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Ohio's motorcycle helmet law

A previous blog post discussed how motorcyclists in Ohio and throughout the country face an increased risk of becoming involved in an accident and sustaining serious injuries. Because motorcyclists do not have the same protection as people riding in cars, they are more likely to suffer catastrophic, even fatal, injuries from accidents that are often caused by distracted or otherwise negligent drivers.

Motorcyclists are approximately 26 times more likely to die in a crash and five times more likely to be injured in a crash than someone in a passenger vehicle. Motorcyclists who do not wear helmets are three times more likely to suffer a brain injury than motorcyclists who do wear helmets. Traumatic brain injuries can cause permanent impairment of higher level cognitive functions and can even leave the victim in a comatose state. Helmet laws are designed to reduce the extent of head injuries sustained in the event of a crash.

In Ohio, motorcyclists in their first year of licensure, those under 18 years old and any passengers of those operators must wear protective helmets. Those who violate this statute shall be guilty of a minor misdemeanor. The level of misdemeanor will increase according to whether the offender has a record of previous violations.

However, depending on the state in which the motorcycle accident took place, the failure to wear a helmet may not prevent an injured motorcyclist from recovering damages from a negligent driver who caused the accident. In some states, the failure to wear a helmet may bar a plaintiff's recovery if it is deemed to be the proximate cause of their injuries. Ohio is a comparative negligence state, which means that even if the plaintiff was negligent in failing to wear a helmet, they may not be entirely barred from recovery.

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you may wish to consult an attorney to discuss your case and the options you may have to recover compensation.

Source: FindLaw, "Motorcycle Accidents: Overview," accessed February 23, 2018

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