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The Essential Guide: What to Do If You’re Injured in a Motorcycle Accident Without a Helmet in Stockton

California’s Central Valley is a great region for motorcyclists. At the same time, motorcycle crashes remain a real public safety concern. Motorcyclists are uniquely vulnerable—especially so if they do not wear a proper helmet. California law requires all motorcyclists to wear a helmet every time they ride. What happens if you are hurt in a crash without a helmet—can you still bring a claim? The answer is “yes”—but your financial compensation may be reduced. Here, our Stockton motorcycle accident lawyer provides an in-depth guide to the key points that riders should understand about no helmet motorcycle crashes in California. 

Motorcycle Helmets Reduce the Risk of Brain Injuries (and Save Lives)

Every motorcyclist in California should wear a well-fitting, DOT-approved motorcycle safety helmet when they ride. The evidence is overwhelming: Motorcycle helmets are life-saving pieces of equipment. According to data cited by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) by approximately 67 percent and reduce the risk of fatalities by nearly 40 percent. Keep the following things in mind: 

  • Motorcycle Helmets Reduce the Impact: Helmets absorb a significant amount of the impact from a crash, reducing the direct hit on the skull and brain.
  • Helmets Can Help to Prevent Fatal Head Injuries: Helmets are specifically designed to prevent deadly cranial fractures and traumatic brain injuries (TBI) that can lead to long-term disability or death.
  • Motorcycle Helmets Also Offer Eye and Face Protection: Full-face helmets protect riders from debris, dust, and insects that can cause distractions and subsequent accidents.
  • A Helmet Actually Makes You More Visible: Many helmets are equipped with reflective surfaces that make motorcyclists more visible to other drivers. 

California Law Requires Riders to Wear a Motorcycle Helmet

Motorcycle helmets are more than a mere suggestion in our state. Under California law (California Vehicle Code § 27803), “it is unlawful to operate a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or motorized bicycle if the driver or any passenger is not wearing a safety helmet.” The statute specifies the criteria that a motorcycle helmet must satisfy in order to comply with the law. In other words, a motorcyclist or motorcycle passenger who does not have a helmet is in violation of the law. Notably, California’s motorcycle helmet law is comprehensive. It applies to both minors and adults. You cannot opt out of California’s motorcycle helmet requirements. 

Note: As of 2023, the maximum fine for a first-offense no motorcycle helmet violation in California is $250. A rider could also face up to one year of probation. 

Failure to Wear a Motorcycle Helmet May Be a Comparative Negligence Issue

Beyond any potential fine, failure to wear a proper motorcycle helmet could actually also have a big impact on your personal injury claim if you are involved in a crash. Why? California is an at-fault, comparative negligence state for all types of motor vehicle collisions, including motorcycle accidents. The party deemed “at fault” for a motorcycle crash can be held legally liable for the resulting damages. As California uses comparative fault, a motorcyclist who is partially to blame for their own injuries could be held partially responsible for their own damages. Comparative negligence could be deemed a relevant issue in a no helmet motorcycle accident injury claim. 

For example, imagine that you were involved in a motorcycle crash in Stockton. An investigation revealed that the collision happened, in large part, because a motorist made an unsafe lane change. However, at the time of the accident you were not wearing a proper motorcycle safety helmet. You suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the collision. Based on California’s comparative negligence law, you could be deemed partially responsible for your own brain injury. Imagine that you suffered $40,000 in total damages. If you were deemed 20 percent at fault for your own TBI due to the failure to wear a motorcycle helmet, you would be liable for 20 percent of your own damages, or $8,000. 

Note: The actual nature and scope of your injuries always matter in no helmet motorcycle accident claims in California. For instance, if you suffered a broken leg as your primary injury while getting involved in a crash while not wearing a helmet, the lack of a helmet may only have a limited impact on your claim. However, if you sustained a head injury, brain injury, or facial injuries, the lack of a helmet could have a far more significant impact on your case. A Stockton motorcycle accident lawyer can help you navigate these complex cases. 

We Help Injured Motorcyclists Maximize their Financial Recovery

Recovering from a motorcycle accident can be a physically and emotionally challenging process. As you navigate through recovery, it’s essential to have a knowledgeable and experienced team on your side, ready to fight for your rights and your maximum financial recovery. Our Stockton, CA motorcycle accident lawyers understand the intricacies of California law, including the helmet law and the implications of comparative negligence. We work tirelessly to build a compelling case, ensuring that all factors contributing to the accident are carefully investigated. You may be entitled to recover financial compensation for both economic and non-economic damages, including: 

  • Property damage (motorcycle repairs or replacement); 
  • Ambulance costs or emergency medical treatment; 
  • Hospital bills and other types of medical costs; 
  • Rehabilitative therapies; 
  • Medication and medical equipment; 
  • Lost wages and loss of earning power; 
  • Pain and suffering & mental anguish; 
  • Permanent disability; 
  • Permanent disfigurement; and
  • Wrongful death of a family member. 

Schedule a Free Consultation With a Top Stockton Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today

At Redkey Gordon Law Corp, our Stockton motorcycle crash lawyers have the professional and legal expertise that you can trust in a complex case. Hurt in a motorcycle crash? We are more than ready to help. Call us now or connect with us online to set up your free, fully private case review. With a legal office in Stockton, we fight for motorcycle accident victims throughout the area, including in Lodi, Manteca, Sacramento, Sutter Creek, and Galt.