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Can I File a Motorcycle Accident Claim in Georgia If I Wasn’t Wearing a Helmet?

Posted in Motorcycle Accidents on May 16, 2022

In the state of Georgia, all motorcyclists are required to wear a helmet. This includes motorcycle drivers and passengers. Helmets ensure safety. They prevent serious head and brain injuries from occurring, and they are often the only thing that keeps a motorcyclist alive when a crash occurs. However, if a motorcyclist is not wearing a helmet when a crash occurs, can this affect how much compensation they receive if another driver caused the accident?

wasn't wearing helmet

Wearing a Helmet is Required in Georgia

It is crucial to point out that all motorcyclists in the state of Georgia are required to wear DOT-approved helmets when operating. This includes motorcycle drivers and passengers. Failing to wear a helmet will likely result in a citation from law enforcement officials, often ranging anywhere from $100 to $500. This is actually a potential misdemeanor offense punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000, but it is unlikely a person will receive the maximum punishment in these situations.

Even more important than ensuring they follow the law, motorcyclists should wear helmets for their own safety. Failing to wear a helmet significantly increases the chance that a person will sustain a major head or brain injury.

Comparative Negligence in These Situations

Any motorcyclist who sustains an injury caused by the careless or negligent actions of another driver will likely be able to recover compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering damages, and property damage expenses.

However, if a motorcyclist is involved in an accident and sustains a head or brain injury, and they were not wearing a helmet at the time the incident occurred, this could affect how much compensation they receive from the other party. That is because this state operates under a modified comparative negligence system. This means that a portion can still recover compensation if they are partially at fault for an injury, though their compensation will be reduced depending on their percentage of fault. Any person found to be more than 50% responsible for their own injuries will be unable to recover compensation.

But if another driver caused the accident, why would a motorcyclist be in any way responsible?

Well, because wearing a motorcycle helmet is required under the law, a jury and judge could hold the motorcyclist partially responsible if they sustain an injury that was more likely to occur because of the non-use of a helmet. If the motorcyclist had sustained a broken arm or leg, this would have nothing to do with the helmet, and the rider would likely receive full compensation. However, if a motorcyclist sustains a head or brain injury and they were not wearing a helmet, they will likely be found to be partially responsible, even if the other driver caused the incident to occur.

It is imperative for any motorcyclist injured in an accident to work with a skilled Atlanta motorcycle accident attorney who can help them recover full compensation for their losses. An attorney can push back against allegations of shared fault and help a motorcyclist recover more compensation. That said, it is imperative for motorcyclists to wear a helmet on Georgia roadways, not just to avoid legal consequences but also to stay safe at all times.