Can You Recover Compensation When Someone Else Causes You Injury but You’re Not Wearing a Helmet?
California, like many other states, requires motorcyclists to wear a helmet while operating a bike on the road. You can receive a ticket for failure to do so. But what happens if you’re on a motorcycle and another motorist causes an accident that leaves you injured? Are you precluded from seeking damages because you weren’t wearing a helmet?
The Impact of Not Wearing a Helmet on a Personal Injury Claim
Fortunately, the fact that you weren’t wearing a helmet does not automatically prevent you from filing a lawsuit for your injuries. It may, however, limit the amount that you’re able to recover.
Here’s how it works. Like all other states, California applies the concept of comparative negligence to cases where there is negligence on the part of both parties to a personal injury claim. Under California’s “pure comparative negligence” approach, the jury first determines the full extent of losses suffered by the plaintiff (person filing the lawsuit) and then determines the extent to which the plaintiff’s own carelessness or negligence contributed to the injuries suffered. The total damage award is reduced by that percentage.
If you are hurt in a motorcycle accident and were not wearing a helmet, it’s likely that the jury will consider your failure to do so evidence of carelessness or negligence. Accordingly, if you suffer head injuries—cuts, bruises, or traumatic brain injury (TBI)—and the jury determines you wouldn’t have sustained those injuries had you been wearing a helmet, then you may not be able to fully recover for those losses. Under the California pure comparative negligence statute, though, you will always be able to recover something, unless the jury finds you to be 100% responsible for your injuries.
Contact Our Offices
At Weber & Nierenberg, we have effectively represented personal injury victims throughout California for more than three decades, including victims of motorcycle accidents. Contact us by e-mail or call our offices at 1-866-288-6010 to set up a free initial consultation.