Talk to an Attorney 24/7/365
Local: 310.692.9582 Toll-Free 888.378.9650
401 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 1200, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Wearing a Helmet While Skateboarding

Does a Skateboarder Have to Wear a Helmet?

- C.J., California

Answer:

California law, specifically Vehicle Code Section 21212, requires that every person under 18 years of age (a "minor") where a helmet when skateboarding. There is no helmet requirement for skateboarding adults.

What is the effect if a skateboarding minor is injured in an accident and was not wearing a helmet? If a minor suffers a head injury in a skateboarding accident and was not wearing a helmet, then if the minor makes an injury claim, the defendant will be able to use the minor's failure to wear a helmet against him. The defendant will argue to the jury that the skateboarder was "negligent per se," i.e., that the minor violated the law and that the violation was a substantial factor in causing the minor's injuries. The jury will then be asked to factor in the skateboarder's violation of the law in assessing how much money, if any, to award to the injury victim. The defense may argue that the jury should award nothing to the skateboarder because a helmet would have prevented any head injury. The skateboarder's lawyer's job is to lessen the impact of the helmet law violation by arguing that even if the skateboarder had worn a helmet, he/she still would have suffered a brain injury. The attorney for the skateboarder will likely need to bring in an expert to provide this testimony to the jury.

If a skateboarding minor who was not wearing a helmet does not injure his head, but suffers other injuries, then his or her failure to wear a helmet was not a substantial factor in causing his/her injuries, so negligence per se does not apply. If a helmet would not have prevented the injuries the minor suffered, then the minor's violation of the helmet law should not have a substantial impact on the value of the claim. The other side will try to portray the skateboarder as irresponsible for not wearing a helmet, but if a helmet would not have prevented the injuries suffered, there is a strong argument that the minor's helmet-less status is really irrelevant.

What is the effect if a helmet-less adult suffers a head injury while skateboarding? Since there is no helmet requirement for adults, the adult was not "negligent per se." However, the other side will certainly argue to the jury that a helmet would have prevented the brain injury, and that the jury should factor that into any award to the injury victim.

Bottom Line for Minors: If a helmet-less minor suffers a head injury while skateboarding, you will want to hire a lawyer who is experienced in handling similar cases and who is willing to spend the money to hire an expert who can explain to the jury that a helmet would not have prevented a head injury.



This answer does not constitute legal advice, which can only be rendered after a full consideration of the facts of your case which is not possible in this format; nor establish an attorney-client relationship, which can only be done after you and an attorney meet and agree on the terms of that relationship. This answer is intended solely to provide general information about the justice system. Further, it does not provide the basis for making decisions about a course of action. Before making any decisions about a course of action readers are strongly encouraged to contact a lawyer and secure an attorney-client relationship. Readers must also understand that this format does not provide for confidential communication. Moreover, links to information on this site are for your convenience only and are not an endorsement or recommendation of those sites, and no responsibility is taken for any information at these linked sites, nor makes any representation or warranty with respect to these sites or the information contained therein.