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Everything You Need To Know About Kentucky Helmet Law

kentucky helmet law

Kentucky helmet law states that those under 21 years of age and those who have had a motorcycle license for under a year are required to wear a helmet by law. However, all individuals who ride bikes–as drivers or passengers–should consider the many risks before choosing not to wear one.

helmet law

Even if you are not required to by Kentucky motorcycle helmet laws, you should still wear one to prevent yourself from experiencing a catastrophic injury in an accident. Wearing a motorcycle helmet will do more than just protect you from experiencing a head injury–it will also reduce your liability in an accident.

Motorbike accidents are already more dangerous due to the nature of the vehicle. Additionally, motorcycle operators are susceptible to head and spinal injuries, especially if they do not wear helmets. The choice to forgo a helmet can severely impact a motorcyclist should an accident occur.

Even more, if someone is injured when they had chosen not to wear a helmet, they could fail to recover full damages from a personal injury lawsuit.

Understanding Comparative Negligence

kentucky helmet law

Contributory negligence states that if a plaintiff contributed to their injuries because of negligence, such as choosing not to wear a helmet, then they would not receive compensation.

The Kentucky law of comparative negligence means that multiple parties can share responsibility for an accident. The judge or jury will assign the percentage of fault. The law states, if you were less than 50% responsible, you can sue for damages. However, any award that you receive will be reduced by the percentage of your liability.

In other words, if you were 20% responsible for the accident because you failed to wear a DOT approved helmet, then your settlement, by law, would be reduced by 20%.

Helmets Can Save Your Life–And Your Lawsuit

Any injury in a crash can be serious, and fatal injuries are far too common.

Here are some statistics about motorcycle accident injuries:

  • In 2021, when helmet use was known, 39 percent of motorcyclists killed were not wearing a helmet
  • In 2019, helmets were saving $3.2 billion in economic costs annually. Accounting for inflation alone, in 2023, this would equate to $3.8 billion in costs
  • Motorcycle riders represented 14 percent of the total traffic fatalities in 2022, despite representing only three percent of all registered vehicles annually
  • Fatalities from motorcycle accidents have increased by over 50% since Kentucky repealed its universal helmet law.
kentucky helmet law

Unfortunately, not everyone in the state is legally required to wear a helmet, which means these serious accidents will continue to occur. Motorcycle helmets are not only for your safety but also so you can comply with the Kentucky helmet laws.

Only 18 states in the US have universal helmet laws that all motorcycle riders must be wearing a helmet while riding. According to Kentucky motorcycle helmet law, those who have had their license for less than a year and are under 21 are required to use head protection.

Everyone should use a helmet. If you are riding a motorcycle, you need to have appropriate protective gear. This includes both drivers and motorcycle passengers.

Types of Head Injuries Caused By Failing to Wear a Helmet

  • Concussions: These traumatic brain injuries may cause headaches, loss of memory, and more
  • Skull fractures
  • Brain bleeding (hemorrhage): Can build up pressure and damage the brain
  • Facial injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries: May cause complete or partial paralysis
  • Soft tissue damage: Road rash or abrasions to the face and head

You can see from the potential severity of these injuries that it makes sense why the Kentucky legislature has passed these laws to prevent catastrophic injuries by wearing the right helmet.

Frequently Asked Questions

These are some of the most common questions we hear about what the law requires.

Who has to wear their helmet, according to Kentucky’s motorcycle helmet law?

Kentucky states that anyone riding a motorcycle under age 21 and anyone who has had a motorcycle license for less than a year is required to wear a helmet. This means that anyone with a motorcycle instruction permit would also fall under this requirement.

Are passengers riding on your motorcycle required to wear a helmet?

Yes, Kentucky motorcycle helmet laws apply to passengers if they are under the age of 21.

How can I confirm DOT certification for my helmet?

Look for a DOT sticker on the back.

Will my health insurance cover injuries?

Coverage of your medical bills will be determined by your motorcycle insurance policy, your health insurance policy, and who was at fault for the accident.

How does wearing a helmet affect my case?

Wearing a helmet reduces your share of responsibility for your injuries. The other drivers involved could claim that you were partially responsible for your injuries because you were helmetless. Even if the other motorists were engaged in distracted driving, speeding, or other reckless behaviors, your choice could reduce your total compensation or settlement offer.

Can I file a claim if my loved one was killed in a crash?

Fatal crashes are tragic for everyone involved. If your loved one was killed in an accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Speak with an attorney at McCoy & Sparks law firm to understand your options.

Trust McCoy & Sparks—Kentucky Personal Injury Attorneys

Recognized as one of Central Kentucky’s best law firms for over a decade and counting, McCoy & Sparks works to help people in trouble.

You owe us nothing unless we recover compensation for you. Make the right call to (844) 4KY-WINS for a risk-free consultation with one of our Kentucky attorneys today.