Washington DC Motorcycle Helmet Laws

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Riding a motorcycle is fun, but it can also be extremely dangerous. That is why motorcycle riders need to wear helmets while riding. Most states have a mandatory helmet law, requiring motorcycle operators and passengers to wear a helmet when operating their motor vehicles. Motorcycle helmets can help protect riders from serious brain injuries in an accident.

If you’ve been in a motorcycle accident due to someone else’s negligence, you do not have to go through it alone. At Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., we help you every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation! We’ll fight for the justice you deserve.

Motorcyclist holding helmet equipment

Washington D.C. Motorcycle Helmet Law

In Washington DC, all motorcycle riders must wear a DOT-approved helmet when operating their vehicle. This includes both drivers and passengers. In addition to a helmet, motorcyclists must wear protective eye gear such as goggles or a windshield.

The Dangers of Not Wearing a Motorcycle Helmet

Wearing a motorcycle helmet can greatly reduce the risk of injuries or death in the event of an accident. Riders often get ejected or fall off their bike and hit their head on the road or on another vehicle during an accident. Even with protective gear, this can cause traumatic brain injury. Helmets help protect riders from severe traumatic brain injuries, facial injuries, and other types of head trauma.

Some of the potential complications of a head injury after a motorcycle accident include:

  • Skull fractures
  • Brain damage
  • Memory loss
  • Paralysis
  • Coma
  • Death

In addition to the safety benefits, wearing a helmet can also help you avoid getting a ticket. In Washington, D.C., it is against the law to ride without a helmet, and you can be fined if you are caught doing so.

Motorcycle Accident Statistics

Washington DC Motorcycle Helmet Laws, Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C.,

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2019, motorcycles made up 3 percent of all registered vehicles in the United States. NHTSA also reports that motorcyclists are 29 times more likely to die in traffic accidents than occupants of passenger vehicles.

There were over 5,000 motorcycle deaths and 84,000 injuries, and in states without universal helmet laws, 57% of motorcyclists killed were not wearing helmets, compared to 9% in states with universal helmet laws.

DC Laws and Motorcycle Rider Safety

All motorcyclists must follow the traffic laws and regulations of Washington D.C.

  • Motorcyclists must have passed a motorcycle rider safety course and have a valid driver’s license, insurance, and registration to operate a motorcycle in Washington D.C.
  • Obey all posted speed limits, use proper turn signals, and yield to pedestrians.
  • Motorcycle riders are not allowed to lane split in Washington DC. Lane splitting is when a motorcycle rider drives between two lanes of traffic, which is illegal in most states.
  • Motorcyclists cannot park their bikes on the sidewalk
  • The use and possession of radar detectors are prohibited
  • Motorcycles must have a passenger footrest and seat whenever carrying a passenger
  • Motorcycles must have a left-side rear-view mirror

Ways to Avoid a Motorcycle Accident in Washington DC

In addition to wearing a safety helmet, there are other ways that you can avoid being injured in a motorcycle accident.

Some of these safety tips include:

  • Obeying the speed limit
  • Never lane splitting
  • Yielding to pedestrians
  • Using proper turn signals
  • Being aware of your surroundings
  • Avoiding distracted driving
  • Make sure your motorcycle is in good working condition before you ride
  • Wearing additional protective gear such as gloves, boots, long pants, and a jacket

What Happens If I’m in an Accident?

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If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, there are certain steps that you should take to ensure your safety and protect your legal rights.

Some of these steps include:

  • Move to a safe location off the road – if you are able, move your motorcycle to the side of the road to avoid being hit by oncoming traffic
  • Call 911 – even if you do not think that you or anyone else is injured, it is important to call the police so that they can investigate the accident and file a report.
  • Get medical attention – if you are injured, it is important to get medical attention as soon as possible.
  • Do not admit fault – you should avoid admitting fault or apologizing to anyone at the accident scene, as this could be used against you later.
  • Gather evidence – if you can, take pictures of the accident scene, your injuries, and any damage to your motorcycle. You should also get the contact information of any witnesses.
  • Contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney – it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible after an accident so that they can begin investigating and building your case.

Hire a Motorcycle Accident Attorney

The Washington, D.C. motorcycle accident lawyers with Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. have a proven track record of success in helping clients obtain the maximum compensation possible for injuries they have suffered due to the negligence of others. Our firm has consistently demonstrated we have the expertise needed to help our clients see that justice is served. We have the resources needed to conduct thorough investigations of all the circumstances contributing to a motorcycle accident, gathering evidence to establish negligence and other types of liability.

Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. has obtained more than $500 million in verdicts and settlements, and our attorneys have more than a century of combined legal experience. Two of our partners are certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Our firm has also earned the highest AV® Rating from Martindale-Hubbell®, one of the most respected attorney-ranking service organizations in the United States. Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. attorneys work passionately on behalf of our clients to help them secure fair compensation – there is no type of case that is too complex for us to litigate. 

