Motorcycles provide transportation and recreation to thousands of Georgia motorcycle owners. Motorcycles can also be dangerous. If a negligent motorist injures you as you’re motorcycling in Georgia, you’re going to need help from an Atlanta motorcycle accident attorney.
A motorcycle simply does not offer the protection that automobiles and trucks offer to drivers and passengers. Anyone who’s on a motorcycle should be wearing a helmet, and in the State of Georgia, it’s the law.
Keep reading, and you’ll learn exactly what the Georgia law requires of motorcyclists. You will also learn what steps you should take if a distracted, careless, or intoxicated motorist is responsible for your injuries in a motorcycle crash in Georgia.
What Does Georgia Law Say About Motorcycle Helmets?
Nineteen states, including Georgia, require all motorcycle operators and passengers to use a motorcycle helmet when they are on the road.
Here’s what Georgia state law says:
“No person shall operate or ride upon a motorcycle unless he or she is wearing protective headgear which complies with standards established by the commissioner of public safety…”
A violation of the state’s helmet law is a misdemeanor. Almost no one actually goes to jail for a violation, but the law allows a conviction to be penalized with a fine of up to $1,000 and a jail term of up to a year.
What Types of Injuries Do Motorcyclists Suffer?
Survivors of serious motorcycle accidents frequently sustain brain injuries, lacerations, bone fractures, and injuries to the spinal cord. Many motorcycling injuries result in permanent disabilities.
And in 2018, over 4,900 motorcyclists and passengers in the U.S. died in traffic crashes, and 154 of those fatalities happened on Georgia’s streets and highways.
For many years, research studies have consistently shown that wearing a motorcycle helmet is indisputably the most effective safety measure for preventing catastrophic injuries and fatalities in motorcycle accidents.
Who is Liable for Motorcycle Accidents?
The responsibility for safety on the road doesn’t fall entirely on motorcyclists. As you might expect, about half of all motorcycle collisions are caused by motorcyclists, and the other half are caused by car and truck drivers colliding with motorcyclists.
Nevertheless, motorcyclists must take the responsibility for personal safety. When a truck or an automobile collides with a motorcycle, it’s the motorcyclist who is apt to be seriously injured. When motorcycle collisions aren’t fatal, they are almost always devastating and catastrophic.
Georgia motorcyclists who have been injured by negligent car and truck drivers have the right to compensation for accident-related medical costs, lost earnings, and related losses, but they must prove they are entitled to compensation by proving they were injured as a result of negligence.
How Can You Prove That a Motorist Was Negligent?
Proving that another motorist was driving negligently may be difficult. In fact, that driver or the driver’s attorney could claim:
1. The motorcyclist was the negligent party in the accident.
2. The motorcyclist wasn’t seriously injured.
3. Any injuries suffered by the motorcyclist were pre-existing.
If you have been injured by a negligent driver, you will need representation and sound legal advice from a Georgia personal injury lawyer – a lawyer who has substantial experience with personal injury claims arising from motorcycle accidents.
What Standards are Required for Motorcycle Helmets?
Your motorcycle helmet must meet some requirements. Georgia’s Commission of Public Safety requires motorcycle helmets to meet these safety standards established by the U.S. Department of Transportation:
1. The helmet’s inner liner must be made from polystyrene foam that is at least one inch thick.
2. The helmet must weigh a minimum of three pounds.
3. The helmet must be equipped with durable chin straps that have been attached with solid rivets.
4. The helmet must have nothing attached that extends two-tenths of an inch or more beyond its shell.
A motorcycle helmet must fully cover a rider’s head, and chin straps must be securely fastened. It must fit snugly and prevent excessive head movement within the helmet.
If You’re Injured, How Will an Accident Attorney Help?
If you are injured by a negligent driver while you’re on a motorcycle, a good Georgia injury lawyer will fight aggressively for the compensation you need and the justice you deserve. Your attorney will first review the evidence and then identify which party may be held accountable.
Understand that if you are an injured motorcyclist and you file a personal injury claim to recover compensation, the other driver’s attorney might characterize you as “brash” or “reckless” simply because you were riding a motorcycle. That is a prejudice that’s both unfair and outdated.
Even in states with less restrictive helmet laws, you should wear a helmet whenever you are on a motorcycle. It’s the best protection you can have against a head or brain injury, and it’s the responsible thing to do.
Is There a Deadline for Taking Legal Action?
But if you’ve been injured by a negligent motorist, the right Atlanta motorcycle accident attorney will take prejudice out of the picture and point directly to the facts in the case. The right lawyer will know how to hold a negligent driver accountable and acquire the compensation you need.
If a motorcycle accident puts you out of work, and your monthly bills as well as your medical expenses are piling up, speak to an accident attorney at once. In most motorcycle accident cases, an injured victim of negligence in Georgia has only two years to file a personal injury claim.
That deadline may be extended in rare cases where a motorcyclist sustained latent or hidden injuries that were not discovered until days or weeks later. If you are in this situation, your attorney can explain how the state’s statute of limitations applies in your own case.
If your motorcycle accident has caused the loss of intimacy with your spouse – the legal term is “loss of consortium” – your spouse has four years to bring a loss of consortium claim.
What Will It Cost to Seek Justice?
After a motorcycle accident, seek immediate medical attention. If a healthcare professional confirms that you’ve been injured, arrange to meet with an Atlanta personal injury attorney at once.
Your first consultation with an accident attorney is free, and there is no obligation. If you proceed with a legal action, you pay no lawyer’s fee unless and until your lawyer recovers compensation on your behalf.
Motorcycle accident injuries may require medical treatment for the rest of a victim’s life. If you are that victim, you’ll need to obtain the maximum available compensation, and you’ll need a lawyer who knows how to win that compensation and hold negligent drivers accountable.