Although helmets are widely regarded as a necessary safety precaution, when it comes to actual bicycle helmet laws, that necessity can vary by state. In Georgia, bicycle helmet laws only require people who are younger than 16 to wear a helmet when riding a bike. This law can be either beneficial to your claim or it can be detrimental.
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident wearing a helmet or not, a bicycle accident attorney in Atlanta may be able to help with your claim. The legal jargon surrounding vehicle accidents can be unnecessarily complicated and confusing. Let a lawyer handle the jargon while you focus on what’s important: recovering from your injuries.
Georgia Bicycle Helmet Laws Can Help or Hamper Your Claim
Since Georgia law requires only people younger than 16 to wear a helmet can work in your favor if you weren’t wearing a helmet at the time of your accident. If you suffered any kind of head injury, the fact that you were not wearing a helmet should not damage your ability to recover compensation for your injury.
An Atlanta bicycle accident attorney might be able to help you sort through this aspect of your claim and give you more answers.
It is equally possible that a judge or jury could decide that you should have known the dangers of riding a bike without a helmet, regardless of whether or not it is required by law. This could mean that you will not be able to recover as much money in damages.
Head injuries are the single biggest threat to the safety of bicyclists in the United States. In 1999, one study found that roughly 75 percent of bike-related deaths were caused by head injuries. The study also revealed that helmets can reduce the risk of serious head injury in a bicycle accident by 63-88 percent.
Again, before you plan on citing Georgia bicycle helmet laws in your claim, you should contact a bicycle accident attorney in Atlanta. A lawyer who is familiar with traffic claims in your area and has evaluated your specific accident should be able to gauge your chances of success in court.
How does the state of Georgia define a helmet?
Georgia law (40-6-296) defines a bicycle helmet as a “piece of protective gear which meets or exceeds the impact standards for bicycle helmets set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or the Snell Memorial Foundation.” These standards include tests of the durability of the actual helmet as well as the strength of the straps and/or buckles attached to it.
Georgia bicycle helmet laws also specify that a helmet must fit you properly and be fastened securely to your head. If your helmet fails to meet any of these criteria, you could risk diminishing your compensation -- as if you had not been wearing a helmet at all.
In the United States, certified bicycle helmets are marked by a Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) sticker on the inside and/or a CPSC-certified label on the outside of the helmet’s packaging. The CPSC has its own tests for certifying safe helmets, but it also accepts certification by Snell or ANSI.
If you have questions about your bicycle injury claim, whether you were wearing a helmet at the time of your accident or not, you should contact a bicycle accident attorney in Atlanta. The right lawyer could make all the difference in your claim.
At Shane Smith Law, our attorneys are familiar with Georgia traffic and bicycle helmet laws. Contact our bicycle accident attorneys in Atlanta for a free consultation about your case. Call us at (980) 246-2656.