While many experience the siren’s call at least at some point in their life that lures them onto a motorcycle, there is no argument that they are slightly less safe than your standard car. While many operate motorcycles safely, it is not always the driver of these vehicles that are responsible for an accident. However, if a motorcycle is involved in an accident, the drivers are more at risk for injury simply because the vehicle lacks that protective metal shell. However, in an effort to cut down on the rate of severe injuries and fatalities in motorcycle crashes, many states have adopted a mandatory helmet law for both drivers and passengers. This is the case in California, in which the law requires both driver and passenger to be helmeted while on the road. However, while this law may be in place for the safety of the riders, not everyone listens to these laws, particularly if they ride in areas where they are pretty sure they won’t run into law enforcement. However, while riding a motorcycle without a helmet is your choice, if you are involved in an accident, it may make your case more difficult.
How Wearing a Helmet Affects Your Case?
In motorcycle accidents, typically you are trying to recover damages for both the damage to your motorcycle and for any injuries. However, if you were not wearing a helmet in the accident, you can be sure that the opposing insurance company’s first argument will be that you will be responsible for some of those injuries. In California, since not wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle is technically illegal, the insurance company is likely to say that because you were breaking the law, they shouldn’t need to cover some injuries. However, while they courts may agree, a case of the court completely preventing collecting compensation altogether is not likely to happen. Yet, in making this decision, there are two factors that can affect how much compensation you receive if you were not wearing a helmet. These factors include:
- Was There a Head Injury? – If you were in a motorcycle accident while not wearing a helmet and you actually did not suffer any head injuries, then the fact you were not wearing a helmet is completely irrelevant. However, if a head injury was present, it is likely that the courts will likely hold you at least a little bit responsible and modify the amount you will receive for the head injury alone while often covering the other injuries in full.
- Was the Accident the Other Driver’s Fault? – Similar to helmetless accidents where there is no head injury, if the accident was the fault of the other driver and they alone could have prevented it, then whether you are wearing a helmet or not does not matter. If the other driver had driven more safely, it can be argued that you wouldn’t have those injuries in the first place. However, in this situation, the insurance company is still more likely to at least try to argue that the amount of damages should be limited due to your illegal behavior.
Were you hurt in an accident on your motorcycle in California? If you were not wearing a helmet, you may think that because you were acting illegally that you don’t have a lot of options or even a right to compensation. However, that simply is not true. If you were in a motorcycle accident, due to the sheer nature of the vehicle, you may have more injuries than a standard car driver, and whether you were wearing a helmet or not, you can recover at least some compensation for your injuries. If you need representation in your case, contact us today.