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Maine Motorcycle Helmet Law

Maine Helmet Law

In some states, wearing protective headgear is a legal requirement for riding motorcycles. However, in Maine, under section 2083 of Title 29, Chapter 19, Subchapter 1, the safety helmet requirement only applies to certain classes of riders: those under 18 years of age, those operating under a learner's permit, those who have only successfully completed a driving test within the last year and their passengers. Failure to follow this rule is a traffic infraction. Although this law applies to minors and inexperienced riders, it is wise to ride with a helmet even if you are an experienced rider, in order to reduce the damages you suffer in the event of an accident. If you are injured as a result of another driver's negligence or a motorcycle defect, a knowledgeable Maine motorcycle accident attorney can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

Mitigation of Damages

In Maine, a plaintiff injured in a motorcycle accident may recover for negligence if (1) a defendant has a duty towards him, (2) the defendant breaches that duty, (3) the defendant's actions are a proximate cause of the accident, and (4) if the plaintiff suffers damages (compensable injuries). However, Maine requires plaintiffs to "mitigate" their damages. Under the doctrine of mitigation of damages, a plaintiff must take reasonable steps to minimize losses caused by a defendant's negligence. This means that a Maine defendant or his attorney will look for ways in which a plaintiff could have guarded against the extent of injury, or could have avoided being hurt in an accident altogether.

Usually mitigation of damages doctrine applies to events that happen after the accident. For example, a person who fails to seek treatment in spite of severe pain in his head for months after a motorcycle accident may be found not to have mitigated his damages if it turns out that immediate treatment would have reduced the extent of the injury. However, Maine courts have not considered whether failure to wear a helmet can also be considered a failure to mitigate one's damages in a personal injury context.

Maine is a modified comparative negligence state. This means that a plaintiff's own negligence or failure to act reasonably may be considered by a jury in determining a fault. A plaintiff in Maine that is found to be 50% or more at fault for his injuries may be absolutely barred from recovery. This doctrine can come into play in the event that a plaintiff fails to wear a helmet and as a result is more seriously injured than he would have been if he were wearing a helmet.

In some jurisdictions, a jury may not consider a plaintiff's failure to wear a helmet; this evidence is not considered relevant in Colorado, for example. However, in 1995, a First Circuit Court of Appeals (federal court) interpreted Maine's comparative negligence law to find that it was permissible to consider evidence that a plaintiff failed to wear a helmet, where all evidence showed he would not have suffered such a serious injury if he only he had been wearing a helmet in the accident. Head injuries often occur in spite of wearing a helmet. However, it is prudent to wear a motorcycle helmet so that should an accident occur, a negligent driver is not able to try to point to your failure to wear a helmet as a reason to offer you anything less than the full amount of damages to which you are entitled.

Retain an Experienced Maine Motorcycle Lawyer

If you are injured or a loved one is killed as a result of negligence, recklessness or a defective motorcycle, you should retain a trustworthy Maine motorcycle injury attorney to help obtain compensation for your losses. Contact Peter Thompson & Associates at 1-800-804-2004 or via our online form.