Does Mississippi have a law requiring motorcyclists and their passengers to wear a helmet?
Yes. Just like around 20 or so other states, Mississippi has passed a "universal" motorcycle helmet law that requires anyone riding on a motorcycle -- whether as an operator or passenger -- to wear a proper helmet.
Specifically, Mississippi Code Annotated section 63-7-64 states that "No person shall operate or ride upon any motorcycle or motor scooter upon the public roads or highways of this state unless such person is wearing on his or her head a crash helmet that complies with minimum guidelines established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration."
You may be wondering what happens if you are in violation of a helmet law in Mississippi, you get injured in a motorcycle accident, and you file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver who is to blame for the crash. The fact that you weren't wearing a helmet could still harm your case.
That's because Mississippi follows a "comparative fault" rule when a person who has filed an injury lawsuit also bears some level of negligence in connection with the case. And violating a helmet law could certainly qualify as negligence, especially if you're seeking compensation for head injuries. If your case goes to trial and the jury finds that you were indeed negligent, any damages you're awarded will be reduced by a percentage that equals your share of legal blame. To learn more about shared fault rules in personal injury cases stemming from traffic accidents in Mississippi, check out our article Mississippi Car Accident Laws.
by: David Goguen, J.D.