Georgia law requires all motorcycle riders and passengers to wear helmets. If you are in an accident that you didn’t cause, you may be able to recover money for your injuries even if you were not wearing a helmet. However, the amount you receive may be reduced because you weren’t following the law.
How does “fault” work in a motorcycle accident in Georgia?
Motorcycle accidents are no different than any other type of car accident when it comes to determining who is at fault. The driver who is at fault is the one who could have avoided the accident by being more careful or following traffic laws. In legal terms, the driver who is at fault was negligent. When a driver is negligent, the driver’s insurance company must pay the cost of other peoples’ injuries and the damage to their vehicles.
Sometimes, however, a jury or insurance company finds that more than one person was negligent. This might happen if you were injured in a motorcycle accident and you weren’t wearing a helmet, since helmets are required in Georgia. The jury or insurance company will assign a percentage of fault to each party. Under Georgia’s comparative fault rules, you can still recover money from the other driver as long as you were less than 50 percent at fault.
What are some common motorcycle accident injuries?
Motorcyclists don’t have the same kinds of safety equipment and protection that drivers of other vehicles have. This means that motorcyclist injuries are more likely to be serious, even if the overall accident was relatively minor. Some of the most common accident injuries include:
- Head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries. The severity of a head injury may be directly related to whether or not a rider was wearing a helmet.
- Road rash. When unprotected skin collides with the roadway, painful cuts and scrapes can occur.
- Broken bones. The direct impact with the road, other vehicles or objects along the roadway may fracture multiple bones.
- Muscle and soft tissue injuries. Accidents can damage the muscles and tissues in your neck, back and limbs.
Always take a motorcycle accident seriously and see a doctor as soon as possible – even if you don’t have to go to the emergency room. It’s typical to feel okay right after the accident and then develop symptoms of muscle and head injuries later. If you try to tough it out, it may be harder to recover, and the insurance company may accuse you of making up your injuries after the fact.
Should I get a lawyer if I was in an accident and wasn’t wearing a helmet?
Yes. A lawyer’s help is especially important if you didn’t have a helmet on when you were injured in a motorcycle crash. The other driver’s insurance company will be quick to blame you for your injuries, and as a result, the insurance company probably won’t offer you much money – if it offers you anything at all.
Insurance companies are always looking for ways to deny claims, and if you weren’t wearing a helmet, they have a perfect excuse. But your helmet might have played only a very small part in the accident and your injuries. For example, suppose you broke a couple of bones and have severe road rash, but you didn’t hit your head and don’t have a head injury. The fact that you weren’t wearing a helmet has nothing to do with your injuries, and is not a legitimate reason for the insurance company to deny your claim.
A Georgia motorcycle accident lawyer will work hard to make sure you are not held more responsible than you should be. Your lawyer will get you a full assessment of all your injuries, and may use experts to show whether your injuries were made worse by not wearing a helmet. In a jury trial, a lawyer can present evidence showing that you are a careful and responsible rider who should not have to pay the price for the other driver’s negligence.
In many cases, a lawyer’s help is essential to getting money for your injuries, so you can concentrate on putting your life back together.
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