It’s no secret: Motorcycle helmets can save lives and prevent serious injuries among motorists on Louisiana’s roads. When it comes to motorcycle safety equipment, helmets are the most important component that motorcycle riders can use to reduce the risk of death and injury.
The United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a study and found that the quality of motorcycle helmets has improved dramatically in recent years. Thanks to the evolution of impact technology, helmets are saving more lives than ever. For example, per the study:
- New helmets are up to 37 percent more effective in preventing rider deaths
- Wearing a modern safety helmet can reduce the rider’s risk of suffering a serious or fatal injury by up to one-third
What to Do If You Are Hurt in a Louisiana Motorcycle Crash
Because of the benefits of wearing motorcycle helmets, many states have implemented laws regarding this safety equipment, such as protective headgear, chin straps, and transparent face shields. If you are going to ride a motorcycle on Louisiana’s roads, you must know and follow these laws.
Even with the best safety equipment, it is still possible to sustain serious injuries in a motorcycle crash. If you were the victim of an accident, it may help to contact Morris Bart, LLC. We are personal injury lawyers who can examine your case and determine if you have a valid claim for medical expenses or lost wages.
You must prioritize your medical care and physical recovery after a crash. Healing is the most important thing. However, a personal injury law firm can investigate your accident and develop a claim during this time. After your injuries are healed or you have a handle on your ongoing care needs, an attorney may be able to file an insurance claim and seek compensation for you based on your related damages.
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Compulsory Helmet Use in Louisiana
The Louisiana State Legislature, per La. R.S. § 32:190, makes it compulsory for anyone who operates or rides on a motorcycle to wear a suitable helmet. The law requires riders to strap the helmet with a suitable chinstrap whenever the motorcycle is in motion.
The helmet must also have sufficient padding and lining, as well as a visor.
It is against state law for a manufacturer to make and sell a helmet that does not meet safety standards that the national commissioner sets, currently Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 218.
However, older helmets or those without the “DOT” sticker on the back may not meet the latest safety standards. It is important that you check to ensure your helmet is approved before use.
If police stop you for riding without a suitable motorcycle helmet, you could face a penalty. For those who are guilty, the fine is $50. It is also compulsory to wear eye protection with your helmet under certain circumstances.
Protective Eyewear While Riding a Motorcycle
Louisiana state law requires anyone riding a motorcycle to have adequate eye protection in the form of goggles or a suitable helmet visor. Modern full-face helmets generally come with visors that protect the eyes and meet the qualifications outlined in this law. However, many open-face helmets may not.
If your motorcycle has a built-in windshield that meets the prescribed minimum height for protection, the law does not require you to wear protective eyewear. If you must wear eye protection under these laws, there are no requirements for a safety rating. Plenty of options on the market are rated by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), including the standard ANSI Z87.1 rating.
You do not have to opt for something ANSI-rated under this law, though. You will just want to ensure you choose goggles, safety glasses, or sunglasses designed and made with shatterproof, impact-resistant material for your safety and protection.
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Are There Exceptions to Louisiana’s Safety Helmet Law?
Yes, although you should check the law to confirm you meet the requirements of those exceptions. In Part C of La. R.S. § 32:190, it says police authorities of a municipality can issue permits exempting members of groups that sponsor, conduct, or participate in parades or other public exhibitions or events while those members are participating in the parade or event.
Under Part D of the law, exceptions can be made if a person is operating or riding in an autocycle if the vehicle’s supports meet or exceed the standards of a safety helmet, roll bar, or roll cage. Per the statute, “roll bar” or “roll case” means supports that can hold the vehicle’s weight and protect occupants while the vehicle rests on the supports. If you are unsure about whether you meet the exemptions, you can consult with an attorney.
What Happens If I Am in a Collision Without a Motorcycle Helmet in Louisiana?
Regardless of whether you were wearing a helmet at the time of your collision, your top priority must be to get medical care. If you have pain or any symptoms, you should see a doctor for an evaluation as soon as possible. This allows you to get the care you need to identify your injuries and receive a treatment plan.
Only after your doctor assesses your injuries should you worry about your insurance claim or legal case against the at-fault driver for your medical bills and other bills.
Shared Fault in a Louisiana Motorcycle Crash
Under La. Civ. Code Art. 2323, accident victims in Louisiana can file a lawsuit even if they contributed to their accident or injuries. However, their payout will be reduced by the percentage of fault they are responsible for causing. This is comparative fault.
However, not wearing a helmet generally cannot be considered comparative fault. The at-fault driver who caused your crash can usually not blame your injuries on you, even if you violated the helmet law in Louisiana.
How Long Do I Have to Sue the At-Fault Driver in My Motorcycle Accident Case?
Under La. Civ. Code Art. 3492, accident victims in Louisiana usually either need to reach a settlement agreement or sue the at-fault driver within one year of their collision and injuries. Failure to do so could result in losing the right to recover compensation.
A motorcycle accident attorney can review the details of your situation and advise you on the timeline and filing deadline that applies to your case. They can also file your case on time and within the statute of limitations, ensuring you protect your right to sue.
Get Your Free Consultation With a Morris Bart, LLC, Attorney
If you sustained injuries in a motorcycle crash that was not your fault, call Morris Bart, LLC, today. We can examine the circumstances surrounding your crash, and we may be able to help you file a claim for damages against the negligent individual.
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