Texas Motorcycle Helmet Law
Wearing a motorcycle helmet can save your life, but is it required by Texas motorcycle helmet law? The laws on if motorcycle owners are required to wear helmets vary greatly by state, ranging from complete optionality to mandatory ticketing and fines for those without protection.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident (with or without a helmet) and needs a motorcycle accident lawyer in Houston, the personal injury attorneys at Grimes & Fertitta can help. Contact us today to discuss your legal options and get what you deserve.
What is Texas’ helmet law?
Who must wear a helmet in Texas? Anyone under the age of 21 is required by law to wear a helmet while piloting a motorcycle in Texas –– but due to Senate Bill 1967, a police officer may not stop a motorcyclist on the sole suspicion of not following said helmet law. However, these laws are subject to constant change, and wearing a helmet for safety reasons is encouraged.
Most motorcycle riders (over the age of 21) qualify for the Texas helmet exemption because the motorcycle safety course is required to get a motorcycle license in the state of Texas. One qualifies for helmet exemption if they are 21 or older AND can provide proof that they have completed a motorcycle operator training and safety course OR they can provide proof of adequate health insurance coverage of at least $10,000.
Can going helmet-less affect an injury claim?
While not wearing a helmet does not prevent you or your loved ones from receiving compensation in the event of an accident, it can absolutely affect a personal injury claim. This is primarily due to comparative fault laws in Texas, which allow the courts to hold multiple parties responsible for their “percentage of the harm for which relief is being sought.” Therefore, if you are injured in a motorcycle accident and were not wearing a helmet, the other party may claim that your choice to go helmet-less caused greater injury to yourself. A judge may then assign you partial culpability for the damage.
This would potentially weaken your claim and lead to your compensation being reduced in a manner directly proportionate to the percentage of the damage you caused. For example, if you were to receive $50,000 and were found to be 50% responsible for the damage due to not wearing a helmet, they would reduce your compensation by $25,000. This is a reason why helmets are encouraged for motorcyclists.
Do I have to wear a helmet?
So, can you ride a motorcycle in Texas without a helmet? Often the answer is yes if you are following the law. Should you? That’s your decision, but motorcycle helmets do save lives and prevent injuries. Without a helmet, you risk sustaining much worse brain and head injuries in the event of an accident. The Department of Transportation has regulations in place to make sure that all helmets sold in the US (for non-novelty purposes) can be trusted to make a difference.
The U.S. Department of Transportation requires that all motorcycle helmets sold in the US meet minimum requirements put forth by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218. Standards are re-tested each year to ensure that helmets are protecting the head and brain in the event of a crash. If you do not meet the standards for helmet exemption and are caught wearing a helmet that does not meet the FMVSS standards for helmet integrity, which are often sold as novelty items to circumvent the federal requirements, you may be treated by the police as if you are not wearing a helmet.
The FMVSS standards for motorcycle helmets boil down to this:
- They must have a one-inch-thick inner layer of firm polystyrene foam;
- they must have a sturdy chinstrap with solid rivets;
- they must weigh three pounds or more; and
- they must not have anything extending more than two inches from the surface of the helmet, such as any spikes or decorations.
If you or a loved one has sustained a brain or head injury, do not go at it alone. The Houston brain injury lawyers at Grimes & Fertitta can allow you and your loved ones to focus on healing, while we focus on getting you what you deserve.
What to do after a bike accident
If you were involved in a motorcycle accident the first thing that you should always do is seek medical attention. After you have been treated, call an experienced attorney to discuss your options related to your after bike accident injuries. DO NOT sign anything offered to you by an insurance company or another lawyer until you have received consultation from a personal injury lawyer with your interests in mind.
If the accident was caused by the recklessness or negligence of a third party, you may be entitled to financial compensation. The long-term effects of an accident on your health can be difficult to diagnose in the immediate aftermath and do not limit themselves to physical injury. You may also need to be compensated for:
- Lost income
- Hospital bills for stays, appointments, consultations
- Mental anguish
- Physical therapy
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
Continue reading: Motorcycle Accident Guide
Contact an Experienced Texas Motorcycle Lawyer at Grimes & Fertitta
It is not required by Texas motorcycle helmet law that everyone wears a helmet, however, it is recommended for numerous reasons. Wearing a helmet can save your life and strengthen your case. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident due to the reckless or negligent behavior of another party, it is time to act. The personal injury lawyers at Grimes & Fertitta can help you and your family make things right.
Call Grimes & Fertitta today at 713-224-7644 or schedule a free consultation to discuss the details of your motorcycle accident or personal injury case and take the first step in getting what you deserve.
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