Are Motorcyclists Required to Wear Helmets in California?

-Posted On July 4, 2022 In Motorcycle Accidents-

Motorcyclists are at risk of serious injuries in an accident. Because motorcycles lack the same protections as a motor vehicle, a rider can easily be thrown from his or her bike and suffer devastating and sometimes fatal damage.

Wearing a helmet greatly reduces the risk of severe injury and death in a motorcycle accident. To ensure the safety of motorcyclists on the road, California requires anyone who rides on a motorcycle to wear a federally approved helmet.

How Helmets Reduce the Risk of Severe Injury

It’s no secret that helmets save lives. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by 69%. Wearing a helmet saved an estimated 1,872 in 2017 alone, and a further 749 people would still be alive if all motorcyclists wore a helmet.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the most serious injuries a person can sustain. A TBI occurs when you suffer a blow or bump to the head, leading to swelling, bleeding, and bruising in the brain. Without immediate medical care, TBIs can be fatal.

Helmets reduce the risk of these injuries by cushioning the skull from impact. During a collision, a motorcyclist can easily fall off of his or her bike and collide with the road. Without a helmet, a severe TBI is more likely to occur. With a helmet, a motorcyclist can protect his or her brain from this life-threatening damage.

California Motorcycle Helmet Laws

California has a universal helmet law that requires all people who ride a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or motorized bicycle to wear a helmet. The helmet must be approved by the Department of Transportation and securely fit the rider’s head, meaning that it fits snugly without moving.

Failure to wear a motorcycle helmet in California could result in a fine of up to $250 per offense. If the motorcyclist was speeding or committing another traffic violation at the time of the incident, the fine could be higher. Plus, failure to wear a helmet could impact a potential injury claim.

Comparative Negligence in California Motorcycle Accident Claims

Under California’s fault accident laws, victims of motorcycle accidents have the right to file a lawsuit or insurance claim against the person who was responsible for the collision. To secure compensation in a claim, the victim will need to prove that the defendant’s actions caused the accident and the resulting injuries.

If you were not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, you could face difficulties when filing a claim. The insurance company may use this information to justify a claim denial. During the lawsuit process, the court may use California’s pure comparative negligence laws to reduce your settlement.

According to these laws, the court will reduce your award by the amount of liability that you share. For example, if you are injured and request a $10,000 settlement, the court may assign you 40% of the fault for not wearing a helmet. As a result, you could only recover $6,000.

Speak to an Attorney About Your Motorcycle Accident

If you were injured in a motorcycle accident but were not wearing a helmet at the time, you need an attorney on your side. A San Francisco motorcycle accident lawyer can advocate for your right to maximum compensation and protect you against accusations of shared fault.

Speak to a lawyer as soon as possible following your accident to strategize your next steps.

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