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What if I didn't wear a motorcycle helmet during my accident?

Different states have different laws that apply to motorcycle riders and the need to wear a helmet. In the state of Illinois, motorcyclists must utilize a Department of Transportation approved helmet or risk getting a citation for violating state helmet laws. That said, not everyone uses a helmet and -- for whatever reason may be applicable to your particular motorcycle accident case -- maybe you were not wearing one when your collision occurred.

Most people wonder if failure to wear a motorcycle helmet during an accident will prevent them from having a valid claim to pursue personal injury damages against an at-fault party. The answer is, if you didn't have a helmet on when you were injured in a collision, this fact alone will not invalidate your claims for damages. Even if your failure to wear a helmet made your injuries worse, you may still have a valid claim for damages.

Here's how it works: Generally, Illinois courts will look to see what kinds of injuries you suffered in your crash. If the court determines that you would have suffered the same injuries regardless of whether you wore a helmet, then you can probably still pursue the full amount of damages in your case.

On the other hand, if the court determines that your injuries were worsened due to the failure to don a helmet, then you might end up splitting liability with the at fault party. This means that you might not be able to pursue the full amount of damages relating to your injuries since your failure to use a helmet resulted in your injuries being worse. In such a case, the court may choose to place a portion of the blame for your injuries on you, and reduce the damage amount it chooses to award accordingly.

Source: FindLaw, "Motorcycle Accident FAQ," accessed Dec. 31, 2015

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