Yes, you may still be entitled to compensation from the negligent driver who caused your bicycle accident if you were not wearing a helmet. However, you need to be realistic on how not having one on could affect the value of your claim.
California’s Bicycle Helmet Laws
In our state, any bicycle rider who is under 18 years old must wear a bicycle helmet. However, the law was changed in 2015 in regards to adult bicyclists. They do not have to wear a helmet while riding.
How Not Wearing a Helmet Could Affect Your Bicycle Accident Claim
If you try to file a claim with the at-fault motorist’s insurance company, they will most likely deny your claim or offer to pay you less than you are entitled to because you were not wearing a helmet. However, you can argue that not using a helmet should not affect your right to compensation since you were not required to wear one under California law.
You may have to accept less in your settlement under California’s pure comparative negligence law. Here’s how this rule could affect your case:
- If you were found partially at fault for causing your accident, your compensation would be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you were found to be 20% at fault for not wearing a helmet, you would only receive 80% of your total damages.
- You would be entitled to some compensation as long you were not 100% at fault.
- If you were not wearing a helmet but were otherwise not at all to blame for your bicycle collision, the comparative fault law would only affect your claim if you suffered a head injury. Whether or not you wore a helmet should have no bearing on other injuries, such as internal organ damage, fractures, or back and spinal injuries.
Get Help With Your Bike Accident Claim
Do you need help filing your bicycle crash claim in Southern California? Do you have other questions about your options? I am an experienced bicycle accident lawyer who will aggressively fight for your right to compensation for your injuries—even if you were not wearing a helmet. Call my San Diego office or fill out the convenient online form on this page to schedule your free consultation today.