Does Florida Have Helmet Laws?
The law that required motorcycle riders in Florida to wear helmets was repealed in 2000. But this repeal led to a 21 percent increase in deadly crashes. Currently, Florida law requires all motorcyclists to wear helmets. However, if you are at least 21 years of age and have an insurance policy with at least $10,000 in medical benefits, you do not have to wear a helmet. Any motorcycle rider under the age of 21 is required by Florida law to wear a helmet.
Why Helmets Are Still Important
Motorcycles only make up 4 percent of the vehicles on the road but get involved in 19 percent of fatalities. Wearing a helmet may reduce the chances of a rider getting an injury that could lead to death. In fact, helmets saved an estimated 1,859 lives in 2016, but 802 more would have been saved if all motorcyclists wore helmets according to the CDC. The CDC also states that helmets reduce death by 37 percent and reduce the risk of head injury by 69 percent.
However, some riders still believe that wearing helmets prevents them from enjoying the full experience of riding motorcycles. Only 50 percent of riders choose to wear helmets in states where wearing helmets is not mandatory, but that figure rises to 100 percent in states where it is mandatory. Requiring all riders in Florida to wear helmets will put the state in same list as Tennessee, North Carolina, Louisiana and other states.
Compensation Laws For Motorcyclists
You can pursue damages in Florida for a motorcycle accident whether you were wearing a helmet or not during the accident. You can still seek recovery from at-fault drivers even if they are partially responsible for the accident. All you need is an experienced motorcycle accident attorney especially if you are dealing with serious injuries such as traumatic brain injuries. You attorney can help you recover both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include:
- Property damage
- Lost earning capacity
- Out of pocket costs
- Lost wages or income
- Current and future medical expenses
Non-economic damages include:
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of a relationship with a partner
- Loss of enjoyment of life
You may also be entitled to punitive damages if the defendants conduct was malicious, wanton or willful. Punitive damages can never be more than $500,000 and such damages are rarely awarded in Florida.
What To Do After A Motorcycle Accident
What you do immediately after a motorcycle accident is important because it can determine the direction your case will go in a court. Take the following steps after an accident:
- You should stay at the scene of the accident and wait for the police
- Do not talk with the other party about the accident or apologize
- Get the other party’s name, phone number, insurance information and their license number
- Take photos of the scene and your injuries but do not share it on social media
- Make sure you get checked out because all the medical documentation can be used as evidence in your case