I Wasn't Wearing a Helmet. Can I Still Recover Damages?
Apr 30, 2021 10:45 AM EDT
If you have ever been to the annual Sturgis Festival or even just seen a documentary about it on TV, you know that bikers are not fans of following safety rules. Sure, leathers may make a fellow look cool as he glides down the street on a hog, but a helmet will only hide his strategically slicked back hair and hard-earned beard.
Hunter S. Thomas said that you had to ride a motorcycle fast enough that the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death. Unfortunately, following this adage often leads to death or at least injury. Motorcycles are one the most dangerous forms of transportation. If you are injured in an accident, and you are not wearing a helmet, you will not be alone, but you may have a hard time recovering money from an insurance company.
California Helmet Laws
Motorcyclists are legally required to wear a helmet in the state of California. The law applies to all motorized bikes, and it applies to passengers as well as drivers.
Insurance Rules in the Golden State
There are two different kinds of insurance rules in the United States; fault and no-fault. In a no-fault state, a driver's own insurance company will pay for their bills, no matter who is responsible for a collision. In a fault state, like California, a person who is responsible for causing a car accident will pay for its related expenses.
California is rather unique in that it is a pure comparative fault state. This means that a person can recover damages even if they are over 50% responsible for a crash. If someone were 20% responsible for an accident, they could conceivably get up to 80% of their bills paid for by the other driver's Insurance company.
Even if you did not cause an accident, an insurance adjuster might consider you to be partially to blame for the collision if you were not wearing a helmet. It may affect your ability to collect money. There are some insurance companies that may refuse to give you any kind of compensation if you were not wearing a helmet.
What an Adjuster will Consider when Determining a Payout
An insurance adjuster will look at what kind of injuries you have. If you suffered a concussion or another type of head injury, they are likely to be less sympathetic than if you broke an arm or leg.
It is never a good idea to drive or ride on a motorcycle without a helmet. Motorcycle helmets saved approximately 1,859 lives in the year 2016, according to a study by the CDC.
Finding a Lawyer
Insurance companies are notoriously stingy when it comes to making payouts after an accident. If you are not wearing a helmet when you have a motorcycle crash, they are likely to try to lowball you. You should have the assistance of a professional accident attorney to get a fair award.
A personal injury lawyer in California will have years of experience in negotiating with insurance companies. They will know what arguments to use to get you the money you need to pay your bills.