Regardless of the type of vehicle, accidents on the road can be serious for all parties involved. Motorcyclists can be especially prone to injury and death in an accident. Motorcycle accidents can be some of the most severe road accidents. Due to the motorcycle's small size, it may be difficult for other drivers to see motorcyclists on the road. This lack of visibility is a big reason why motorcycles are more likely to be involved in serious accidents than passenger vehicles.
Many motorcyclists wear protective gear to prevent serious injuries. Helmets are by far the most important pieces of protective equipment. In fact, a motorcyclist without a helmet is three times more likely to experience a brain injury after an accident than a motorcyclist who wears a helmet. Because of this, many states require that all motorcyclists, passengers as well as operators, wear a helmet while riding. In New York, all riders of low-power cycles designed to go 20 miles per hour or higher are required to wear helmets.
Despite these laws, many riders fail to wear a helmet and are injured in an accident. In those cases, an opposing motorist may say that the motorcyclist's own negligence should bar him from recovering damages. However, this is not always the case.
In cases where the lack of a helmet merely adds to the extent of the injuries, the motorcyclist may still be able to recover damages. Some states deem the failure to wear a helmet as the proximate cause of the motorcyclist's injuries, and the motorcyclist may be barred or limited when it comes to recovering damages under contributory negligence laws. Every jurisdiction is different when it comes to these issues so it is important to understand the specific state laws that apply to your case. Personal injury attorneys can provide more information on the applicable laws in New York.
Source: FindLaw, "Helmet and Motorcycle Accident Cases," accessed on Feb. 10, 2015