Mauro Fiore, Jr. represents plaintiffs who have been injured in motorcycle accidents on the roads and highways of Southern California. Helmet laws often come into play when questions of comparative negligence and fault are alleged as contributing factors to a plaintiff’s injuries.
California requires the operator and any passenger on a motorcycle to wear a motorcycle safety helmet. This law covers motor-driven cycles and motorized bicycles as well. Manual bicycle riders and motorized scooter riders under the age of eighteen are required to wear bicycle helmets.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a motorcycle rider is 35 times more likely to die in a crash than an automobile driver. Many reasons exist for this statistic:
- Motorcycles are less stable than cars
- Motorcycles are less visible on the road than cars and trucks
- Motorcycles have high-performance capabilities, including fast acceleration and high top speeds
- Riders are more exposed to injuries in accidents than automobile occupants
Helmets have been proven effective for reducing the likelihood of death and traumatic brain injury (TBI) from a motorcycle accident. Although even a helmeted rider runs the risk of a head injury in an accident, the use of a helmet is effective in lessening the severity of head injuries.
What if I don’t wear a helmet?
A motorcyclist who dies from head injuries or suffers brain damage from an accident in which the biker was not wearing a helmet will likely be considered to have caused or contributed to the injury or death by not wearing a helmet. If it can be shown that another driver (or unsafe road condition) was responsible for causing the accident, the court will apportion a percentage of negligence both to the injured plaintiff and the negligent defendant. Any amount the plaintiff can recover will be reduced by the percentage of the plaintiff’s own negligence. This does not mean that the plaintiff cannot sue to recover for his or her injuries. Even if the plaintiff is considered more than fifty percent at fault for the injury, he or she is still entitled to sue and recover compensation from the negligent defendant.