In nearly every state, wearing a helmet is required for certain motorcycle riders. While Georgia law requires all motorcycle riders and passengers to wear helmets, failure to do so will not automatically prevent you from taking legal action if you were hurt in a crash caused by someone else.
In fact, under Georgia’s “modified comparative fault” law, you can still recover compensation from a negligent party, as long as you’re considered less than 50 percent at fault for the accident. However, your financial reward may be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to you.
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident and weren’t wearing a helmet, the Atlanta motorcycle accident attorneys of Spaulding Injury Law can walk you through your legal rights and options for compensation during a free case evaluation.
Are Helmets Required When Riding a Motorcycle in Georgia?
Georgia law requires all operators and riders of motorcycles to wear helmets that meet the standards set by the Georgia Commissioner of Public Safety. In accordance with Georgia’s helmet law, the commissioner of public safety issued Rule 570-13, which states that helmets must meet the standards set forth by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218. Riding without a GDOT-approved helmet is considered a misdemeanor offense that carries up to a $1,000 fine and up to one year in jail.
FMVSS 218 requires that a helmet be approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation. DOT-approved helmets will have a DOT sticker on the helmet, along with a manufacturer’s label providing the helmet model name, date of manufacture, and materials used in the helmet.
Georgia Motorcycle Accident Statistics
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that motorcycle operators and riders are five times more likely to suffer injuries in a motor vehicle accident compared to the occupants of passenger vehicles. According to the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, there were 170 reported fatalities of motorcycle operators and riders in Georgia in a recent year. Of these fatalities, 15 individuals were known to have not been wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.
However, NHTSA statistics show that motorcycle rider fatality rates are far greater in states that lack universal helmet laws, when compared to a state like Georgia that mandates helmets for all persons riding a motorcycle. The NHTSA reports that helmets can reduce fatalities by up to 37 percent and brain injuries by up to 65 percent.
How a Helmet Can Help
Wearing an approved helmet can reduce the risk that you suffer serious injuries if you are involved in a motorcycle accident. The hard shell on the outside of a helmet can protect you from skull fractures if you are thrown from your bike in an accident. The soft padding inside the helmet can also cushion any impact to your head and help reduce the risk of concussion and other traumatic brain injuries. If your helmet has a full face shield, as is generally recommended, you can also protect yourself from eye trauma and other facial injuries in the event of an accident.
Contact Our Atlanta Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
If you were injured in a motorcycle crash in Atlanta, contact the attorneys of Spaulding Injury Law today for a free consultation. We’ll discuss the details of the accident. You can learn more about your legal rights and options for seeking compensation for your injuries, especially if you may not have been wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. We are “real lawyers helping real people” recover from their injuries and losses following devastating accidents.