How Reasonable Riding Gear Affects Motorcycle Accidents
Distribution of fault is a complex affair in any accident, motorcycle crashes included. Even in the event that a collision itself was exclusively the fault of another motorist, you could still be held partially liable for certain damages and injuries. In a car, this could be due to failing to wear a seatbelt or a lack of maintenance, but in a motorcycle collision, protective gear is the core of the issue.
Mandated vs Reasonable Riding Gear
There’s a distinct difference between “mandated” riding gear and “reasonable” protection. Mandated equipment is necessary by law, and will net you fines and other legal repercussions for failing to wear. Reasonable protection, on the other hand, refers to the expectation that you should make efforts to protect yourself. Nothing legal will happen if you ride without reasonable protection, but in the event of an accident, you’ll be implicitly penalized for failing to minimize your injuries under Arizona’s comparative negligence laws:
- Motorcycle helmets. Though only strictly required by Arizona law for those of 18 years of age or younger, all bikers, regardless of age, are expected to protect themselves with a helmet, as riders without helmets account for over 50% of all motorcycle fatalities. Failure to wear one means you’re liable for a portion of any head injury you receive, and as such, you’ll receive less compensation. Additionally, if you die in a motorcycle accident without wearing a helmet, your family will have more difficulty recovering compensation for wrongful death in Arizona.
- Durable clothing. There’s no law against riding a motorcycle in shorts and a tank top, but in the event that you were thrown from your bike in a crash, that decision to wear no protective equipment would result in severe road rash, cuts, and bruises. To protect both your wallet and body, you should always wear durable, enveloping clothing—leather jackets, riding gloves, joint pads, a minimum of jeans, and other durable, personal protective equipment will all help prove that you did your best to avoid injuries.
- Eye protection. Though less commonly relevant in a debate of riding gear reasonability, eye protection is a legal necessity for all riders. Whether it takes the form of goggles, glasses, face shields/ visors, or a built-in windshield, you’re expected to maintain visibility while riding and avoid eye injuries from scattered detritus.
Recovering From Arizona Motorcycle Accidents
As mentioned prior, failing to protect yourself to a reasonable extent is grounds for a reduction of your settlement—however, the exact extent of said reduction is a point of hot contention between adjuster and claimant, as it can be difficult to prove whether or not certain injuries, or the extent of certain injuries, were related primarily to a lack of protective equipment or not.
If you’ve been wounded in an Arizona motorcycle accident, with or without protective equipment, our motorcycle accident attorneys in Phoenix can help. Call ELG today at (623) 877-3600 to schedule a free consultation with a compassionate lawyer who can help maximize your settlement and take the stress of the claims process off of your shoulders.