What if I wasn't wearing a helmet in my motorcycle crash?

The state of California has made helmet use a legal requirement for all motorcyclists and their passengers. This law covers motor-driven bicycles as well. In addition, it's illegal for a passenger who is wearing a helmet to be on a motorcycle with an unhelmeted driver.

Considering this law, what if you failed to wear a helmet and you suffered a serious injury in a car accident that wasn't your fault? Can you still pursue a personal injury claim for damages?

You may still have a claim for motorcycle injuries

If you failed to wear a helmet during your motorcycle accident, the insurance company will likely try to raise this point as a part of its defense against your personal injury claims. Since failing to wear a helmet is, in fact, a legal violation, you could -- as a result -- be held responsible for certain types of injuries that occur as a result of not wearing the helmet.

That said, having your claims completely barred due to not wearing a helmet is rare. If the other driver was at fault for the accident, then -- even if you didn't have a helmet on -- your injuries wouldn't have happened if the driver acted more responsibly.

Perhaps you didn't suffer any head injuries. Then your failure to wear a helmet probably did not contribute to your wounds, and in such a situation, the court will not likely hold you responsible. Perhaps you did suffer head injuries due to not wearing a helmet. Then the court will likely hold you partly responsible for your injuries.

What often happens in these cases is the court will divide liability for financial damages between you and the party that caused your accident. As such, you might still be able to receive compensation, but you might not be able to get 100 percent of your damages.

Were you hurt in a motorcycle accident while not wearing a helmet?

Accident cases involving injured motorcyclists who weren't wearing helmets may be more complicated than other kinds of personal injury claims. Be sure you're fully informed about the issues -- and potential strengths and weaknesses -- in a case like this before you pursue the action in court.

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