Failure to Wear a Helmet Can Affect Your Personal Injury Claim
Posted on Friday, March 31st, 2017 at 1:50 am
Wearing a motorcycle helmet and other safety gear when riding a motorcycle is one of the first lessons a new rider learns. As some riders get more experienced, they choose to sometimes ride without wearing a helmet, despite the risks. Georgia law requires motorcycle riders to wear helmets and protective eye gear when riding their motorcycles. Riders who violate this law may be prosecuted criminally and may have to pay a fine.
Additionally, if the rider is involved in a serious accident caused by a negligent driver, not wearing a helmet during the time of the accident can affect the amount of compensation the rider is able to recover. This is because Georgia is a comparative negligence state, which means that a plaintiff can receive compensation for personal injury only if he or she is less than 50% at fault for any injuries.
That is where the helmet comes in. The defense in a personal injury lawsuit can argue that if a rider was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, he or she was to blame for his or her injuries. This argument is most persuasive if the injured rider sustained injuries to the head, neck, face, or brain. If the injuries are to other parts of the body that would not have been protected by a helmet, such as arms, legs, or back, this defense’s argument is likely to fail.
When the defense can show that the plaintiff’s injuries would have been prevented or would not have been as serious if he was wearing a helmet, it can seriously impact the amount of compensation the plaintiff receives. If the plaintiff is found to be partially at fault, a percentage of fault is determined by the judge or jury in the case, and any amount of compensation awarded is reduced by this percentage, as long as the fault is less than 50%. If the jury finds that the failure to wear a helmet was the most significant cause of the injuries, more than 50%, the plaintiff may get nothing.
An injured motorcycle rider who chooses to negotiate a settlement with an insurance company on his or her own without consulting an attorney may get a lower offer if he or she was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. This may be the case even if the failure to wear a helmet would not ultimately have affected the claim in court. This is why riders should at the least consult an attorney before beginning any negotiations with inusrance companies.
Contact an Experienced Attorney
Remember that wearing safety gear is important for your safety when riding and can save your life if you are involved in a serious accident. It can also make a big difference to your personal injury case. Whether you were wearing a helmet or not, if you were involved in a serious crash caused by another person’s negligence, you have a right to seek compensation for your injuries. Do not dismiss your chances at recovery because you were not wearing a helmet before discussing the issue with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia. Call the law firm of Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. today.