Skateboarders often get a bad rap in California. Some people assume anyone on a skateboard must be a daredevil who’s carelessly risking their safety just for fun.
Not true! Plenty of people use skateboards carefully and legally for traveling to work, staying healthy through exercise, and making important deliveries around town. Skaters have a right to travel without harm, just like everyone else.
Still, there are many misconceptions about the legal status of skateboarding. We’d like to clear up the confusion by explaining what happens after skateboard accidents and showing what kinds of damages you might be able to collect.
What are California’s Laws about Skateboarding?
Skateboarding is not a crime in California. As long as the skater is traveling safely and obeying local laws and traffic rules, their use of a skateboard is legal.
Generally speaking, California takes the view that a skateboarder assumes the risk of injury or death if they’re skating merely for sport or in a risky manner. This includes behavior like doing tricks in public parks and competing in casual street contests that create inherently dangerous situations. A statewide law also requires riders under age 18 to wear helmets.
California state law also permits each city to enact its own rules about skateboarding. In San Francisco, for example, it’s legal for non-motorized skateboards to use bicycle paths, bikeways, and streets, as long as they follow road markings and stay out of restricted areas.
This means it’s important for skateboarders as well as everyone on the road to familiarize themselves with their city’s skateboarding rules. Never assume someone is breaking the law simply because they’re on a skateboard!
Common Types of Skateboarding Accidents
Skateboarding accidents typically arise when there’s a conflict between a skater and a car, truck, scooter, cyclist, pedestrian, rideshare driver, or commercial vehicle. In the blink of an eye, a skater can be knocked from their board and severely injured.
Some of the most common skateboarding personal injury accidents include:
- Sideswipes, where a car and skater skid against each other along a road
- T-bones, where a skater and car collide at 90 degrees in an intersection
- Turning collisions, where a car hits a skater while making a turn
- Rear-end collisions, where a car hits a skater from behind or vice versa
- Distracted/intoxicated collisions, where one of the parties was too intoxicated or distracted to travel safely
Typical Injuries in Skateboarding Crashes
A skateboarder’s body is extremely vulnerable to the forces of a crash. Without a vehicle frame to protect them, they can easily be severely injured.
Skateboarding crash injuries may include:
- Severe skin abrasions and road rash
- Hand and wrist fractures from trying to break a fall
- Shoulder injuries from absorbing a blow
- Leg, knee, and hip fractures from being struck and falling
- Facial and dental injuries
- Back and spinal cord damage
- Crushing injuries that cause severe organ damage
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Limb loss
- Emotional damage
Skateboarders often end up using their health insurance to cover the costs of their injuries. The costs may also be covered by the other person’s car insurance or company vehicle insurance. But beware: It could be tricky to secure a claim against a difficult insurance company without a lawyer’s help.
Skaters Can Share the Blame and Still Claim Damages
You should know that California’s status as a comparative negligence state means after an accident, the blame is assigned proportionally among the people involved. If you were 10% at fault, for example, any monetary award you receive would be reduced by 10%.
That’s good news for injured skaters! It means even if you hold some responsibility for what happened, you can still claim compensation that helps you heal from your injuries while covering your financial losses.
You could be eligible to receive compensation for damages like:
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages from work
- Property damage
- Value of the loss of your lifestyle/hobbies
- Pain and suffering
Your lawyer can help the court or insurance company understand the devastating impact your accident has had on your life. With the right legal help, you can build a mountain of evidence that proves your case and maximizes the value of the compensation you receive.
You don’t have to face this process alone. Here at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we’ve helped skateboarders successfully secure money after accidents, so contact us now for a free skateboard accident evaluation.
We Handle Your Personal Injury Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life
After an injury, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of the law, including skateboarding accidents. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering while we handle the legal details.
We truly care about the people of California. Contact us today for a free online case evaluation.