California Motorcycle Helmet Law: What Every Motorcyclist Should Know

Why Recovery Greatly Depends on State Helmet Laws

California is home to over 1,000 miles of coastal shorelines, countless mountain paths, scenic routes, and appealing cities. Hundreds of motorcyclists take to our roads each year. Unfortunately, the number of collisions has increased drastically in Los Angeles County.

Wearing a helmet can make or break your chance of successfully recovering damages if you were recently involved in a motorcycle accident. The state enforces strict helmet laws for Californians and tourists. To ensure your safety, always wear protective gear, look out for negligent drivers and road hazards.

This article further explains state-helmet laws, what happens if you violate the law, and when it’s best to retain a personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles.

California Vehicle Code Section 27803

California Vehicle Code Section 27803 states any motorcyclist or passenger must wear a safety helmet that meets California DMV regulations. A “safety helmet” should have helmet straps, be an appropriate size, and fit securely.

Choosing not to wear a helmet on a motorcycle or bike is illegal. Two common violations are:

  • When you (the motorcyclist) wear a helmet and your passenger is not
  • The passenger wears a helmet when the operator is not

In both circumstances both the driver and passenger are violating helmet laws.

If you break this law and get into an accident, the “pure comparative negligence” rule will likely impact your accident when the judge establishes you share fault. A LA lawyer for motorcycle injuries can still help you file a claim for reduced compensation.

Motorcycle Helmet Laws and Recovery

California has the highest number of registered motorcyclists. As one of them, you should understand possible scenarios and chances of recovery. Although cases vary per client, this can serve as a guide.

Scenario 1: The victim was wearing a helmet and did not sustain head or neck injuries. This rider might not need to sue the driver for minimal damages. Typically these cases might not need to be settled in court. A Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney would advise them to mention helmet use if applicable. It will demonstrate he had exercised a duty of care.

Scenario 2: A motorcyclist was not wearing a helmet and did not receive head or neck injuries. The same applies to this scenario. Riders might not need to sue the negligent driver for superficial damages. Whether they wore a helmet is irrelevant.

Scenario 3: Cyclists suffered from a concussion while wearing a helmet. The helmet is a vital component of their accident claim. It proves the injuries were:

  • not their fault
  • caused by the opposing driver’s negligence
  • establishes how much worse the injuries could have been without the helmet

A Los Angeles accident attorney can determine the exact percentage of the other driver’s negligence.

Scenario 4: The motorcycle driver was not wearing a helmet and sustained life-threatening spinal damage. Not wearing a helmet alone would make recovering compensation much harder. Most untreated neck injuries turn into spinal damage after a car accident.

In this case, medical treatments and rehabilitation became costly. To establish a settlement amount, the court would assess whether the motorcyclist was “comparatively negligent” – meaning they would share fault for any injury sustained.

Insurance Companies

You will likely receive calls from insurance adjusters after the accident. We recommend you refer them to us instead of disclosing details of the accident. Anything you say will be used against you to present the lowest settlement amount.

Motorcycle accidents can feel incredibly overwhelming. The personal injury lawyers of Gutierrez Law know what you’re going through, especially if you weren’t wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. If you share fault we will ensure the compensation obtained at least supports your medical costs.

California’s statute of limitations for personal injuries is two years after the accident. Therefore, the best time to reach out to our law offices is after receiving a medical evaluation after the accident. Call today for a free case evaluation or to book a consultation!

About The Law Offices of Oscar H Gutierrez

Our law firm specializes in helping those injured due to an accident or someone else’s negligence. Navigating the insurance agencies and legal framework for compensation can be difficult, especially if English is not your first language. Don’t leave your medical bills and property damage to chance; instead, hire a law firm that can win you the maximum settlement. Contact our office for a free consultation at 323-999-3500 or email us at