Charleston motorcycle helmet laws do impact the amount of compensation a victim could recover. Whether a victim used or chose not to wear one could determine the percentage of shared fault or negate financial recovery altogether.
This is not ideal for victims like yourself. To rebuke claims of comparative negligence, reach out to an experienced motorcycle accident attorney.
Helmet Requirements for Motorcyclists
In Charleston and South Carolina, motorcycle operators over the age of 21 are allowed to make their own decision about wearing a helmet. The law is ambivalent. Everyone is required to wear a seatbelt. Just because someone is 21, that should not mean they are not required to wear seatbelts any longer. In South Carolina, the powers that be decided that someone who is 21 does not have to wear a helmet.
The motorcyclist may be in an accident and die from head trauma or they have a traumatic brain injury where they lose the ability for their motor skills to operate their arms and their legs.
The rule in South Carolina is that when someone is under 21, they have to wear a helmet or they could be ticketed. They could be prosecuted criminally for not wearing a helmet. If they are 21 or older, they do not have to wear a helmet.
Should I Wear a Helmet Anyway?
It is always a good idea to wear a helmet from the perspective of safety whether someone is riding a bicycle, skateboard, or skiing down a mountain. Everyone understands a brain injury. With what is known about players in the NFL and soldiers who come back from Iraq, Afghanistan, and other foreign theaters of war with these brain injuries, the awareness of brain injury is so high. The understanding that a helmet is really the best protection is well-known. Anyone with common sense understands that wearing a helmet protects them and will lessen the impact of a head injury or avoid it altogether.
How Not Wearing Safety Gear Could Impact a Case
When someone is underage and they are not wearing a helmet in South Carolina, they violated one of the laws. It does not mean they cannot bring a case. It gives the defense an opportunity to say that this was a minor impact. If a helmet was worn, the defense could present an expert to testify to the likely damage.
If they are able to show the jury that wearing a helmet could have lessened or eliminated the damage, a jury decides whether they believe that testimony or not. The jury is left with the sound discretion to award what they think is fair based upon the facts of the case for both liability and damages. There is a very strong argument regarding the level of comparative fault on the part of the motorcycle driver under the age of 21 who did not follow the law by wearing the helmet, or even above 21 and older using common sense and wearing a helmet.
Understanding Negligence and the Value of Recoverable Losses
After the Tort Reform Act in the early 2000s, the rules on comparative and contributory negligence in South Carolina changed dramatically. There is no one-size-fits-all for every type of case for medical malpractice, vehicle accidents, or worker’s compensation cases. It is important to contact an experienced lawyer to evaluate how these concepts apply to a specific case.
It is best to know that some concepts exist where the defense could claim that they may be right or wrong. They may or may not convince the jury, a commissioner, or a judge that they are right. The position may be taken that the injured party somehow caused or contributed to their accident.
Depending on the percentage of fault that is assigned to the injured party, it could seriously and dramatically affect the value of the case by reducing it by their percentage of fault. In some instances, the percentage of fault may act as a complete bar to them making any recovery in the case.
Understand More About Charleston Motorcycle Helmet Laws
While the law does not require motorcyclists over the age of 12 to wear a helmet, the lack of one during a wreck could affect a victims ability to recover compensation. Often, opposing parties argue that the accident was not so serious, but had the victim worn a helmet, he or she would have been fine.
While Charleston’s motorcycle helmet laws may seem antiquated, they are still applied to personal injury cases. To better your odds of favorable courtroom outcome, reach out to an attorney today.