The general answer is yes. However, there can be complications. A brief review of the law and how it helps motorcyclist, even if not wearing a helmet while riding their bike.  

North Carolina’s Motorcycle Helmet Law  

North Carolina law requires all motorcycle riders and passengers to wear helmets that comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218. This law is in place to ensure the safety of riders and reduce the risk of severe head injuries in an accident. 

The Legal Implications of Injuries From Not Wearing a Helmet    

In some states, a biker or their passenger can be denied recovery for medical bills or injuries that would have been prevented if not wearing a helmet. Typically, this would pertain to head injuries. For the insurance company to prove its defense in denying damages, it would have to present expert testimony from an accident reconstruction expert and medical doctor, who specializes in the type of injury claimed by the injured party.    

The situation is further complicated by North Carolina’s strict contributory negligence rule, where even a minimal fault of just 1% attributed to the injured party can hinder their right to recover damages. The absence of a helmet might be viewed as contributory negligence, especially in cases involving head injuries that may have been prevented if wearing a helmet.   

Fortunately, this devastating doctrine does not bar a biker’s claim in North Carolina if they were not wearing helmets, which is required by law.   

Complications in Obtaining Damages for Injuries in a Motorcycle Accident When Not Wearing a Helmet     

Notwithstanding the law, will insurance carriers and jurors award compensation to a biker who received injuries that they would not have received if wearing a helmet as required by law? In representing bikers for over 25 years, we have heard and witnessed the bias that insurance carriers and their adjusters seem to have against motorcyclists. Insurance carriers know jurors can be harsh on injured bikers and likely harsher on bikers not wearing helmets. Unlike other states, North Carolina requires 12 jurors to sit on civil trials and requires a unanimous jury verdict. This just makes it harder to obtain a full and fair recovery.    

Seeking Experienced Legal Counsel Is Key to a Full Recovery After a Motorcycle Accident

With North Carolina’s complex negligence and jury rules, obtaining legal advice is paramount. Consulting with a seasoned personal injury attorney in Charlotte, such as those at Auger & Auger, can provide clarity, ensuring that you fully understand your rights and the strategies available for navigating your claim effectively.