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Helmet Laws and Compensation for Injuries

How Wearing a Helmet (Or Not) Affects Your Compensation

Wearing a helmet can be the difference between life and death for a motorcyclist involved in a crash, and oddly enough, only 19 states, including California, and D.C. require motorcyclists to wear them. 

Any motorcycle crash lawyer can tell you that collisions are injurious, even when the rider is wearing a helmet. However, wearing a helmet can reduce risk of death by 37% and risk of serious injury by 13%.  Since wearing a helmet is so crucial to preventing the wearer’s injuries, does the decision to not wear one affect your entitlement to compensation for bodily injury following an accident? The motorcycle accident lawyer Los Angeles at Grey Law looked into this legal matter. 

If you are a motorcyclist involved in an accident, your state’s helmet law plays a huge part in determining whether or not you can get compensation for any resulting head and neck injuries. You should make yourself aware of the possible compensation scenarios before you hit the road and before you reach out to an attorney for motorcycle accident compensation.

Wearing Helmet, No Head or Neck Injury

Not all injuries are apparent, so you should get checked out by a doctor even if you don’t feel like you suffered any head trauma, as brain injuries are common in traffic collisions. If you are in an accident and you don’t suffer any injuries to your head and neck, then the fact you weren’t wearing a helmet shouldn’t affect your claim. 

However, showing the courts that you were careful enough to wear a helmet will fare well for you since it gives an impression of responsibility. 

Not Wearing Helmet, No Head or Neck Injury

Your motorcycle injury lawyer Los Angeles will tell you that the fact that you were not wearing a helmet in your crash is not legally relevant to your case, as long as you did not suffer any head or neck injuries. This is even true in states, like California, where you are legally required to wear a helmet. 

However, if you sustained any other injuries in your crash, such as broken ribs or a fractured spinal cord, you and your motorcycle crash lawyer will still have a case for compensation.

Wearing Helmet, Head or Neck Injury

If you sustained head or neck injuries despite the fact that you were wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, then you undoubtedly should be compensated for your bodily injuries. Your Los Angeles injury lawyer can even present your helmet to the courts as evidence that you were not negligent in the accident.

Not Wearing Helmet, Head or Neck Injury, No State Law

If you weren’t wearing a helmet and you suffered head or neck injuries, you may still have to battle for compensation, even if it’s not required to wear one by law. It’s possible that your head and neck injuries could have been prevented by a helmet, and the defense will argue that claim in court. Even if your state does not legally require you to wear a helmet, your insurance agency will likely raise your rates due to your negligence, as many people are aware that helmets serve as head protection. 

Not Wearing Helmet, Head or Neck Injury, State Law

If your state has a helmet law in place and you sustain a head injury while not wearing a helmet, recovering compensation for your injuries will be extremely difficult. The fact that your state legally requires you to wear a helmet law and you chose not to automatically establishes your comparative negligence.

Helmet Laws in California

The state of California requires that motorcycle riders wear a helmet approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation. A U.S. DOT compliant motorcycle safety helmet will provide you with the best protection possible, and the California Department of Motorvehicles details how to choose one that fits properly.

Even though the law ends at wearing a helmet, the state also advises that motorcyclists wear protective eye gear, like goggles, or choose a helmet with a face cover. Wearing a sturdy jacket and pants is also recommended to protect the rest of your body from injuries, especially road rash. They also recommend wearing bright or reflective clothing to increase visibility.

Pure Comparative Negligence

California goes by the law of pure comparative negligence, meaning that the fault of both parties is examined when determining who’s liable for compensation. Pure comparative negligence puts a percentage of fault on each party, and that party has to pay according to how liable they are. 

For example, if the rider is 40% at fault for their damages due to not wearing a helmet, then they must pay 40% of the damages. Pure comparative negligence makes wearing a helmet all the more crucial to your wellbeing following an accident, as your percentage of damages owed will be lowered due to wearing safety gear.

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