Can I sue the driver who hit me if I wasn’t wearing my motorcycle helmet when I was hit in Southern California?

California law requires riders to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle, and the criminal penalty for not doing so is a fine up to $100.00. Violating this law doesn’t prevent a motorcyclist from suing the driver who hit him in Santa Monica, although it could influence the amount of compensation he receives.

How Not Wearing a Motorcycle Helmet Could Affect Your Case

Not wearing a helmet could reduce the compensation a motorcyclist receives from the other driver. California follows the comparative fault rule in motorcycle accidents. This means that if a rider was partially at fault in causing his injuries by not wearing a helmet, his compensation from the other driver would be reduced based on the degree of the rider’s fault. For example, if a rider was 15 percent at fault in causing an accident and the other driver was 85 percent at fault, the rider could recover a maximum of 85 percent of his damages.

The type of injuries a motorcyclist suffers will also affect whether not wearing a helmet would reduce his compensation from the other driver. If the rider was not wearing a helmet but did not suffer head or neck injuries, he will probably be able to receive a full recovery from the other driver. If the rider was not wearing a helmet and did suffer head or neck injuries, the lack of a helmet is probably at least partially to blame for the injuries the rider suffered. This would most likely establish the rider’s comparable negligence, so the rider’s compensation could be reduced by the percentage that his own actions caused his injuries.

Even if you are found to be partially at fault in causing your injuries by not wearing a helmet, you still could be entitled to a substantial sum from the other driver. It is important to discuss this issue with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney who can advise you in more detail about how not wearing a helmet affects your case.

If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, check out our case results to see how we’ve helped other victims of these terrible accidents. And call us at 800-989-6385 for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Peter Steinberg, Esq.
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Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Since 1982