Everyone who rides a motorcycle in Atlanta and throughout the state of Georgia must wear a helmet that is approved by the Georgia Commissioner of Public Safety. Before riding a motorcycle, you should learn about the helmet laws for motorcyclists in Atlanta to avoid breaking state law.
Violating the mandatory helmet law can result in a fine, jail time, community service, and points on your license. Some insurance companies also try to use the helmet law as an excuse to deny injury claims from motorcyclists. If you were injured in a motorcycle crash, and you were not wearing a helmet, an Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyer could fight an unfair denial of your injury claim and seek the compensation you deserve.
Motorcyclists Must Wear Helmets in Georgia
Some states place an age limit on mandatory helmet wearing, but in Georgia, everyone, regardless of age, must wear a compliant helmet when riding a motorcycle, according to O.C.G.A. § 40-6-315. Also, if the motorcycle does not have a windshield, every rider must wear approved eye protection.
This mandatory motorcycle helmet rule does not apply to passengers in motorized carts or enclosed cabs. It also doesn’t apply to people who operate three-wheel motorcycles solely used for agricultural purposes.
The Georgia Commissioner of Public Safety defines compliant motorcycle helmets as those that meet the standards of 49 C.F.R. § 571.218 (FMVSS No. 218: Motorcycle Helmets). The federal government publishes a list of helmets that are compliant with these safety standards. The purpose of safety standards for motorcycle helmets is to reduce the number of deaths and severe injuries when accidents inevitably occur.
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Penalties for Violation of Georgia’s Motorcycle Helmet Law in Atlanta
A person can receive a citation for violating Georgia’s mandatory helmet law. If found guilty, a conviction could result in up to a year in jail, community service, and a fine of up to $1,000.
Also, a person can receive points on their driver’s license, per Rule 375-3-3-.01 Penalties for Violations of Uniform Rules of the Road. A person’s driver’s license can get suspended or revoked if they accumulate too many points.
How Violating the Helmet Law in Atlanta Could Impact Your Personal Injury Case
The liable insurer’s claims adjuster might assert that because you weren’t wearing a helmet, you don’t deserve compensation. This is simply not true. When evaluating an injury claim where the motorcyclist wasn’t wearing a helmet, two questions come into play:
- Did not wearing a helmet cause or contribute to the collision? If so, this could affect how much the injured person can recover.
- Did the motorcycle rider suffer head or neck injuries? If wearing a helmet would have prevented those injuries, the at-fault party might argue that they should not have to pay for them, even if they caused other conditions.
Some people have negative opinions of motorcycle riders. They assume that motorcycle riders are reckless and drive dangerously. It would not take much for the insurance company’s defense attorneys to talk the jury into blaming the motorcycle rider for the crash and finding in favor of the defendant.
If you suffer injuries while riding a motorcycle without a helmet in Atlanta, you will want to work with a lawyer who can fight for the compensation you need. They can combat unfair allegations of negligence and seek a fair settlement.
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Damages Recoverable After an Atlanta Motorcycle Crash
The monetary compensation you can pursue for your injuries suffered in an Atlanta motorcycle collision depends on the facts of your case. Every motorcycle accident is different, so recoverable damages vary on a case-by-case basis.
Here are some of the common categories of money damages we have won for our motorcycle accident clients:
- Lost wages. This category compensates you for wages you did not get paid when your injuries prevented you from working.
- Future lost wages. Severe injuries can leave a person unable to earn as much income as before. This type of money damages can help you recoup that financial loss.
- Medical expenses. Your medical treatment is usually compensable. This category can include healthcare costs like the ambulance or life flight, emergency room or trauma center, surgery, diagnostic procedures, imaging studies, lab tests, blood transfusions, doctors, hospitals, physical therapy, and prescription drugs.
- Future medical care. Debilitating injuries can result in the need for ongoing or future medical treatments. The estimated expense of these procedures can be a part of your injury claim.
- Out-of-pocket expenses. Your motorcycle accident may have compelled you to pay money out of pocket for various expenses, including childcare and temporary transportation arrangements. Those losses are compensable.
- Long-term care costs. Life-changing conditions might make a person unable to live independently because they need daily assistance with personal care and medical treatments.
- Non-economic damages. Non-economic damages account for the physical discomfort and emotional distress caused by the crash and the injured person’s injuries. This category can include things like disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and pain and suffering.
Also, if a motorcyclist did not survive the collision, the family might be able to file a wrongful death action seeking compensation from the at-fault party.
Your Options If You Get Injured in an Atlanta Motorcycle Accident
You do not have to go through the insurance claim and possible litigation process by yourself. Bader Scott Injury Lawyers could handle your injury claim, leaving you free to focus on getting better.
We handle Atlanta motorcycle accident cases on a contingency-fee basis, which means that you do not have to pay us any upfront legal fees. We only get paid for our work if you win. You can reach out to us today to get started and to get your free initial consultation.