When it comes to seatbelt and helmet laws, a Georgia motorcycle accident lawyer usually realizes people fall into two camps. Some people have no problem wearing their helmet or seatbelt. They believe it keeps them safe and they see no harm in it. Other people don’t think the government should be able to tell them what to do. If they aren’t wearing a helmet and they get hurt, that’s on them, right? They complain about this to their Georgia motorcycle accident lawyer as well. Unfortunately, the government doesn’t agree with this position.
The State of Georgia bears the costs of a lot of accidents involving motorcycle riders who don’t wear their helmet. People who don’t have insurance still need medical treatment. When they can’t pay for their medical care, it falls on the state. There are other costs associated with not wearing a helmet or seatbelt. When someone gets hurt in an accident and can’t work, they may end up on disability. This costs the state money too. This is one of the major reasons why the State of Georgia requires that you wear a helmet while riding on your motorcycle. The same thing goes for your passengers. The only exception is when you’re riding on a three-wheeler.
This makes some people wonder if they are not wearing a helmet, can cost them their right to sue? This is a good question. The answer isn’t all that simple. Yes, you can certainly still sue if you weren’t wearing your helmet. However, there’s a good chance the defendant will argue that you wouldn’t have gotten injured had you been wearing your helmet.
Your Georgia Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Needs to Prove Your Case
Before you worry about how not wearing a helmet will impact your lawsuit, you need to understand how the law works. In order to get you damages, your Georgia motorcycle accident lawyer needs to prove two things. First, they need to demonstrate that the defendant was at fault. This usually requires that they prove negligence. To do that, they need to show the following:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care
- They breached this duty
- You were injured
- Your injuries were caused by the defendant’s breach
Even if your attorney can prove this, they still need to prove that you were injured. The best way to do that is to submit a copy of your medical records. You’ll also need proof of any out-of-pocket expenses. For example, you will need to submit copies of your mechanic’s receipts. You will also need to submit copies of your payroll records to show how much time you missed at work.
The Defendant May Argue that You Wouldn’t Have Been Injured Had You Been Wearing Your Helmet
Even if the defendant admits they were at fault, that doesn’t mean you’re automatically entitled to damages. The defendant’s lawyer is going to argue that you were partially at fault for your injuries. Let’s consider that you’re in an accident and suffer a head injury or a traumatic brain injury. This sort of injury may have been prevented had you been wearing your helmet. The defendant can claim that you chose not to wear a helmet knowing it was against the law. Therefore, they shouldn’t have to pay damages for injuries sustained because you didn’t have a helmet on.
If they are able to prove this, your damages could be impacted. In Georgia, there is something called comparative negligence. This is a rule that says your damages can be reduced by your percentage of fault. If your claim is for $100,000 and the court finds that you were 30% at fault, they can reduce your damages by $30,000. This will turn your total claim for damages into $70,000 instead of $100,000.
You Should Contact a Skilled Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Georgia Right Away
If you get a feeling that your insurance claim isn’t going to be paid, it’s time to call for help. You should speak with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible after your crash. If you weren’t wearing a helmet, there’s a good chance the insurance company will deny your claim. The defendant’s lawyer is also going to argue that you aren’t entitled to damages. Your attorney can fight these claims.
Call and schedule your free, initial consultation today. Sit down with someone who can answer your questions and give you an idea of what your case is worth.