Arkansas does not have a universal helmet law for motorcyclists. However, the state does require all riders under the age of 21 to wear protective headgear while riding a motorcycle, motor scooter, or another similar vehicle. Those aged 21 and older can ride without a helmet.
Arkansas, like most states in the 1970s and 1980s, used to have mandatory helmet laws for all riders. The federal government made this mandatory for states to receive certain types of funding. The state’s universal helmet requirement was repealed in 1997, and the current laws were instituted.
Arkansas Motorcycle Helmet Statute
The statute that sets the state’s motorcycle helmet laws is Ark. Code § 27-20-104. According to this law:
“All passengers and operators of motorcycles, motor-driven cycles, and motorized bicycles used upon the public streets and highways of this state shall be equipped with the following equipment under standards set forth by the Office of Motor Vehicle:
- (1) Protective headgear unless the person is twenty-one (21) years of age or older; and
- (2) Protective glasses, goggles, or transparent face shields.”
Most states have at least some type of helmet law for motorcyclists, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). Only three states have no mandatory motorcycle helmet laws at all: Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire. Washington D.C. and 19 states have universal helmet laws; everyone who drives or rides on a motorcycle must have a helmet.
The rest have some form of a statute similar to the Arkansas law. They generally require safety gear for younger riders, often 18 or 21.
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Could Not Wearing a Helmet Affect My Right to Recover Compensation?
In some cases, choosing not to wear a helmet could be considered contributing to your own injuries after a crash. In Arkansas, the state recognizes modified comparative negligence. This rule means that it could hurt the value of your insurance claim or lawsuit if you caused or contributed to your injuries.
If you were legally required to wear a helmet and did not, the court could find that you are partially responsible for your own injuries. This outcome is especially plausible if you suffered head injuries, traumatic brain injuries, facial fractures, or similar injuries. This could happen even if the at-fault driver acted in a particularly negligent way, and it is clear they caused the collision.
Wearing a Helmet Greatly Reduces Your Risk of Serious and Fatal Injuries
Following the law is only one reason someone might consider wearing a motorcycle helmet. Evidence shows that helmets and other safety gear significantly reduce the risk of serious and life-threatening injuries in a motorcycle accident.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), wearing a high-quality, DOT-approved motorcycle helmet can reduce the risk of death in a collision by about 37 percent. Further, it can reduce the risk of fatal injuries by protecting your head and face if you hit the ground, another vehicle, a median, a guardrail, a tree, or another object after being ejected from the motorcycle during a crash.
The CDC also shows that wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of a head injury by 69 percent, including life-altering traumatic brain injuries. A serious head injury can affect the victim’s physical, cognitive, psychological, and social abilities. Even for those who fully recover, rehabilitation and therapy could take weeks or even months.
Building a Case Based on an Arkansas Motorcycle Accident Case
If you were the victim of an Arkansas motorcycle versus car collision, you may have a case against the at-fault driver. Our attorneys can help you pursue damages based on the facts of your accident and injuries.
We can also mitigate any legal issues related to whether you were wearing a helmet when the crash occurred. This should not matter to your case at all unless you were age 20 or younger when the accident happened. We can also help if the at-fault driver alleges that you contributed to causing the crash and your injuries in some other way.
We will investigate what happened, gather evidence, prove negligence and liability, and seek appropriate damages based on the value we put on your claim. We can often negotiate an out-of-court settlement with the at-fault driver’s insurer. However, if we cannot reach this conclusion, we will prepare your case for a trial.
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Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer at Morris Bart, LLC About Your Case Today
You can speak with an attorney from the Morris Bart law firm for free today. We represent motorcycle accident victims in Arkansas. Across the Gulf South, we have 15 locations, including offices in Little Rock and Texarkana. We provide free consultations for potential clients and handle these cases based on a contingency fee.
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