Georgia is a beautiful state in which to ride a motorcycle. But it’s important to know its motorcycle helmet laws and the impact they could have not only on someone’s life, but also a claim if one is filed after an accident.
Motorcycle Helmet Laws: They’re Here for You
In the state of Georgia, protective headgear is required by law. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that states with universal helmet laws have more riders who wear them and reduce the number of serious injuries and death, most often caused by head trauma.
Furthermore, a motorcyclist has a greater chance of suffering a brain injury if not wearing one. Full-face helmets provide the best protection because they could prevent other types of injuries to the face -- such as the eyes, nose, jaws and teeth.
In addition to helmets, Georgia law requires eye-protective devices. For instance, the bike must be equipped with a windshield. If not, the rider should have some other type of eye protection, such as goggles.
If You Get Hurt, Motorcycle Helmet Laws Can Protect Your Finances
Although saving a life is the most significant aspect of motorcycle helmet laws, it’s just as important to consider how it could save someone’s claim. Because helmets are mandated, if you aren’t wearing one and you get in an accident, it could penalize your claim.
Of course, this depends on the types of injuries sustained. For instance, a back injury or fractured legs wouldn’t be impacted by a rider’s failure to wear a helmet. Those injuries would have occurred, regardless.
But if there was significant head trauma and a helmet wasn’t worn, the motorcyclist likely would be considered careless. It could be determined that had the individual adhered to the motorcycle helmet law, those injuries might not have occurred. The other party may argue that the injuries wouldn’t have been as serious so they needn’t pay the full amount of medical monies you claim.
As a result, the motorcyclist might be partially at fault. Any degree of negligence in an accident can impact the ability to seek damages. In Georgia, once the degree of fault reaches 51 percent, there is no chance of filing a claim against the other party because this state observes the comparative negligence law.
But whether you observe the motorcycle helmet laws or not, if your accident results in a degree of fault that is 50 percent or less, the amount of damages recoverable will be reduced by the amount of fault you contributed, for example, by negligently driving without a helmet.
The most current statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicate that the effectiveness of helmets preventing fatal injuries is 37 percent. In 2011, an estimated 1,617 lives were saved through the use of helmets. They infer that an additional 703 lives could have been saved had a helmet been worn.
After a Motorcycle Accident, Use an Attorney to Uphold Your Rights
Regardless of helmet use, it’s important for the victim of an accident or the family of a loved one who was killed to seek legal advice. An attorney can determine who was at fault and the impact failing to wear a helmet might have on the case.
Of course, even riders who adhere to motorcycle helmet laws and are diligent about wearing other types of protective gear still can find themselves suffering serious physical harm because of another person’s reckless or careless actions.
There may be damages available that address financial losses -- such as medical bills, lost wages, earning capacity, burial and funeral expenses. Victims or their families may be compensated for physical and emotional losses -- such as pain and suffering, wrongful death, mental anguish, emotional distress, loss of consortium, disability, and more.
The Law Office of Jason R. Schultz has handled countless motorcycle crash cases over the years in Atlanta and beyond. We are familiar with the motorcycle helmet laws as well as comparative negligence. If you would like to do some more research on your own, we offer a free eBook about injury accidents, The Ultimate Guide to Accident Cases in Georgia, The Truth about Your Injury Case. Give us a call to start you on the path to financial recovery: 404-474-0804.