Riding a motorcycle offers a sense of freedom unparalleled by most other forms of transport. However, this freedom is not without risks. Without the protective shell that cars offer, motorcyclists are exposed to greater dangers in the event of a collision.
Helmets play a vital role in reducing the severity of these injuries, absorbing a significant amount of the impact and often making the difference between life and death. To protect motorcyclists, Georgia has mandatory motorcycle helmet laws that the majority of riders are required to follow. If you are involved in a wreck, a motorcycle accident attorney in Atlanta may be able to help you secure compensation.
Georgia Laws Require Motorcyclists to Wear a Helmet
In 1969, Georgia passed a mandatory helmet law for motorcyclists. Unlike many states that only mandate helmets for younger riders, Georgia’s law applies to all motorcyclists, whether they’re driving or just riding along.
According to Section 40-6-315 of the Official Code of Georgia, all people riding or operating a motorcycle must wear a helmet. This helmet has to meet certain standards set by the Commissioner of Public Safety and Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 218; specifically, the helmet must be able to absorb shock, resist sharp objects, and function reliably.
However, there are a few exceptions. The helmet law doesn’t apply to those in an enclosed cab or using a motorized cart. Also, three-wheeled motorcycles used strictly for farming are exempt. For most riders, however, wearing a helmet is a legal requirement.
The Dangers of Riding a Motorcycle without a Helmet
Riding a motorcycle without a helmet exposes riders to severe risks. Head injuries, including concussions and skull fractures, are more common in accidents when helmets aren’t worn. The chances of life-threatening injuries increase significantly in these situations, for both the rider and any passenger.
Additionally, there are legal consequences for choosing not to wear one. In Georgia, fines for violating motorcycle helmet laws can reach $1,000, and riders may face up to one year in jail plus community service. To protect yourself and avoid these consequences, it is vital to wear a helmet whenever you are riding a motorcycle.
How Failure to Wear a Helmet Can Affect an Accident Claim
Compliance with Georgia’s helmet laws not only protects riders physically but can also have significant implications in the legal aftermath of an accident. If you’ve been involved in a crash without wearing a helmet, this does not automatically bar you from seeking legal recourse if another party was at fault. However, it could affect the amount of compensation that you can recover.
Georgia operates under a modified comparative fault system. This means that even if you’re found partially at fault for an accident, you can pursue compensation from a negligent party as long as you are less than 50% at fault. However, the court will reduce the amount of compensation that you receive by the amount of liability that you share.
To protect your right to compensation, it is important to have an attorney on your side. An Atlanta, GA personal injury lawyer can help defend you against accusations of fault and fight for your maximum settlement. After your accident, reach out to an attorney who can guide you through the intricacies of Georgia’s laws and help secure the best possible outcome for your situation.