One of the most common questions we see in Maryland motorcycle accidents is whether the fact that an accident victim was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident can be used against the accident victim at trial. While states across the nation are split on this question – with some states not yet having arrived at a definitive answer – Maryland courts generally do not allow evidence of helmet non-use to show that the motorcyclist was negligent.
Courts that prevent helmet non-use evidence from being considered at trial understand that the benefits of wearing a helmet are common knowledge, and people are aware that helmets can help save a rider’s life in some circumstances. However, the legal question in Maryland motorcycle accidents is whether the defendant breached a duty of care that he owed to the accident victim, and whether the defendant’s breach of the duty resulted in the accident victim’s injuries. This inquiry does not necessarily require courts to look at whether the motorcyclist was wearing a helmet at the time of the collision.
In fact, several courts have determined that when helmet non-use evidence is presented to a jury, it may have the unintended consequence of essentially requiring a plaintiff to prove that they could not have prevented their own injuries through helmet use. This is not how the law should be applied, so these courts prevent helmet non-use evidence to prevent this unfair result.
Motorcyclist Killed in Recent Accident
Earlier this month, one woman was killed and a young man was injured when they were involved in a motorcycle accident on a Montana highway. According to a local news report covering the tragic accident, the motorcycle was traveling westbound when a southbound SUV attempted to make a left turn in front of the motorcycle. The SUV cut off the motorcyclist, and the two vehicles collided.
The driver of the motorcycle was not wearing a helmet and sustained fatal injuries. The juvenile passenger, who was wearing a helmet, survived the crash, sustaining serious but non-life threatening injuries. The driver of the SUV was uninjured. Police are currently investigating the accident and have not yet determined if the driver of the SUV will be cited for his role in causing the fatal motorcycle accident.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Motorcycle Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of Maryland motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation, even if you or your passenger were not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. The skilled attorneys at the Maryland personal injury law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have decades of collective experience representing clients in a wide range of motorcycle accident cases, including some in which the accident victim was not wearing a helmet. Call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today. Calling is free, and we will not bill you for our time or services unless we are able to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
More Blog Posts:
Determining Fault in Maryland Motorcycle Accidents, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published June 27, 2017.
Establishing Government Liability in Maryland Motorcycle Accidents, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published July 13, 2017.