Virginia Personal Injury Law Firm Stresses Importance of Wearing Motorcycle Helmets

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The Virginia personal injury attorneys of Marks & Harrison say that wearing a helmet protects not only the motorcyclist’s health and safety but his or her legal rights as well.

In light of a recently released Johns Hopkins Medical School study, the Virginia personal injury lawyers of Marks & Harrison said this week that motorcyclists need to realize the importance of wearing a helmet at all times on the road.

Wearing a helmet is required by law in Virginia, and it protects the motorcycle rider’s health, safety and legal rights, says the law firm, which is headquartered in Richmond, Va., and represents motorcycle accident and other motor vehicle accident victims throughout Virginia.

Under Virginia law, all motorcycle operators and passengers are required to wear helmets that meet certain specifications. This makes Virginia one of 21 states to feature what’s commonly called a “universal helmet law.” Virginia motorcycle riders must also wear a face shield, safety glasses or goggles unless the motorcycle is equipped with protective glass or a windshield.

The Johns Hopkins study, which The Journal of the American College of Surgeons published online last month, illustrates the safety benefits of wearing a helmet, the Virginia law firm says. In many cases, the helmet may prevent catastrophic or fatal injuries.

According to the study, riders who wear helmets are 22 percent less likely to suffer cervical spine injury than those who do not wear helmets. Additionally, helmeted riders are 65 percent less prone to suffer traumatic brain injury and 37 percent less likely to be killed if they are involved in a motorcycle crash, the study found.

As the most recent Virginia Highway Safety Office data indicates, motorcycle rider deaths comprised nearly 10 percent of all traffic fatalities in Virginia in 2009. During that year, there were 2,115 reported motorcycle crashes, including 69 fatal wrecks and 1,799 accidents that resulted in personal injury.

The law firm points out that Virginia is also one of only a handful of states in the country that recognizes the doctrine of pure contributory negligence.

Under this doctrine, a motorcycle accident victim or his or her family could be barred from recovering damages in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit if the victim was found to be as little as one percent responsible for causing the accident or injury.

In some instances, an insurance company may claim that a motorcyclist’s failure to wear a helmet contributed to the injury or death suffered, the firm says. For that reason, it is important for a motorcycle crash victim to contact an experienced Virginia motorcycle accident attorney to protect the victim’s rights, according to the law firm.

About Marks & Harrison

Established in 1911, Marks & Harrison represents clients in a variety of practice areas, including personal injury, wrongful death, car accidents, tractor trailer accidents, motorcycle accidents, alcohol/drug-related accidents and pedestrian injuries. The firm features offices located in the Virginia cities of Richmond, Petersburg, Louisa, Charlottesville, Tappahannock, Hopewell, Staunton and Fredericksburg. To learn more about the firm and its car accident attorneys, call (800) 283-2202 or use the firm’s online form.

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