Motorcyclists and bicyclists have a high risk of suffering injuries to the head and face. More importantly, head trauma can lead to brain injuries. These injuries can produce symptoms that affect you physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Oregon helmet laws require certain road users to wear helmets. After a motorcycle accident or bicycle accident, a lawyer from Tillmann Law Personal Injury Lawyers can explain how your helmet use might affect your injury claim.
Tillmann Law Personal Injury Lawyers is a personal injury law firm with an office in Portland, Oregon. Since 2009, our Portland motorcycle accident lawyer has recovered millions of dollars for injured clients against at-fault parties and their insurance companies.
If you get injured in an accident in Portland, OR, our lawyer will help you by:
Motorcyclists have a high risk of suffering incapacitating head and neck injuries in accidents. Contact Tillmann Law Personal Injury Lawyers to discuss your motorcycle crash and the compensation you can seek.
Motorcycle accidents are much more harmful than car accidents. In a traffic crash, motorcyclists are 24 times more likely to die and four times more likely to get injured than vehicle occupants. Motorcycles have no passenger compartment. As a result, the operator and any passengers could make contact with the road. Worse yet, they could get ejected.
In either case, the rider’s head can contact the road or even another vehicle. The impact could fracture the rider’s skull or facial bones. It could abrade and lacerate their scalp and face. The head and facial trauma could rattle the rider’s brain severely enough to injure it.
As a result, the head is the third-most common body part injured in motorcycle collisions, according to one study. Among helmeted riders, about 24% suffered a head injury. About 38% of riders without a helmet suffered a head injury.
In 2021, Portland had 114 motorcycle accidents. These accidents killed eight riders and injured 87 riders. Using the numbers from the motorcycle injury study, between 23 and 36 riders suffered a head injury in Portland motorcycle crashes in 2021.
In the late 1960s, Congress passed a transportation law that allowed the Secretary of Transportation to withhold highway funding from states without motorcycle helmet laws. By the mid-1970s, Congress rescinded the Transportation Secretary’s authority. But by then, every state except California, Utah, and Illinois had already passed a universal helmet law.
After 1975, states began repealing or amending their helmet laws. Today, only 17 states have universal helmet laws that cover all riders. Oregon is one of these states.
Oregon’s motorcycle helmet law appears in section 814.269 of the Oregon Revised Statutes. Under this law, all motorcycle operators and passengers must wear an approved helmet. An approved helmet must meet the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) motorcycle helmet regulations.
Thus, you violate this law by riding without a helmet. You also violate Oregon’s helmet law by wearing a novelty helmet instead of a USDOT-approved safety helmet. The state also imposes a duty on motorcycle operators to make sure their passengers are wearing a helmet.
Oregon is also one of the few states to require bicycle helmets. This law requires bicyclists under 16 years old to wear a bicycle helmet.
If you ride a motorcycle or bicycle without a helmet in Oregon, you face several risks. First, bicyclists under 16 and all motorcyclists can get stopped and cited by police officers. A citation for a motorcycle helmet violation typically carries a $115 fine. A bicycle helmet citation typically carries a $25 fine. Neither citation carries the risk of a jail sentence.
You could also suffer a fatal injury in a collision. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, a helmet reduces your risk of death in a motorcycle crash by up to 37% for operators and up to 41% for passengers.
Riders without helmets might also jeopardize their right to pursue compensation because Oregon uses modified comparative negligence to allocate the fault for a traffic crash.
If you fail to wear a helmet, you might bear some of the fault for any head injuries you suffer. Your share of the fault will diminish the compensation you can seek. Thus, if you are 30% at fault, you can only get 70% of your damages.
A motorcycle crash can cause incapacitating or even fatal head injuries. Contact Tillmann Law Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation to discuss your Portland motorcycle crash and the compensation you can pursue under Oregon law.