How Missouri’s Motorcycle Helmet Laws Affect Personal Injury Claims

Motorcycle riders are often seen as rebellious daredevils, speeding down the open road looking for trouble and adventure. While motorcyclists enjoy the freedom of riding, they aren’t necessarily irresponsible thrillseekers.

Unfortunately, riders are 24 times more likely to die in a collision compared to passenger car occupants due to lack of protection in a crash. Motorcyclists may be seriously injured or killed when another irresponsible driver causes an accident.

However, following the state’s helmet laws can help protect your well-being in a collision. It can also impact the outcome of your personal injury claim, helping you maximize compensation.

Learn more about helmet usage’s role in motorcycle claims and how our Missouri motorcycle accident lawyers at Cofman Townsley can help you get the settlement you deserve.

Understanding Missouri’s Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Missouri’s motorcycle helmet law, found in Statute 302.026, gives riders 26 and older the freedom to choose whether or not to wear a helmet. If you choose not to wear a helmet, you must be able to show proof of financial responsibility and carry an insurance policy that will pay for medical bills in an accident.

Riders and passengers 25 or younger are required to wear a helmet when on the open road.

Possible Injuries From Not Wearing a Motorcycle Helmet

While helmet laws allow riders to forgo protective gear, choosing not to wear one increases the risk of severe injuries in a motorcycle accident. Helmets are around 37% effective in preventing fatal injuries for motorcycle operators, saving 25,000 lives from 2002 to 2017.

Here are some of the most common injuries you might face without one:

  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs): Serious injuries to the brain that can affect cognitive function, mobility, and emotional well-being
  • Skull Fractures: The fracturing of skull bone, which can lead to brain injuries and other complications
  • Facial Injuries and Disfigurement: Injuries to the face ranging from cuts and bruises to severe injuries requiring surgery, resulting in permanent disfigurement
  • Road Rash: Severe abrasions caused by sliding across the pavement, which can lead to serious infections if not properly treated
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: Damage to the spinal cord that can result in partial or complete paralysis

What Does Pure Comparative Negligence Mean?

If you’re involved in a motorcycle accident without a helmet, it may impact the compensation you receive from a personal injury claim. Although you have the option to ride helmet-free if you meet the age requirement, foregoing a helmet could make it harder to obtain compensation.

Missouri uses pure comparative fault, a system where both people in an accident can be considered partly at fault. For instance, if they were speeding but you were distracted, this means you and the other person might share the blame.

Your share of the blame (percentage of fault) reduces the amount of money you can get for your injuries. For instance, if you are awarded $50,000 but you were 50% at fault, you’d receive $25,000 in compensation.

Not wearing a helmet can be seen as taking a bigger risk, which translates to being more responsible for your injuries after a crash. This is why it can lead to a higher percentage of fault and less money in a settlement.

  • Example: You’re in a crash, and the total damage is $100,000. You weren’t wearing a helmet, and serious brain trauma resulted. The court listens to testimony from a TBI expert, who says that not having head protection led to the seriousness of your injury.

The court ultimately decides your injuries are worse because you weren’t wearing a helmet, assigning you 30% of the fault. This means that instead of winning $100,000, you’d receive $70,000 in a damage award.

Protect Your Rights and Safety When Riding in Missouri

At Cofman Townsley, we understand the call of the open road for Missouri motorcycle riders. Our experienced motorcycle accident attorneys can help protect your rights after a crash, whether or not you were wearing a helmet.

We can thoroughly investigate the collision, gather evidence to reduce your liability, and work to get you the highest possible recovery award for your injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn your rights and get started on your claim.