Texas had a universal helmet law until 1997. That year, the state altered the law to include an enormous exception for all riders over a certain age. Thus, Texas turned a law that required all riders to wear a helmet into one that is unenforceable in many situations.
As states like Texas watered down their laws, helmet use decreased, and head injuries increased. Importantly, these injuries are more likely to cause permanent disabilities or even death. It’s essential for motorcycle riders in Texas to understand current helmet laws and how wearing one can affect an injury claim.
If you’ve recently been injured in a motorcycle accident in San Antonio, Texas, George Salinas Injury Lawyers can help you get compensation. Contact us or call us at (210) 225-0909 today for a free consultation.
How George Salinas Injury Lawyers Can Help You Recover Compensation After a Motorcycle Accident in San Antonio, TX
George Salinas Injury Lawyers is a well-regarded personal injury law firm in San Antonio, Texas, dedicated to representing accident victims. Since 2011, our San Antonio motorcycle accident lawyer have collected hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation for our clients.
We can help with your case by:
- Conducting free consultations so that accident victims can make educated decisions about how to handle their cases
- Providing contingency fee representation, allowing clients to focus on their health rather than their cases
- Standing up to insurers and at-fault parties while fighting to make our clients’ voices are heard
- Handling virtually every aspect of your claim from start to finish, including settlement negotiations, investigations, communications, paperwork, and more
Motorcycle accidents can cause catastrophic injuries such as brain damage, paralysis, and amputation. Contact George Salinas Injury Lawyers to discuss your motorcycle crash and the injury compensation you can pursue.
Do Motorcycle Helmets Work?
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motorcycle helmets reduce both head injuries and deaths. These statistics show:
- Riders who wear helmets have a 69% lower risk of head injuries
- Wearing a helmet reduces an operator’s risk of death by 37%
- A helmet reduces a passenger’s risk of death by 41%.
In concrete terms, you have a fairly good chance of suffering a head injury when you crash your motorcycle. According to one study, helmeted riders had about a 24% chance of injuring their heads in a motorcycle accident. But this number jumped to 38% if the rider was not wearing a helmet.
One study (mentioned at the beginning of this article) even looked at Texas motorcycle accidents before and after the state changed its motorcycle helmet law. In the first full year after the motorcycle helmet law changed, helmet use in Texas dropped from 97% to 66%. Over the same period, injuries in the state increased by 10%, and fatalities increased by 31%.
Texas Motorcycle Helmet Laws
Current helmet laws in Texas require all riders and passengers under 21 to wear a motorcycle helmet when the vehicle is in motion on public roads. The helmet law does not apply to private land, such as a driveway.
Riders over 21 must also wear a helmet unless they have either completed a motorcycle safety course or have health insurance that will cover any motorcycle injuries.
A police officer cannot ticket motorcycle riders who prove they are over 21 and provide evidence that they meet one of the two conditions for riding helmetless.
Enforceability of Helmet Laws in Texas
Police officers rarely enforce Texas’s helmet laws. These laws have two problems that make them difficult to enforce:
Police officers cannot tell your age as you ride past them on your motorcycle. If you comply with all other applicable laws, such as speed limits, an officer will probably avoid stopping you to check whether you are under or over 21 years old.
Instead, officers will only stop unhelmeted riders when they can immediately tell they are under 21. For example, if you give a ride to your helmetless 10-year-old child, an officer may stop and cite you. But an officer will probably not waste time stopping you if you give a ride to your helmetless 17-year-old child.
Motorcycle Safety Course Requirement
Texas requires all applicants for a motorcycle license to take and pass a motorcycle safety course. As a result, the exception written into Texas’s helmet law excludes all motorcycle license holders. In other words, if you are over 21 and hold a motorcycle license, you fall into the exception that allows you to ride without a helmet.
Consequences of Riding Without a Helmet
Suppose that you fall into one of the exceptions in Texas’s helmet law. You should still consider wearing a helmet. If you get hit by a negligent driver, you may lose at least some of your injury compensation under Texas law.
Specifically, Texas uses a concept called modified comparative negligence. If you played a role in your injuries, you will bear a share of the fault, and your compensation will get reduced.
Thus, if a jury determines you were 30% at fault for your head injury because you did not wear a helmet, you can only recover 70% of your damages. And if you were 51% or more at fault, you would be barred from recovering any damages at all.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our San Antonio Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
A motorcycle crash can cause severe injuries that temporarily or permanently disable you. At George Salinas Injury Lawyers, our award-winning San Antonio motorcycle accident attorneys are dedicated to ensuring the voices of injury victims are heard.
To discuss your injuries and the financial compensation you can seek under Texas law, contact George Salinas Injury Lawyers for a free consultation today.