Head Trauma from Motorcycle Accidents in St. Petersburg

Riding a motorcycle comes with significant risks, especially head injuries. Even when wearing protective gear, motorcyclists in St. Petersburg, Florida, can sustain head trauma in accidents. Understanding the process of seeking compensation for these injuries is essential for victims and their families. At St. Petersburg Personal Injury Attorneys McQuaid & Douglas, we have handled countless motorcycle accident cases and can help.

Are Motorcyclists Required to Wear Helmets in Florida?

Florida’s Helmet Law

Florida law mandates that all motorcycle riders under the age of 21 must wear a helmet at all times when operating or riding a motorcycle. This is a strict requirement with no exceptions. For riders who are 21 years of age or older, the law provides more flexibility, but there are still important conditions to be aware of.

Helmet Requirement for Riders 21 and Older

For motorcyclists aged 21 and older, wearing a helmet is not mandatory if they meet specific insurance requirements. According to Florida Statute 316.211, riders in this age group can choose to ride without a helmet if they have an insurance policy that provides at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries incurred in a motorcycle accident. This insurance is intended to cover medical expenses resulting from a crash.

Eye Protection

Regardless of age, all motorcycle operators must wear eye protection when riding. This requirement applies to all motorcyclists, whether they choose to wear a helmet or not. Acceptable forms of eye protection include goggles, a face shield on the helmet, or glasses made of shatterproof material.

Why Helmets Matter

While Florida law allows some flexibility for riders 21 and older, it’s essential to understand the significant benefits of wearing a helmet. Helmets are proven to reduce the severity of head injuries and increase the chances of survival in a motorcycle accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), helmets are approximately 37% effective in preventing motorcycle deaths and about 67% effective in preventing brain injuries.

Legal and Financial Implications If Not Wearing a Helmet

Choosing not to wear a helmet, even if legally permissible, might have consequences. In the event of an accident, riders without helmets may face higher medical bills, longer recovery times, and more severe injuries. Additionally, insurance companies may scrutinize claims more closely if the rider was not wearing a helmet, potentially complicating the process of seeking compensation.

Lack of Helmet’s Impact on Compensation Claims

Wearing a helmet can also affect personal injury claims. Suppose you sustain a head injury while not wearing a helmet. In that case, the at-fault party or your own insurance company might argue that your injuries were more severe due to the lack of a helmet, potentially reducing your compensation. This concept is known as “comparative negligence,” where your actions can impact the amount of damages you are entitled to receive.

However, proving that a helmet would have completely prevented a head injury can be challenging. While a helmet may prevent minor injuries like abrasions to the skin, it is much harder to prove that a helmet would have entirely prevented severe injuries caused by extreme forces. Therefore, even in cases where helmet use is questioned, you still have a good chance of securing fair compensation. With a capable St. Petersburg motorcycle accident attorney at your side, you can effectively navigate the complexities of your claim and advocate for your rights.

Understanding Head Trauma in Motorcycle Accidents

Types of Head Injuries

Head trauma can range from mild concussions to severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Common types of head injuries include:

  • Concussions: Often caused by a blow to the head, resulting in temporary cognitive impairment.
  • Contusions: Bruising of the brain tissue, which can cause significant neurological damage.
  • Skull Fractures: Breaks in the skull bone, potentially leading to brain injury.
  • Diffuse Axonal Injury: Widespread damage to brain cells, often resulting in severe and permanent impairment.
  • Hematomas: Blood clots in or around the brain that can increase pressure on the brain tissue.

The Role of Protective Gear

Protective gear, such as helmets, is crucial for reducing the severity of head injuries. Helmets are designed to absorb impact and protect the skull and brain. However, even with the best protective gear, motorcyclists can still suffer significant head trauma in an accident. The impact forces involved in motorcycle crashes can exceed the protective capabilities of helmets, leading to serious injuries.

Other Injuries Beyond Head Trauma Common in Motorcycle Crashes

In addition to head trauma, motorcycle accidents can result in a wide range of other serious injuries that qualify for compensation. Common injuries include fractures and broken bones, which often occur in the arms, legs, and ribs due to the impact of a crash. Road rash, which is severe skin abrasions caused by sliding across the pavement, can lead to painful infections and scarring. Spinal cord injuries are also prevalent, potentially causing paralysis or long-term disability. Internal injuries, such as damage to organs or internal bleeding, require immediate medical attention and can have lasting health implications. These injuries, among others, highlight the need for comprehensive compensation to cover medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Understanding the common causes of motorcycle accidents can help in building a strong case for compensation. Some frequent causes include:

  • Distracted Driving: Drivers not paying attention to the road or to motorcyclists.
  • Speeding: Excessive speed reduces reaction time and increases the severity of collisions.
  • Driving Under the Influence: Impaired drivers are a significant hazard to motorcyclists.
  • Failure to Yield: Drivers failing to yield the right of way to motorcycles.
  • Road Hazards: Poorly maintained roads, debris, and other hazards can cause accidents.
  • Weather Conditions: Adverse weather can make riding more dangerous.