Filing a Motorcycle Accident Claim in Washington DC

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you may wonder how to file a personal injury claim.

The first step is to contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney who can review your case and advise you on the best course of action.

Your attorney will help you gather evidence, such as photos of the scene of the accident, medical records, and witness statements. They will also negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to try to reach a fair settlement.

What Compensation Can I Recover in a Motorcycle Accident Claim?

What Compensation Can I Recover in a Motorcycle Accident Claim?

There are many different types of compensation that motorcycle accident victims may be able to recover in their claims.

Some of these include:

  • Medical expenses can include current and future medical costs related to your injuries, such as hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation, and medication.
  • Lost wages – if you have been injured in an accident and are unable to work, you may be able to recover compensation for the wages that you have lost.
  • Pain and suffering is a type of “non-economic” damage that can compensate you for the physical pain and emotional suffering you have experienced due to your injuries.
  • Property damage – if your motorcycle or other property was damaged or destroyed in the accident, you may be able to recover compensation for the cost of repairs or replacement.

If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, it is important to contact an experienced attorney who can help you understand your legal rights and options. An attorney can also help you gather evidence, build a strong case, and fight for the maximum amount of compensation that you are entitled to.

How Much is My Claim Worth?

The value of your motorcycle accident claim will depend on many different factors, such as the severity of your injuries, the amount of medical expenses you have incurred, and the length of time you have missed from work. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney will be able to review your case and give you a better idea of how much your claim may be worth.

We Get You the Compensation You Deserve

For more than 50 years, the Washington DC lawyers at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. have successfully represented individuals and families who have been injured or lost loved ones due to someone else’s negligence. Here is a small sample of some of our successful verdicts and settlements: 

  • $3.5 million for a man who suffered a brain injury when a District of Columbia police officer opened his door into traffic and “doored” him. 
  • $6 million on behalf of a man who suffered a brain injury due to a rear-end collision.
  • $5 million medical malpractice settlement on behalf of a 14-year-old client who suffered a severe brain injury due to a doctor’s inappropriate chemical product use.
  • $4.8 million on behalf of a severely injured man when his motorcycle struck a trailer being pulled by a minivan.
  • $4.5 million for a woman who was seriously injured in a pedestrian accident after being struck from behind by a transit bus in a crosswalk.
  • $600,000 verdict was obtained against the United States Postal Service due to the negligence of one of its drivers, who pulled out from a stop sign in front of our client’s motorcycle.

See additional examples of our case victories and settlements on our “Case Results” page.

What Should I Do if the Insurance Company Offers Me a Settlement?

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It is important to keep in mind that insurance companies are not on your side, and their goal is to settle your claim for as little money as possible.

If the insurance company offers you a settlement, you should always consult with an attorney before accepting it.

If you hire an attorney, your attorney will be able to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to try to reach a fair settlement that covers all of your damages.

What if I am Partially at Fault for the Accident?

In some cases, both parties may be found to be partially at fault for an accident. For example, if you were speeding at the time of the accident but the other driver ran a red light, you may both be at fault.

Washington DC generally follows the contributory negligence rule. If you are in a car accident partly caused by your negligence, you will not be able to recover for your injuries or damages. If both parties contributed to causing an accident, even if one party only shares a small percentage of fault, neither party will be able to recover for their damages. 

However, if you are riding a motorcycle (or if you are riding a similar vehicle such as a bicycle or ATV, or if you are a pedestrian), you can recover full compensation for your damages even if you were negligent. In fact, if you are a motorcyclist, pedestrian, bicyclist, or another vulnerable user, you could be 50% negligent and recover 100% of your damages.

Statute of Limitations on Motorcycle Crashes in DC

The statute of limitations is the deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit. In Washington DC, the statute of limitations for most personal injury claims is three years from the accident date. This means that if you do not file your lawsuit within three years of the date of the accident, you will most likely be barred from recovering any compensation.

However, there are different deadlines for different causes of action, such as for wrongful death claims (which have a 2-year statute of limitations in Washington, DC).

In addition, many claims have certain notice requirements which are much shorter. You should contact an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer to discuss the deadlines that apply to your case as soon as possible.  

Contact a DC Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today

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If you are looking for the highest level of representation available for your motorcycle accident claim, turn to Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. Our firm has helped clients recover more than $500 million in compensation, and we have more than 100 years of combined experience. All of our partners are recognized by Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers®, and our firm includes three past presidents of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C.

We work to help our clients obtain fair settlement offers to compensate them for the injuries they’ve suffered, but our attorneys are extremely well-equipped to go to trial if needed. Call (202) 659-8600  or contact us online to get the proven legal representation you deserve.

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