Unlike some states that only require helmets for riders under the age of 18, or don’t require them at all, Georgia and Alabama both require all motorcycle riders and passengers to wear a helmet at all times.

Failure to wear a helmet can result in a hefty fine, usually between $100-$500, if you are pulled over by the police. But an injury because you failed to wear one could cost you thousands or tens of thousands of dollars—and quite possibly, your life.

Related Reading: What to Know Before Taking a Passenger on Your Motorcycle

Most people can’t afford to pay for injuries out of pocket, and they may discover their health insurance doesn’t pay all of their medical costs. On top of that, they may be unable to work until they are recovered, so they are missing out on paychecks at the same time their bills are stacking up.

That’s why personal injury lawsuits are important; they are often the ONLY avenue available for injured victims to get the money they need to fully recover from crashes, both physically and financially.

Personal injury lawsuits exist to help people who are injured through no fault of their own. Unfortunately, insurance companies love to argue that motorcycle riders disregard both their own safety and the safety of others, and that they are frequently at fault for their own wrecks. They especially love to argue motorcycle riders are at fault for their own injuries when they don’t wear helmets.

So how does failure to wear a helmet affect your ability to get compensation? Our blog goes over this scenario.

It Depends on Your State’s Negligence Laws

When it comes to payouts for injury cases and determining fault, Georgia has “modified comparative negligence” while Alabama has “pure contributory negligence.”

This means in Georgia, you could have done something that contributed to your crash—speeding, lane-splitting, or following too closely—but as long as the other driver is MORE at fault than you, you can still get compensation for your injuries. The amount of compensation you can get will be reduced the more at fault you are, however.

Alabama’s laws, on the other hand, say if you were even 1% at fault for your own injuries, then you can’t get ANY compensation at all.

If you suffer a head or neck injury while not wearing a helmet, the insurance company and their lawyers will argue that the injury would not have happened if you were wearing a helmet like you should have been. If you suffer a broken arm or leg instead, it is easier to argue the helmet was irrelevant to your injuries.

Even if a jury decides the crash was bad enough that you would have been injured whether you were wearing a helmet or not, they may agree that a helmet or other motorcycle gear would have made your injuries less severe. That makes you a little bit responsible, and “a little bit” is all the insurance company needs to deny your claim in Alabama.

If an insurance adjuster calls you after a crash, don’t give them a statement; they are trying to make you incriminate yourself on this issue. Instead, direct them to your lawyer.

After a Motorcycle Crash in Georgia or Alabama, Get Gary Bruce

The Gulf beaches of Alabama and Florida are popular vacation destinations for people throughout the South, and it’s common to see motorcycle riders on the backroads of southwest Georgia and southeast Alabama heading to the beach. Be safe!

Related Reading: 5 Tips for Riding a Motorcycle in Extreme Heat

It’s important to always wear the appropriate safety gear, especially a helmet, whenever you get on a motorcycle, no matter the weather or your destination. Not only are they legally required in Georgia and Alabama, but they are vital in protecting your life and safety if you are struck by a vehicle. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcycle riders who don’t wear helmets are 3x more likely to suffer a brain injury than those who do.

Safety gear cannot always completely prevent injury, however; it can only reduce injury. If you or someone you love was injured because another driver didn’t respect your right to the road as a rider, contact us. We will work hard to prove that your injuries were not your fault, and that you deserve the full amount of compensation possible for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Reach out today for a free case evaluation.