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Can I File a Motorcycle Accident Claim in Oklahoma If I Wasn’t Wearing a Helmet?

Posted on: July 21, 2020 by Tony Edwards

Motorcycle driver not wearing helmet in an accident.

Motorcycle helmets are not mandatory in Oklahoma. That means that riders over 18 can choose not to wear them without penalty. But what happens if there is an accident?

Insurance companies often cite a lack of helmet use as an excuse to reduce or deny compensation to riders who are hurt in motorcycle crashes. This is unfair. The attorneys at Edwards & Patterson Law can vigorously defend your rights, regardless of whether you were wearing a helmet or not.

Your lack of a helmet may be an obstacle to getting a full and fair settlement from the insurance company. But it’s not a dealbreaker. Get Edwards & Patterson on your side right away to pursue the money you need and deserve. Call or contact us today for a free consultation.

What Are the Helmet Laws in Oklahoma?

Oklahoma motorcycle riders and passengers over 18 are not required to wear a helmet. However, authorities recommend that all riders wear one. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that helmet use reduces the risk of death in a motorcycle accident by 37 percent, and the risk of head injury by 69 percent.

Helmets in Oklahoma must also meet Department of Transportation standards, including having a lining, padding, and a chin strap.

Though a helmet is only required for minors, all motorcyclists in Oklahoma must have:

  • Rearview mirrors no less than 3 inches in diameter
  • Goggles and face shields (for motorcycles without windshields)

If I Wasn’t Wearing a Helmet, Does That Affect My Case?

Failure to wear a helmet can have an impact on your case. Oklahoma law allows motorcycle accident victims to obtain compensation for their injuries as long as they are 49 percent or less responsible for the crash. However, the ultimate amount a victim can recover will be reduced by his/her degree of fault, which is determined by an insurance company, judge, or jury.

It’s important to note that bikers who are found 50 percent or more at fault can recover no money at all.

Because of this shared fault rule (also called comparative negligence), not wearing a helmet could have bearing your case, especially if you suffered a traumatic brain injury. The fact that you suffered a head injury will likely compel the insurance company to argue that you made your injuries worse by not wearing a helmet. This could be their excuse to reduce or deny you compensation.

That said, your lack of a helmet does not wipe out the negligent party’s responsibility for their part in the wreck. Like you, they will be subject to Oklahoma’s comparative negligence law and be required to pay their portion of fault.

Here’s the facts: Oklahoma does not require adults to wear motorcycle helmets. You shouldn’t be penalized for it if you were injured in a crash. At Edwards & Patterson Law, our motorcycle accident lawyers will assert your right to ride helmet-free and fight for maximum compensation for your injuries and losses.

Does It Affect My Case If the Accident Wasn’t My Fault?

If the accident wasn’t your fault, you will likely be entitled to pursue compensation from the at-fault party(s). It’s important to realize that another motorist is not always to blame. Other potentially liable parties could be the manufacturer of a defective motorcycle part or government entity that failed to ensure safe road conditions.

Our legal team will investigate your accident case thoroughly to identify who is responsible for the crash. Having an attorney is especially important if more than one party or person is at fault. Accidents involving multiple parties usually means dealing with several insurance companies and policies at once. That’s a difficult task to do on your own, especially while you try to recover from your injuries. A lawyer at Edwards & Patterson Law can handle all of the legal legwork for you. The only thing you have to do is rest and recover.

How Is Fault Proven in a Motorcycle Accident Case?

In a motorcycle accident case, determining fault often requires reviewing several key pieces of evidence, such as:

  • The police accident report, which will note if a motorist was cited or arrested for the crash, and possibly the investigating officer’s opinion on who was at fault;
  • Accident scene photos or video surveillance;
    Vehicle damage reports;
  • Witness statements;
  • Medical records;
  • Expert opinions from accident reconstruction specialists, doctors, vocational rehab representatives, and financial planners.

An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can build a solid claim that clearly establishes fault. He or she can also refute any arguments about your degree of fault in the wreck. Remember, the amount you can recover depends on proving that you were 49 percent or less to blame. Working with a lawyer can help ensure that you are not unfairly blamed for not wearing a helmet.

Get a Dedicated Motorcycle Accident Attorney on Your Side

At Edwards & Patterson Law, our motorcycle accident attorneys won’t let you be denied compensation for exercising your right to ride helmet-free. We know the tactics that insurance companies use to minimize compensation for bikers who ride without helmets. We also know the law. Anyone who causes an accident that injures someone else should be held accountable for their negligence.

You can count on us to stand by your side every step of the way. We have the legal muscle to build a strong claim, but also the time and compassion to answer your questions and support you any way we can. Contact us today to arrange a free consultation.

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  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
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