There is no question that wearing a helmet on a motorcycle is extremely important. In the event of an accident, helmets can help prevent or alleviate brain and spinal cord injuries, as well as other damage to your neck and back. For this reason, Georgia has a mandatory helmet law for motorcyclists. This means that any person, no matter how old they are, who operates or rides on a motorcycle must wear a helmet.
So, if helmets are required by law, you may be wondering whether you can receive compensation for your injuries if you were not wearing a helmet during your motorcycle accident. The simple answer is yes, but your damages (compensation) may be reduced or offset due to comparative negligence.
If your motorcycle accident was not your fault, or partially not your fault, then you can still file a lawsuit against the other driver involved in your collision. However, as a result of comparative negligence laws, if you were not wearing a helmet at the time of your accident then the amount awarded to you as damages may be reduced if you injure your head. A jury could find that even if you did not cause the accident, you are 20% at fault for your head injury because a fifth of the damage(s) could have been prevented if you were wearing a helmet. Under these circumstances, if the jury determines that all of your damages total $100,000, you will only be entitled to $80,000 due to the 20% of damage that was determined to be your fault.
In addition to significantly reducing your damages award in a motorcycle accident causing head and neck injuries, not wearing a helmet carries other financial penalties. If law enforcement catches up with you, each violation of Georgia’s helmet law will cost you $15.
So while you may still receive damages for injuries you sustain in a motorcycle accident even if you weren’t wearing a helmet, the amount of compensation you receive will likely be reduced and you will likely have to pay a fine. For this reason, (and to help save your life or prevent further injury) – you should always wear a helmet on a motorcycle!
If you have been in a motorcycle accident and someone was not wearing a helmet, you need a reliable personal injury attorney to assist you in getting the compensation you deserve and limiting your liability.
At Murphy & Garner, LLC our Georgia personal injury attorneys understand that someone else’s negligence shouldn’t be your financial burden. When you are injured, you need reimbursement for your medical expenses and compensation for your pain. Our attorneys fight for people injured in all types of accidents, and can help you protect your rights.