There are many misconceptions online regarding California’s motorcycle laws. Arguably, the top misunderstanding clients have on this topic has to do with helmet use. Since California requires motorcycle riders to wear a helmet, some people assume motorcyclists can’t file an injury claim.
Although California is strict on helmet use, motorcyclists and their families can still seek compensation through a personal injury or wrongful death claim if a rider is injured or killed in an accident that wasn’t their fault.
California’s Comparative Negligence Law
The reason all motorcycle riders can apply for claims has to do with California’s comparative negligence standards. Plaintiffs in California don’t have to prove 100 percent negligence to win an injury case. Instead, juries can assign partial blame to both parties, which will affect the total compensation defendants dole out.
So, if a motorcyclist can prove the defendant was primarily responsible for their crash, they could win significant damages for medical expenses. However, if a motorcyclist wasn’t wearing a helmet at the time of a crash, it’s unlikely they will recover 100 percent of their damages.
Remember that comparative negligence works both ways. Since California requires motorcyclists of all ages to wear helmets, the defendant could argue the plaintiff played a partial role in their injury. In most cases, this will result in a reduction in total compensation.
Other States with Helmet Laws
While it may seem like California’s laws are super strict, there are a few other states with universal helmet laws. According to a 2021 report by the IIHS, at least 18 states require all motorcyclists to wear DOT-approved helmets.
However, the majority of US states have age restrictions on mandatory helmet use. Typically, states only require helmets for motorcyclists under 20-years-old. There are also a few rare states like New Hampshire that have no helmet laws.
If motorcyclists are traveling outside of California, they should research the helmet laws in their new territory. Knowing these laws could make a crucial difference in a court of law, especially if states don’t have comparative negligence standards.
Contact a Madera Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today
Contact our Madera motorcycle accident attorneys today and we can help you understand all of your legal options. Even if you weren’t wearing a helmet, you could still be eligible to recover a substantial portion of your personal injury damages. When you hire Maison Law to represent your case, we will build the strongest case possible to help you recover your fair share from your motorcycle accident.