In many states, wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle is optional. That is not the case in Georgia. Instead, helmets are mandatory for most motorcyclists and their passengers. If you choose not to wear a helmet, you will break the law—and endanger your chances of winning a personal injury lawsuit should you be injured.
The Law in Georgia
Under Section 40-6-315 of the Georgia Code, all motorcyclists must wear a helmet while operating a motorcycle unless they are riding in an enclosed cab or motorized car. In addition, the helmet must have a shield or else the rider should use goggles. All protective headgear must be approved by the Georgia commissioner of public safety. Although the commissioner has not published a list of approved headgear, helmets approved by the federal Department of Transportation should qualify.
The Stats Behind Helmet Safety
There is a very good reason Georgia requires bikers to wear helmets—they have been proven to save lives and reduce the chance of injury. Consider the following statistics:
- In 2015, helmets saved about 1,770 lives.
- Helmets reduce your risk of death by 37%.
- Helmets reduce your risk of a head injury by nearly 70%.
- Had everyone worn a helmet in 2015, about 740 fewer people would have died in motorcycle accidents. This works out to about 2 lives saved each day.
- If all motorcyclists wore helmets, then over $1 billion in medical treatment could be saved.
Furthermore, studies have shown that helmets do not meaningfully reduce visibility or hearing. In fact, motorcyclists can compensate for any loss of vision by moving their heads more.
How Failing to Wear a Helmet Impacts Your Personal Injury Case
Let’s say you neglected to wear a helmet while out riding on the road, but then you are in an accident, suffering serious injuries like broken bones and a concussion because someone slammed into you. Not only have you broken the law, you have also harmed your personal injury lawsuit.
Georgia has adopted comparative negligence principles, which means that a victim’s own negligence can reduce the amount of money they receive in a personal injury lawsuit. Even if someone else’s negligence or recklessness caused a crash, your failure to wear a helmet will probably reduce the amount of monetary damages you receive.
Legally, your financial recovery will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if the jury finds that you are 50% responsible for your concussion, then you will receive only half of the amount you could have had you worn a helmet. And if the jury finds that you are 80% responsible, then you will only receive 20% of your damages.
Speak with an Alpharetta Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Mitnick & Associates is a law firm committed to our client’s well-being, and to that end, we help injured victims receive the compensation they deserve when someone else injures them. If you believe someone else is responsible for your motorcycle accident, call us today. We offer a free consultation so we can evaluate your case and determine if you have a valid legal claim. Call 770-408-7000 or fill out our contact form. We also serve Cumming, Johns Creek, Roswell, and Milton.