Our motorcycle accident lawyers warn that motorcycle crashes not only lead to serious injuries and emotional trauma, they also have burdensome economic consequences.
According to a new government report,billions of dollars are spent on motorcycle-related deaths and injuries each year. Emergency services and insurance premiums make up a large portion of the cost.
The report states that the direct, measurable costs from crash-related deaths and injuries totaled $16 billion in 2010, and this amount would be even higher if long-term medical care expenses are included. Treating serious injuries can take a long time and often prove to be very expensive. Moreover, some costs of long-term injuries, such as loss of employment and change in living conditions, cannot be measured.
Helmets are one of the most effective strategies to reduce injuries and save lives. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that wearing a helmet lessens the risk of death by 37% and lowers the risk of head injury by 69% in a motorcycle accident.
During 2008-2010, of the 14,283 motorcyclists fatally injured in crashes, nearly half were not wearing a helmet. Helmet use also translates into economic savings. It is estimated that in 2010, the country saved about $3 billion in costs due to helmet use, but an additional $1.4 billion could have been saved if all motorcyclists wore helmets.
Do Americans support government regulation of helmet laws? It appears that most do. A 2010 government report on motor vehicle safety says that four out of five Americans support universal helmet laws. However, motorcycle groups strongly oppose the laws that require all riders to wear a helmet. Not all states have universal helmet laws. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that as of April 2012, 19 states and the District of Columbia had universal helmet laws. Another 28 states had partial helmet laws that require only some riders such as those under age 21 or under age 18, to use helmets. Three states, Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire, had no helmet law.
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Partial helmet laws are often futile. A CDC case study reveals that Florida is a prime example of the ineffectiveness of partial helmet laws to prevent deaths in motorcycle crashes. Florida repealed its universal helmet law in 2000. Thirty months later, deaths of all riders increased by 55%. Public costs also rose substantially. Hospitalizations due to motorcycle crashes increased more than 40%. Expenses for treating head injuries from motorcycle crashes more than doubled to $44 million.
Our motorcycle injury lawyers support helmet laws to prevent serious crash-related injuries. Helmetless riders pose a great financial burden on the public. Riders without helmets have a greater chance of suffering serious brain injuries, and use more emergency services and other critical healthcare resources. Also, many riders who do not wear helmets do not have health insurance and are more likely to have their hospital expenses paid by government medical funds.
Motorcycle riding is undoubtedly thrilling, but rider safety is paramount. Helmet use is a simple but extremely effective strategy to minimize serious injuries. Even accident claims take into account whether the rider complied with applicable helmet laws or not, especially if there are head or neck injuries.
Other factors that can improve safety for motorcyclists include better roads, laws that prevent alcohol use among motorcycle riders, use of brightly colored clothing by riders to enhance visibility, and control of speeding.
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, our experienced motorcycle attorneys can investigate your case and get you the compensation you deserve.