California helmet laws: How the law affects brain injury cases

Categories: Brain Injury
california helmet law

California is a haven for cyclists, motorcyclists, and outdoor enthusiasts, but these exhilarating activities carry the potential for accidents. Head injuries after a vehicle or other accident are a leading cause of severe and fatal outcomes. A California brain injury lawyer from Ernst Law Group can guide you in understanding California helmet laws and how the law affects brain injury cases.

What are California’s helmet laws?

Under California Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 27803, all motorcycle riders and passengers must wear helmets that meet the safety standards established by the Department of Transportation (DOT). This mandate applies regardless of age, experience level, the distance traveled, or the type of motorcycle you’re operating. Failure to wear a helmet is a violation and can result in a citation.

California also has regulations regarding wearing helmets while cycling. CVC Section 21212 requires anyone under 18 to wear a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet while riding a bike, whether on a public road, bike path, or trail. Parents or guardians are also responsible for ensuring their children comply with this law.

There’s no mandatory helmet law for adult cyclists in California. However, the California Bicycle Helmet Safety Act strongly encourages helmet use for all ages. Studies consistently show that helmets significantly reduce the risk and severity of head injuries in bicycle accidents.

California has helmet laws for specific recreational activities, such as horseback riding on public trails and for minors operating all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). State law also requires individuals under 18 to wear helmets when riding skateboards, scooters, and rollerblades. This requirement applies to public roads, sidewalks, bike paths, and any other location where these activities are permitted.

How do California helmet laws impact brain injury cases?

In cases involving traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) sustained during recreational activities, California’s helmet laws can have significant implications. While wearing a helmet doesn’t guarantee protection against all head injuries, it can reduce the severity of injuries and potentially save lives. Several factors come into play in brain injury cases, including comparative negligence, the duty of care owed to others, and how wearing a helmet can mitigate damages.

Comparative negligence

California follows a pure comparative negligence system, which means the court considers the fault of all parties involved in your accident when determining damages awarded. In cases where a helmet law applies, failure to wear a helmet could be considered contributory negligence on your part. As a result, your compensation may be reduced to reflect your share of the fault.

Duty of care

The concept of duty of care is central in personal injury cases, including those involving TBIs. This concept refers to the legal obligation of individuals to act reasonably and avoid causing harm to themselves and others. In the context of helmet laws, failing to wear a helmet per the law, given the inherent risks of traveling without one, may be seen as a breach of your duty of care, potentially impacting the outcome of your brain injury case.

Mitigation of damages

In some brain injury cases, defendants may argue that your failure to wear a helmet contributed to the severity of your injuries. While this argument may not absolve the defendant of their liability entirely, it could influence your compensation. Courts may consider whether wearing a helmet could have reduced the extent of your injuries and adjust your damages accordingly.

Why do I need a brain injury attorney?

The legal complexities surrounding helmet laws and their impact on brain injury cases necessitate seeking legal counsel from our experienced California brain injury lawyers. Here’s how we can assist you after your personal injury accident:

  • Evaluating your case – We can assess the specifics of your accident, helmet use, and the nature of your brain injury to determine your potential legal options for monetary recovery.
  • Understanding the law – We’ll explain the relevant California helmet laws and how they might influence your case.
  • Building a solid case – We’ll gather evidence, including medical records, accident reports, and witness statements, to build a compelling case emphasizing the other party’s negligence and the severity of your injuries.
  • Providing negotiation and representation – We can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to seek fair compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If necessary, we’ll represent you effectively in court.

Legal representation is vital after a brain injury accident

California’s helmet laws promote safety and reduce the risk of traumatic brain injuries in recreational and transportation activities. Understanding these laws and their implications is important, especially for those involved in brain injury cases. If you’re facing injuries from a personal injury accident, contact our brain injury lawyers at Ernst Law Group at (805) 541-0300 to schedule a free consultation.