Legal Grounds for Seeking Compensation


Most motorcycle accident claims are based on negligence. To prove negligence, you must show that:

  • Duty of Care: The driver owed you a duty of care.
  • Breach of Duty: The driver breached that duty by acting carelessly or recklessly.
  • Causation: The breach of duty caused your injuries.
  • Damages: You suffered damages as a result of the accident.

Comparative Negligence in Florida

Florida follows a comparative negligence system, meaning that if you are partially at fault for the accident, your compensation may be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you are found 20% at fault, your compensation will be reduced by 20%.

Steps to Take After a Motorcycle Accident

Seek Medical Attention

Your health and safety are the top priority. Seek immediate medical attention, even if you feel fine. Some head injuries may not be immediately apparent.

Document the Accident

Gather as much evidence as possible. Take photos of the scene, your injuries, and any damage to your motorcycle. Collect contact information from witnesses and obtain a copy of the police report.

Contact an Experienced St. Petersburg Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Engage an experienced St. Petersburg motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible. At McQuaid & Douglas, we can help you navigate the legal process, gather evidence, and build a strong compensation case.

Compensation for Head Trauma in Motorcycle Accidents

Medical Expenses

You are entitled to compensation for all medical expenses related to the accident, including:

  • Emergency Room Visits
  • Hospital Stays
  • Surgeries
  • Medications
  • Rehabilitation and Therapy
  • Future Medical Care

Lost Wages

If your injury prevents you from working, you can claim compensation for lost wages, including future earning capacity if your ability to work is permanently affected.

Pain and Suffering

Compensation for pain and suffering accounts for the physical pain and emotional distress caused by the accident. This is often a significant part of the compensation in severe injury cases.

Property Damage

You can also claim compensation for the repair or replacement of your motorcycle and any other personal property damaged in the accident.

Wrongful Death

If a loved one dies from head trauma sustained in a motorcycle accident, the family may file a wrongful death claim. This can provide compensation for funeral expenses, loss of companionship, and other related costs.

The Claims Process

Filing a Claim

Your St. Petersburg motorcycle accident attorney will help you file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. This includes compiling all relevant evidence and documentation to support your claim.

Negotiating a Settlement

Insurance companies often try to minimize payouts. Your St. Petersburg motorcycle accident attorney will negotiate on your behalf to ensure you receive fair compensation. This may involve several rounds of negotiations.


If a fair settlement cannot be reached, your attorney may recommend taking your case to court. This involves filing a lawsuit and presenting your case before a judge or jury. Having an experienced St. Petersburg motorcycle accident attorney is crucial during litigation to effectively advocate for your rights.

The Importance of Legal Representation

Expertise and Experience

The St. Petersburg motorcycle accident attorneys at McQuaid & Douglas have extensive experience handling motorcycle accident cases. We understand the complexities involved, including dealing with insurance companies, proving negligence, and calculating fair compensation.

Personalized Approach

We take a personalized approach to each case, ensuring that we understand your specific circumstances and needs. This allows us to build a robust case tailored to your situation.

Maximizing Compensation

Our goal is to maximize your compensation. We thoroughly investigate each case, gather compelling evidence, and aggressively negotiate with insurance companies to secure the best possible outcome for our clients.

Contact a St. Petersburg Motorcycle Accident Attorney For a Free Consultation

Suffering head trauma in a motorcycle accident, even when wearing protective gear, can have devastating consequences. The dedicated team at St. Petersburg Personal Injury Attorneys McQuaid & Douglas is here to support you every step of the way.

We offer a free consultation to discuss your case and explore your options. Don’t navigate this challenging time alone—contact us today to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve and to hold the responsible parties accountable. With our experience, expertise, and dedication, our St. Petersburg motorcycle accident attorneys are committed to achieving the best possible outcome for you and your family.

Award-Winning Attorneys at Personal Injury Attorneys McQuaid & Douglas

Personal Injury Attorneys McQuaid & Douglas are the team you need to win your personal injury case. We are committed to fighting for victims and their loved ones. We give our clients a voice in the legal system, provide them the opportunity to tell their stories and fight tirelessly for justice.

For more information please contact us at Personal Injury Attorneys McQuad & Douglas to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today. We have three convenient locations in Pinellas County and Hillsborough County to better serve you.

St Petersburg Personal Injury Attorneys McQuaid & Douglas

5858 Central Ave suite a

St. Petersburg, FL 33707

(727) 381-2300

St Petersburg Personal Injury Attorneys McQuaid & Douglas – Downtown Office

136 4th St N #2233-A

St. Petersburg, FL 33701

(727) 381-2300

Riverview Personal Injury Attorneys McQuaid & Douglas

12953 U.S. 301 Suite 102a

Riverview, FL 33578

(813) 639-8111