Georgia Helmet Law Requirements

The state of Georgia requires all motorcycle riders to wear a helmet. Section 40-6-315 of the Georgia Code requires all persons operating or riding on a motorcycle to wear protective headgear compliant with Board of Public Safety standards. The standards adopted by the Board in regulation 570-13 mirror Standard No. 218 of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and Regulations (FMVSS). Standard 218 establishes minimum performance requirements for helmets which are highly technical and very detailed and specific. Make sure that any helmet you buy has a sticker or product packaging indicating it is compliant with FMVSS218.

Violation of this statute is a misdemeanor which can result in up to $1,000 in fines and a year in jail. In the great majority of cases, the courts impose a much lesser monetary fine, but it’s important to understand that aggravating factors could result in much more severe punishment.

Failure to wear a helmet and accident recovery

In addition to receiving a citation or being arrested for violating the helmet law, failure to wear a helmet can have ramifications for one's ability to recover compensation when injured in an accident. This is true even if the main cause of the accident is another negligent driver, roadway defect, or problem with the bike's design or manufacture. Typically, when one is injured because he or she violated a law that was designed to prevent that type of injury, the person is considered to be negligent. Therefore, if someone dies or suffers a head injury in a motorcycle accident and was not wearing a helmet, that person may be considered negligent, since the helmet law was enacted to prevent head injuries and death in motorcycle accidents.

However, this does not mean that an injured person cannot recover compensation from a negligent driver or other party who was responsible for causing the accident. Under Georgia law, a person whose own negligence contributed to the accident or injury may still recover compensation from another negligent party, provided that the injured person was not 50% or more responsible. If you are struck by a negligent driver, you are likely to be injured whether you were wearing a helmet or not, so it is unlikely that a jury would find you totally responsible for your injuries.

It is essential to be represented by an experienced Atlanta motorcycle accident attorney who will make sure you are not unfairly assigned more than your share of the blame for your injuries. As long as you are considered less than 50% at fault, you can still recover compensation, although the amount you are awarded will be reduced proportionately according to your amount of comparative negligence.

Experienced legal representation after a motorcycle accident

Helmets save lives, and all motorcycle riders are urged to wear approved helmets and other protective gear whenever riding. At the same time, we know that all the care and caution in the world cannot protect bikers from a negligent driver, serious defect in the road, or mechanical failure of the motorcycle. If you or a loved one were injured in a motorcycle accident, the helmet is only one factor among many that may be considered in determining which parties are at fault and what level of compensation is appropriate. To discuss your case with an experienced Atlanta motorcycle accident attorney with a record of obtaining verdicts and settlements for injured parties, contact Katz Wright Fleming Dodson & Mildenhall LLC at (404) 460-0101 or online. We represent motorcyclists across the state, including Rome, Valdosta, Augusta, Athens, and metro-Atlanta.

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