How Do Helmet Laws Impact Fault in a Bicycle Accident?

Each year, hundreds of Californians are injured in bicycle accidents. While these injuries can range from mild to more severe, the more serious bicycle accident injuries are often sustained because of a rider’s failure to comply with helmet laws.

These laws have changed over the last few decades but remain an important part of bicycle safety in the state of California. If you or someone you love has been injured in a bicycle accident through no fault of your own, the following information may be helpful as you build your bicycle accident case.

California Helmet Laws

There are several laws of which you should be aware if you are trying to determine negligence and/or liability in your bicycle accident case. A few of these laws include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • According to California Vehicle Code 21212, “A person under 18 years of age shall not operate a bicycle . . . upon a street . . . unless that person is wearing a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet.”
  • The same code states, “A person shall not sell, or offer for sale, for use by an operator or passenger of a bicycle . . . safety helmet that is not of a type meeting requirements established by this section.”

Bicycle Accident Injuries

While wearing a helmet is not a requirement for adults over the age of 18, it is a safety measure that can have a significant impact on the level of injury you sustain in a bicycle accident. Even so, failing to wear a helmet may negatively impact your claim. And, as you might imagine, failing to wear a bicycle helmet can lead to severe injuries. A few injuries commonly caused by bicycle accidents include:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Concussion
  • Contusion
  • Neck trauma
  • Broken bones
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Internal bleeding
  • Internal organ damage
  • Lacerations
  • Paralysis

Proving Negligence

In the state of California, negligence is a key factor in determining a party’s level of liability in an accident. In most cases, negligence is defined as an action or lack of action which causes harm to another party. Examples of negligent parties in a bicycle accident may include:

  • The motorist whose failure to obey traffic laws caused a bicycle accident
  • The pedestrian whose failure to obey traffic laws caused a bicycle accident
  • The bicyclist whose failure to obey traffic laws caused a bicycle accident
  • The bicycle manufacturer whose failure to properly install a part caused a bicycle accident
  • The helmet manufacturer whose failure to provide an up-to-code helmet

Because California is a pure comparative negligence state, each party is considered liable to the same degree to which they are found to have been negligent. If you failed to wear a helmet, it’s possible that the court could find that such a failure means you contributed to your injuries. Should they make that finding, your compensation could be reduced.

What to Do if You’ve Been Injured

There are several important steps to take if you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident:

  • Contact emergency services. Call an ambulance if you need medical care and notify law enforcement.
  • Gather evidence. Take photos of any injuries you sustained and any damages to your personal property. Take pictures of the scene and any other vehicles involved.
  • Avoid speaking more than is necessary. Try not to speak with the other parties, except to exchange insurance information, so as to avoid any accidental admission of guilt.
  • Contact the personal injury attorneys at Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers. Give us a call at (619) 233-5020 to schedule a confidential consultation so that you can speak with one of our attorneys and determine the best next steps in your bicycle accident case.

California Bicycle Accident Statistics

According to a report from the U.S. News & World Report, 455 cyclists were killed in bicycle accidents between 2016 and 2018 in California.

A 2018 report from the California Department of Public Health claims that four percent of all traffic-related fatalities in the state of California were bicyclists.

A 2018  article from California Healthline claims that there are about 3.9 bike accident fatalities per million residents across the state.

How Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers Can Help

If you or someone you know has been injured in a bicycle accident that wasn’t your fault, you know how difficult it can be to recover from your injuries and seek the compensation to which you’re entitled. The personal injury attorneys at Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers are prepared to help you contact insurance companies, gather evidence, and build a compelling bicycle accident case.

If you’re ready to pursue the compensation to which you’re entitled, call Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers today at (619) 233-5020. We’ll put you in contact with one of our attorneys so that you can determine the best course of action. Don’t allow financial anxieties or a lack of legal know-how deter you from pursuing the restitution to which you’re entitled. Call Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers today to begin seeking the justice you deserve.

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