A Florida motorcyclist was killed in a recent car crash when another vehicle made a left-hand turn in front of him. The motorcyclist hit the car and was thrown forward off his motorcycle.
The motorcyclist, who was not wearing a helmet, died from head injuries.
Everyone rising a motorcycle should wear a helmet, even if they are not legally required to do so. They save lives. Even the most skilled rider is at risk due to the negligence of other drivers on the road. This motorcyclist clearly had the right of way, but died as a result of an error made by another driver.
While helmets do save lives, in Illinois the failure of a motorcyclist to wear a helmet cannot be used as evidence of contributory negligence against the motorcyclist. The reasoning for this is that the failure of the motorcyclist to wear a helmet did not cause the accident.
However, as a practical matter, juries likely take it into account in assessing damages because it is almost impossible to exclude evidence about the lack of helmet use. Juries are likely to learn that the motorcyclist was not wearing a helmet when they hear about the injuries sustained in the accident and may assess a lower amount of damages because they want to put some degree of blame on the injured motorcyclist.