Understanding Motorcycle Helmet Laws in Georgia

Georgia has several popular motorcycle ride destinations, including the Fort McAllister Historic Park and the Savannah. No wonder it is home to several thousands of motorcyclists.

Motorcycle riders do not enjoy the same level of protection available to car drivers who are protected by a steel cage with seatbelts, climate control, and airbags.

Georgia ranks in the top 20 states in the U.S. with the highest motorcycle fatality rate. In 2018, 154 out of 4,900 motorcycle fatalities reported in the country occurred in Georgia.

Whether you drive a motorcycle or a car, you must know Georgia’s motorcycle laws.

Georgia’s Helmet Laws

Motorcyclists and their passengers in Georgia are required to wear a helmet when they are on the road. The protective headgear must comply with the standards established by the commissioner of public safety.

Riding without a helmet is classified as a misdemeanor. Violators can be awarded a penalty of up to $1,000 and a one-year jail term; however, almost no one actually goes to jail for a violation.

Standards Required for Motorcycle Helmets

Helmets used in Georgia must meet the following safety standards established by the U.S. Department of Transportation:

  • The inner line must be made from polystyrene line that should be at least one inch thick
  • It must fully cover the rider’s head, and fit snugly
  • Attachments, if any, beyond the shell must not extend two-tenth of an inch
  • It must weigh at least three pounds
  • It must have durable chin straps

Common Injuries From Motorcycle Crashes

Some common injuries suffered by motorcyclists in a crash are spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, fractures, lacerations, internal injuries, and lower extremity injuries.

Several studies have found that wearing a helmet is the most effective way to prevent serious injuries such as concussions and deaths. A CDC study found that helmets reduce the risk of death by 37 percent and head injuries by 69 percent.

Georgia motorcyclists who have been injured in a crash that wasn’t their fault have the right to file a lawsuit for damages.

If a motorcycle accident attorney in Atlanta is able to prove that the party-at-fault was responsible for their client’s injury, they can claim current and future medical expenses and lost wages. The attorney may also sue the party at fault for emotional distress and loss of consortium. In some cases, courts can also award punitive damages.

Common Types of Motorcycle Accidents

  • Head-on collision
  • Lane splitting
  • Left-hand turn accidents
  • Hitting fixed/stationery objects
  • Drunk driving
  • Distracted driving (common distractions include texting, reading, eating, or talking to a passenger while driving)

Proving Negligence in a Motorcycle Crash

To establish negligence in a personal injury claim, the attorney must prove that:

  • The party-at-fault had a duty of care (to take all necessary measures to avoid injuring other motorists and pedestrians or placing them in the path of danger)
  • The party-at-fault acted in an irresponsible manner
  • The injury resulted from the breach of the duty

If you have been injured by a negligent driver, do not wait too long to hire a personal injury lawyer in Atlanta. Your personal injury lawyer will connect you to a skilled and experienced personal injury doctor in Atlanta. The professional will negotiate with your insurance company and collect evidence to build a watertight case.

Deadline for Filing a Lawsuit

Individuals injured in a motorcycle crash in Georgia have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. If a personal injury victim fails to file a lawsuit before the deadline (also known as the statute of limitations or limitations period), they may lose their right to sue the party-at-fault.

Exceptions

A court can toll the statute of limitations, if:

  • The plaintiff was a minor when the accident occurred
  • The victim was mentally incapacitated at the time of the accident
  • The victim did not know, and neither they had any means to know that they had been injured (latent or hidden injuries that were discovered later)

How Much Do Personal Injury Lawyers Charge?

Most motorcycle accident lawyers in Atlanta charge on a contingent fee basis. A lawyer who utilizes a contingent fee arrangement gets paid only if the decision is in the client’s favor (no compensation, no fee).

If you recover damages, your lawyer can collect 25-40 percent of your total award. Some lawyers bill their clients for case-related expenses, irrespective of the outcome. Before you hire an attorney, be sure you understand what you will be charged for and how much.

 

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