Last Updated on November 11, 2020 by Theodore Spaulding
How Wearing A Helmet Can Affect Your Motorcycle Accident Claim in Georgia
Being that I am a motorcycle accident attorney, I want to talk about helmet use and whether an insurance company can deny coverage under your policy either for property damage or for an injury if you’re not wearing a helmet.
The specific situation is related to incidences where you’re a Georgia licensed motorcycle rider, you have a Georgia license, you’re riding in another state, somewhere that doesn’t require a helmet under their laws, and you get in a high speed motorcycle crash caused by someone else.
Can your Georgia motorcycle policy deny your claim because you weren’t wearing a helmet, even though you weren’t violating the law in the state you were in at the time, but would have been violating Georgia law? My answer is no, they can’t do that.
Does the Law in Georgia Require Motorcyclists to Wear Helmets?
Number one, you’re following the law in the state in which you’re riding at the time, and therefore they can’t really cite to any law that you violated to say it cancels your policy and coverage.
More importantly for accidents in Georgia, what really happens with your policy when you’re in an accident here in Georgia, and you’re not wearing your helmet?
Again, I looked it up to make sure I was correct on this, and it’s a very unique situation. The answer appears to be no, you can’t simply as the insurance company under our standard policy say, we don’t have to cover your property damage or your injury because you weren’t wearing a helmet in violation of Georgia law, okay? So, not a blanket denial.
Here’s where it gets tricky. They can use that against you under Georgia’s comparative negligence law to say you were negligent, and if you’re 50 percent or more negligent, they can deny your claim because your negligence is higher than that of the at-fault party that initially caused the injury.
That’s typical in any kind of case. Think about seatbelt laws. They can’t deny your claim because you weren’t wearing a seatbelt. Now could they argue comparative negligence? Potentially, there’s some law out there that won’t allow that either, but that’s for another day.
Can Insurance Companies Deny Coverage For My Motorcycle Injuries?
The bottom line is no. If you are hearing from an insurance company here in Georgia that your policy is negated because you weren’t wearing a helmet we’re not covering you at all. That is not the case; I don’t see anything in the law that allows it.
Here’s the other issue, look at the policy language. There has been a recent movement by some insurance companies to add in language. Now, what I saw, is in the United Kingdom, they had added nationwide for bicycles that if you don’t wear a helmet and it shows that your injury was related to not wearing a helmet and it would have been prevented, then they can deny coverage for any part of your injury. So, there is a movement for these insurance companies and I wouldn’t put it past them to sneak in some language that may apply in the future.
How Can Top Motorcycle Accident Lawyers in Atlanta Help?
If you guys have any questions about your policy, or want to know if you’ve got an issue with wearing a helmet and would it void coverage, not just arguing under the wall but voiding it outright, send it to me. I’d be happy to look at it and review your motorcycle crash case.
Again, no they can’t blanketly deny your claim because you weren’t wearing a helmet whether you’re injured in another state, and you were following their laws regarding no use of the helmet, or you’re here in Georgia technically violating the rules of the road by not wearing a helmet. It cannot be used to blanketly deny your claim.
Reach out if you’ve had any of these issues with any of your insurance companies, I’d love to hear it. Let us know which companies are out there trying to tell motorcyclists that they’re denying claims for bad motorcycle accidents?
I think this is where motorcycle rights advocacy comes into play. I want to hear about it, tell me what insurance companies are you hearing from that are pulling these kinds of tricks, and shoot me an email if you guys have any questions or concerns. Thanks for watching this video. For more information, speak to a motorcycle accident attorney at our firm today.
For close to 15 years, Mr. Spaulding has helped victims of negligence across the state of Georgia resolve personal injury disputes, and he’s received a remarkable number of awards and honors from the legal community recognizing his commitment to clients and to the metro-Atlanta area.
As an undergraduate, Mr. Spaulding belonged to the Phi Beta Kappa honors fraternity at the University of Georgia, and he obtained his legal training at the Georgia State College of Law, where he clerked for the Honorable Judge Rowland Barnes of the Fulton County Superior Court. Mr. Spaulding has also worked for the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Atlanta Enforcement Division. Since 2005, he has dedicated his career to helping the injured victims of negligence and their loved ones win justice in Georgia’s personal injury courts.