Does Louisiana have a law requiring motorcycle riders to wear a helmet?
Yes. Louisiana has joined a number of other states in passing a "universal" motorcycle helmet law that requires anyone riding a motorcycle -- whether the operator of the motorcycle or a passenger -- to wear a proper helmet.
Specifically, Louisiana's helmet law states "No person shall operate or ride upon any motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or motorized bicycle unless the person is equipped with and is wearing on the head a safety helmet of the type and design manufactured for use by operators of such vehicles, which shall be secured properly with a chin strap while the vehicle is in motion."
The helmet must meet standards adopted by the commissioner of the state's Office of Motor Vehicles. To see the full text of this law, check out Louisiana Revised Statutes section 32:190.
If a motorcycle rider or passenger is found to be in violation of Louisiana's motorcycle helmet law, they are subject to a $50 fine. But if you get into a motorcycle accident while you're violating the helmet law in Louisiana, you might have more than a fine to worry about.
Louisiana follows a "comparative negligence" rule when the plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit is also partially to blame for the underlying accident. Essentially, this rule acts to reduce a successful plaintiff's damages award (the amount of money they receive) by an amount equal to their share of legal fault.
Let's look at an example for a better understanding of how this rule works. Let's say that after trial, the jury awards you $10,000 in damages, but they also rule that your violation of the state's helmet law makes you 30 percent liable. In that situation, you'd receive only $7,000 (the original $10,000 award minus your 30 percent share of fault).
For the details on Louisiana's rules on shared fault in vehicle accident cases, check out our companion article Louisiana Car Accident Laws.
by: David Goguen, J.D.