Part of the fun of riding a motorcycle is the freedom riders experience not being inside doors and under roofs. And of course the open highways of Southern California (PCH, 405, 101 to name a few) and the excellent weather creates a big motorcycle culture. While states differ on motorcycle safety requirements, California is one of 19 states that requires all motorcycle riders to wear a helmet. Outlined in California Vehicle Code Section 27803, all riders including passengers must wear a helmet and police will pull over and cite those that break this law. But what happens if you get into a serious accident on your motorcycle and you are not wearing a helmet- can you still file a personal injury lawsuit?
Motorcycle Personal Injury Accidents Without Helmets
You made a mistake and did not wear a helmet and got into a major motorcycle crash. Or a loved one died in a motorcycle accident and you are wondering if you can still file a wrongful death lawsuit even though they were breaking the law at the time of their accident/death. Motorcycle accidents are some of the most serious types of roadway accidents out there because when these unprotected riders are hit by a much larger car or truck, they lack defenses. The good news from a legal standpoint is that California is a comparative negligence state when it comes to personal injury accidents, including motorcycle crashes so you will not be barred from filing a lawsuit just because the rider was not wearing a helmet. What comparative negligence does it looks at the percentage of fault each party played in the accident to determine legal and financial liability. So if the motorcycle rider is found to be 50% at fault for their accident then their ultimately recovery will be reduced by half.
In the case of riders without helmets this means that he or she can still get money (in some cases, a lot of money) for the percentage of the accident that was not their fault but their ultimate take home settlement amount will be greatly reduced by their failure to follow the law. Part of this is because a huge portion of motorcycle accident settlement amounts cover common motorcycle injuries, of which head injuries are at the top of the list. If the rider had no head injuries but other injuries and issues stemming from the accident, they will see less of an impact on their overall recovery.
It goes without saying that in California and everywhere else you should wear a helmet for our own safety but if you find yourself in a motorcycle accident in California, you should not assume that just because you weren't wearing a helmet that you cannot file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Some things you can recover in a successful lawsuit include:
- Medical Bills
- Missed work
- Disability arrangements
- Pain and suffering
- and much more depending on the circumstances of your accident
Personal injury cases like this are complicated because the other side will obviously argue that your failure to wear a helmet should reduce your financial recovery to an amount much lower than you deserve. Do not let this happen to you and your family-- getting into a serious or deadly California motorcycle crash is not only devastating it can also be extremely expensive. In your search for the best motorcycle lawyer near you, look for a law firm that has experience handling these very types of cases. At Calabasas-based motorcycle accident law firm Walch Law, we have the experience and success record you want on your side. We take all of our cases on a contingency fee basis so you don't pay us anything until we get you paid-- get in touch with us now to learn how we can help. From Temecula to Napa, we take cases all over California.