Yes. You may be able to recover compensation after an accident if you were not wearing a motorcycle helmet. However, not wearing a helmet could hurt your case.
If you were not wearing a helmet during your accident and are concerned it might affect your claim for injury compensation, give S. Burke Law a call. We can investigate your accident and let you know what to expect: 404-842-7838.
What Are Georgia’s Helmet Laws?
Georgia has a “universal helmet law.” Georgia’s motorcycle helmet law, O.C.G.A. § 40-6-315, states, “no person shall operate or ride upon a motorcycle unless he or she is wearing protective headgear which complies with standards established by the commissioner of public safety.”
Georgia not only requires all riders and passengers to wear a helmet when operating a motorcycle, but that helmet must also meet specific specifications. You must also wear eye protection if your motorcycle does not have a windscreen.
How Can Not Wearing a Helmet Affect My Case?
Like most personal injury cases, your settlement largely depends on proving the other party’s negligence. However, disobeying Georgia’s helmet law can be an example of negligence per se (i.e., not wearing a helmet is negligent because it violates the Georgia motorcycle helmet law). And Georgia’s comparative negligence laws hold that any negligence on your part will decrease your settlement.
This means that not wearing a helmet could cause you to lose money for your injuries.
For example, say you were riding straight through an intersection when a driver turned left in front of you without looking. You ran straight into the vehicle, the impact throwing you from your bike and causing you to suffer broken ribs and a traumatic brain injury.
The investigation found the other driver was 100 percent at-fault for the accident; which means he is responsible for any injuries and losses you suffered in the accident.
However, the investigation also found you could have avoided or lessened the severity of your head injury had you been wearing a helmet. The investigators assigned you 40 percent fault for your head injury, allowing you to recover 60 percent of your damages for that injury. If your medical expenses and other losses totaled $100,000 for your head injury, you could only recover $60,000.
The investigation found that you did not contribute to your broken ribs, so you were able to recover full compensation for that injury.
Georgia’s comparative negligence laws also require victims to be less liable than the other party. So, when filing your claim, you must prove that you are 49 percent or less at fault to collect a settlement. If you had also contributed to the accident by acting negligently (e.g., speeding or riding while intoxicated), you might have been unable to recover compensation for your head injury or your broken ribs.
Note: Even if you were wearing a helmet, you could face negligence claims if you were wearing a helmet that did not meet specifications.
How Can S. Burke Law Help Me with My Motorcycle Accident Claim?
Sheryl Burke spent time as an insurance adjuster. This insider knowledge allows her to anticipate and defend against any tactics the insurance company might use to devalue your claim.
We will gather any necessary evidence and work with accident reconstruction experts to establish your helmet use had little to no effect on your injury. This evidence might include medical records, photos, and testimony from your doctor or another medical expert.
Call S. Burke Law for Help with Your Motorcycle Accident Claim
S. Burke Law urges all motorcyclists to wear helmets. Georgia’s motorcycle helmet laws exist for a reason, and everyone should do everything in their power to protect themselves from injury. However, we also realize that there is only so much in a motorcyclist’s control. Even when riding responsibly, there is the risk that you are involved in an accident due to circumstances out of your control.
We do not believe that not wearing a helmet should prevent you from collecting the damages you deserve. If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident recently, give us a call. We may be able to work with experts and accident reconstructionists to establish wearing a helmet would not have affected your injuries.
Call us at 404-842-7838. Our consultations are free and there is no commitment. See how we can help you today.