absence of helmet and negative affect on San Diego motorcyclist insurance claims.

California – September 15, 2022

Petco Park was the scene of a motorcycle accident where a 28-year-old man was seriously injured while riding a motorcycle just purchased for his birthday The man was not wearing a helmet as he rode a 2015 Suzuki 750 at a high speed in a parking lot at 50 11th Avenue when he lost control and crashed into a metal fence according to a San Diego Police Department representative. Police said the man slid under the fence and into the back tire of a nearby tractor trailer. He was transported to a hospital for possible surgery of a serious injury to his right leg. Accident victims may ask themselves “Where can I find attorneys near me?” when they need assistance with accidental injury claims caused by a motorcycle crash in San Diego.

Helmets save lives.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that, from 2002 to 2017, more than 25,000 lives have been saved by wearing motorcycle helmets. Motorcycle helmets are estimated to be 37% effective in preventing fatal injuries to motorcycle operators and 41% effective for motorcycle passengers. According to the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS), use of Department of Transportation (DOT)-compliant helmets by all motorcyclists (riders and passengers) was 64.9% in 2021.

California Motorcycle Helmet Law

California has a universal helmet law, which means it applies to all bikers. Division 12, Chapter 5, Article 7, Section 27803 of the California Vehicle Code states that all drivers and passengers on motorcycles, motor-driven cycles, or motorized bicycles must wear a safety helmet.  The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) enforces safety standards for all motorcycle equipment retailers and manufacturers. Before being sold to riders, helmets are tested for the following features:

  • Positional stability
  • Strength of retention system
  • Impact
  • Extent of coverage

Illegal act.

In California, riding a motorcycle without a good safety helmet is illegal. Since having no helmet equates to an immediate safety hazard, the California Highway Patrol can punish riders with a fine of up to $250 and/or place them on probation for a year.  Motorcyclists may be liable for more significant legal consequences such as not being able to recover full damages from a motorcycle accident case if they were not wearing a helmet. Due to pure comparative negligence laws in California, compensation is reduced depending on how responsible a rider is for their injuries. Even if another driver was distracted or made a serious mistake, they would only be responsible for covering a fraction of injury expenses if a motorcyclist was not wearing a proper helmet. An experienced accident attorney can help motorcycle accident victims by reviewing insurance policies and communicating with carriers to process claims when necessary.

Recoverable damages.

If negligence can be proven outside of the victim’s actions, even in a solo motor vehicle accident, California auto accident lawyers can assist victims with damages, and insurance claims.  

  • Economic damages include present and future loss of earnings, medical bills, future medical care, household expenses and
  • Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, mental anguish and loss of consortium or companionship.
  • Punitive damages may be considered but reckless, intentional, and egregious acts must have caused the harm.

Hire a lawyer.

A California accident victim can take steps to minimize additional stress by hiring competent legal counsel to act on their behalf to communicate with insurance companies to recover  a fair monetary settlement.  Consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer who understands the residual impacts and long term medical expenses associated with a severe motorcycle accident injury can guide damage valuation and compensation for each case.


Jeffrey E. Estes & Associates, a Professional Law Corporation

501 West Broadway, Suite 1650

San Diego, CA 92101

Phone: 619-233-8021

Fax: 619-233-3730


  1. Codes Display Text (ca.gov)
  2. Motorcycle Helmets – Injury Facts (nsc.org)
  3. https://timesofsandiego.com/crime/2022/09/14/man-seriously-injured-crashing-suzuki-motorcycle-just-purchased-for-his-birthday/
  4. https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=VEH&sectionNum=23103
  5. https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/vehicle-registration/insurance-requirements/
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