Georgia’s motorcycle law is clear. It states, “No person shall operate or ride upon a motorcycle unless he or she is wearing protective headgear.” Not only do riders and passengers have to wear helmets, the safety gear has to comply with federal safety standards.
Considering the greater risk motorcyclists inherently face if they are involved in a vehicle collision on the road, it might seem to be a matter of common sense to require helmets. But state laws vary and helmets are voluntary in some locales. One common question that experienced attorneys receive in this regard is whether violating Georgia’s helmet law negates the possibility of filing a personal injury suit if a rider is injured in an accident due to another driver’s negligence. The answer should come as good news.
Recovery may be limited
One foundation of personal injury law is that negligence must be a factor. The presumption is that every person will exercise some level of care to minimize potential injury risks to others. The key language in that statement is “some level of care.” That creates a certain amount of room for interpretation of the law, and this is where the courts come into play.
The standard that Georgia applies is one that acknowledges that accidents and the injuries that result are not always the fault of one person and one person only. It’s understood that there can be contributory negligence on the part of all participants. That does not rule out the possibility of a victim recovering compensation for the damages suffered. However, it could mean that a victim won’t receive as much as might be hoped for. The award could be reduced by a sum proportional to the fault assigned to the victim.
Where questions in degree of fault exist, a claim may be viable. Nothing is certain, but consulting an experienced attorney is a smart step to take.