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Motorcycle Helmet Laws and Recovering Monies for Injuries

Product Liability Attorney Los Angeles

Some common motorcycle accident related questions riders have are regarding how insurance adjusters determine liability or fault, recovering monies for injuries suffered, traffic laws, as well as, helmet laws. The following are some of those common questions.

Q: I was involved in an t-bone traffic collision while riding my motorcycle because a car made a left turn in front of me. Who is at fault?

A: Generally, the party that is making the left turn is almost always at fault for a collision when failing to allow all vehicles to pass from the opposite direction before making the left turn. Under California Vehicle Code § 21801:

(a) The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left or to complete a U-turn upon a highway, or to turn left into public or private property, or an alley, shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching from the opposite direction which are close enough to constitute a hazard at any time during the turning movement, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to the approaching vehicles until the left turn or U-turn can be made with reasonable safety.

(b) A driver having yielded as prescribed in subdivision (a), and having given a signal when and as required by this code, may turn left or complete a U-turn, and the drivers of vehicles approaching the intersection or the entrance to the property or alley from the opposite direction shall yield the right-of-way to the turning vehicle.

Q: I was involved in an accident while riding my motorcycle, what should I do?

A: It is always important to document as much material as you can, i.e take photos and videos of damage to your motorcycle and the other vehicle, your gear, helmet, and any physically visible injuries. Keep copies of any and all medical records, bills, and any related expenses. If you are unable to immediately meet with an attorney, it is important that you do not admit any fault or sign anything (i.e. any forms from an insurer) in order to preserve your rights.

Q: I was involved in an accident while riding my motorcycle, but wasn’t wearing a helmet. Can I still recover monies from the at fault party?

A: Under California law, all riders must wear motorcycle helmets, no matter the age. If you sustain a head or brain injury following a motorcycle accident and you were NOT wearing a helmet, it will be very difficult to recover damages for your head injury due to the California helmet law, which automatically establishes comparative negligence.

If you sustained other injuries, such as, broken rib, broken bone, back or shoulder injury you may still be able to recover for other injuries, however an issue that arises and also relevant as to the amount of damages you will recover, if it is shown that your failure to wear a helmet contributed to your injuries.

Q: How can I check if my motorcycle helmet is acceptable under my state’s helmet law?

A:  Check your helmet to find a label that reads “DOT”, which stands for Department of Transportation and is the manufacturer’s certification that the helmet conforms to federal safety standards.

If you were involved in a motorcycle accident, call now for a free consultation and speak with a motorcycle accident attorney. Our attorneys speak English, French, Spanish, Russian, Armenian, Hebrew, Farsi, and Arabic.


KAASS LAW is authorized to practice law in California. The above content is intended for California residents only. This content provides only general information which may or may not reflect current legal developments. KAASS LAW expressly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any of the contents of this website. The above content DOES NOT create an attorney-client relationship. KAASS LAW does not represent you unless you have expressly retained KAASS LAW in person at the KAASS LAW office.

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