Helmet Laws

California is one of only 18 states to have a universal motorcycle helmet law. This law requires all motorcycle operators and passengers to wear a helmet approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT).

California has good reasons for requiring helmets. The state has more motorcycles and more motorcycle accidents than any other state. These accidents can cause catastrophic injuries to the head and face that can leave crash victims disfigured or disabled.

If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle crash in Vista, CA, contact Petrov Personal Injury Lawyers or call us at (619) 344-0360 for a free case assessment. You can discuss your injuries and options for compensation with an experienced Vista motorcycle accident lawyer.

How Petrov Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help After a Motorcycle Accident in Vista, CA

How Petrov Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help After a Motorcycle Accident in Vista, CA

Petrov Personal Injury Lawyers is a personal injury law firm founded in 2012. Over the past 12 years, our attorneys have recovered over $40 million in injury compensation for accident victims in Vista, California.

Our Vista motorcycle accident attorneys can help after a collision by providing:

  • Free consultation to discuss your injuries and evaluate your case for financial compensation
  • Contingency fee representation so you pay no legal fees until we win or settle your case
  • A legal team with over 20 years of experience negotiating and litigating personal injury claims

Motorcycle accidents can leave you with catastrophic head, neck, and back injuries. Contact Petrov Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation to discuss your crash and the compensation you can pursue.

How Many Motorcycle Crashes Happen in Vista, CA?

According to the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS) summary, Vista had 28 motorcycle crashes that caused injury or death in 2022.

This number places Vista in the middle of comparable cities in San Diego County. Vista has fewer motorcycle crashes that cause injury or death than Carlsbad or El Cajon. However, it has more fatal and injury motorcycle crashes than San Marcos.

California’s Motorcycle Helmet Law

Helmet laws spread in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In its 1967 highway law, Congress gave the U.S. Secretary of Transportation the authority to withhold highway funding from states without motorcycle helmet laws. By 1975, 47 states passed helmet laws. California was one of the three states without a helmet law.

Instead, California waited until 1992 to pass its universal helmet law. The state’s helmet laws require the following:

Universal Helmet Use

All riders, regardless of age, must wear a motorcycle helmet. This mandate includes operators and passengers. California’s law differs from the laws of many other states because it provides no medical exemptions. The state requires everyone to wear a helmet while on a motorcycle.

The only statutory exception applies to enclosed three-wheeled motorcycles. Riders in these vehicles do not need to wear a helmet.

Compliant Helmets

The helmet must comply with USDOT regulations. In other words, California does not permit riders to wear novelty helmets to satisfy the law. The law only allows protective helmets.

Burden on the Operator

The operator can get cited for not wearing a helmet. But the operator can also get cited for carrying a passenger without a helmet. Therefore, the burden of ensuring everyone has a helmet falls on the operator.

Do Motorcycle Helmets Work?

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of head injury by up to 69%. Another study put the risk reduction closer to 37%. But in either case, the odds that you will suffer a head injury drop dramatically when you wear a helmet.

Equally importantly, helmets reduce the risk of death. They do this by reducing the severity of any head injury resulting from a crash. You may still experience head and brain trauma. But your injuries have a much lower likelihood of killing you if you are wearing a helmet.

Risks of Not Wearing a Motorcycle Helmet

If you do not wear a motorcycle helmet, you risk receiving a traffic citation. This citation carries a fine of up to $250. But the California DMV will not add any points to your driving record if you only receive a helmet citation.

Failing to wear a helmet during a crash has much more serious consequences. First, you can suffer a head or face injury. These injuries can disfigure you by breaking bones and tearing soft tissues. Head trauma can also cause brain injuries.

Second, if you suffer an injury, an insurer could use your failure to wear a helmet to deny or reduce your claim. California uses comparative fault to allocate the damages after an accident among all those who contributed to it. If a claims adjuster or jury assigns you fault for some of your injuries, you will lose a percentage of your compensation.

Suppose that you suffered facial trauma in an accident, and the insurance company’s doctor testifies that a helmet could have prevented the injury. A jury could assign you 30% of the fault for your facial injury and, as a result, only award you 70% of your losses.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Vista Motorcycle Accident Lawyers

A motorcycle crash can cause serious or even fatal injuries even when riders wear helmets. To discuss motorcycle injuries suffered by you or a loved one, contact Petrov Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation.