During a Free Case Review
Experienced attorneys know that no accident is a black-and-white case. In many cases, the victim also contributed to their crash a little. Not wearing a helmet is a rather serious breach of traffic laws, but not one that would bar you from holding the at-fault driver responsible.
However, you will know how much you may expect to recover only if you seek legal advice. A Las Vegas motorcycle accident lawyer will listen to your side of the story and examine the documents you bring with you during a free case review. If your case has merit, you will get the best legal representation you can get.
Let a Las Vegas Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Win Your Compensation!
Our Las Vegas injury lawyers understand that many motorcycle accident victims wonder if they can file a claim if they weren’t wearing an approved helmet. You may have suffered more severe injuries than if you had worn a helmet. But you still have the right to recover some of your medical care costs and lost wages, as well as non-economic damages for pain and suffering.
At the Christian Morris Trial Attorneys law firm, we have a combined experience of over 30 years and we will use it to fight for your rights. So, do not hesitate to schedule a free case review with a Las Vegas motorcycle accident lawyer by calling (702) 434-8282!