Understanding the role of helmet and safety gear use during a motorcycle accident is critical, especially when filing a personal injury claim. In many states, the implementation and enforcement of helmet laws vary, and these discrepancies influence the legal proceedings following an accident. Let’s take a closer look at how wearing a helmet and other protective gear can affect an injury claim under Illinois law.
Illinois Helmet Laws and Personal Injury Claims
Illinois is one of the few states that does not have a motorcycle helmet law. This means that in Illinois, motorcyclists and their passengers are not legally required to wear a helmet when riding. However, despite the lack of legal obligation, the decision to wear a helmet or not cannot be used as evidence in a personal injury claim under Illinois law.
Protective Gear and The Duty to Mitigate Damages
While Illinois law explicitly states that evidence of failure to wear a motorcycle helmet is inadmissible for the purpose of establishing contributory negligence, the perception of helmet use may still affect the jury’s assessment of the case. Jurors may have personal biases or beliefs regarding helmet use and may subconsciously factor this into their decision-making process. However, the court will carefully instruct the jury to base their decision solely on admissible evidence and legal principles, mitigating the potential impact of these biases.
Possible Effects on Insurance Claims
Insurance companies often have their own policies regarding helmet use. They may be more willing to reduce settlement offers if they believe that wearing a helmet could have lessened the injuries. Consequently, it may become a matter of negotiation between your attorney and the insurer.
Legal Assistance Is Key
To navigate these complexities, it is vital to have a competent personal injury attorney who understands the nuances of Illinois motorcycle law. An experienced lawyer will counter any attempts by the defense to use helmet non-use against the plaintiff, emphasizing the legal inadmissibility of such arguments. They will also focus on establishing the defendant’s negligence as the primary cause of the accident and injuries.
In Illinois, while the law does not require motorcycle riders to wear helmets, the decision to forego safety gear cannot be used against them in a personal injury claim. While the jury’s perception of helmet use may exist, the court ensures that decisions are based solely on admissible evidence and legal principles. The role of an experienced personal injury attorney is to protect the rights of the injured party, ensuring that the lack of helmet use does not unjustly diminish the fair compensation for injuries sustained.