For decades, motorcycle safety experts have been encouraging motorcyclists to wear helmets when riding to reduce the risk of serious injury. However, many motorcyclists believe that wearing a helmet is actually more dangerous than not wearing a helmet. Some believe that wearing a helmet can damage the spinal cord during an accident and can actually increase the risk of serious neck injuries. So just how true is this? And just how protective are motorcycle helmets?
A new five-year study conducted by three neurosurgeons from UW Health sought answers to these very questions. The study looked at 1,061 patients who were involved in motorcycle accidents. Of those, 738 were not wearing helmets at the time of the accident. The remaining 323 were wearing a helmet. Of the patients who were not wearing a helmet, 11% of those developed a neck or cervical spinal injury. Only 4% of patients who were wearing a helmet developed a neck or spinal injury. Furthermore, the analysis of the severity of the spinal cord injuries showed that riders who were not wearing helmets sustained significantly more severe injuries.
The Pennsylvania Motorcycle Helmet Law
Excerpt: PennDOT – Pennsylvania’s Motorcycle Helmet Law Fact Sheet – PDF. “Pennsylvania Law requires that any person who operates or rides a motorcycle (including an autocycle) must wear protective headgear unless he or she is over 21 years of age or older and has either two years of riding experience or has completed a motorcycle safety course approved by PennDOT or the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. In addition, the operator or an occupant of a three- wheeled motorcycle or autocycle equipped with an enclosed cab is exempt from wearing a helmet. In response to this law the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation developed regulations for the minimum performance requirements for helmets designed for use by motorcyclists. Additionally, the regulations specify how the helmet shall be labeled to help identify a helmet that meets both the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS 218) and Pennsylvania regulations (Title 67, Chapter 107) for helmets.”
Motorcycle Helmets Save Lives
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that helmets are 37% more effective in preventing motorcycle fatalities than not wearing a helmet. Each year, more than 1,158 additional riders would have lost their lives if it weren’t for motorcycle helmets. Motorcyclists are at an increased risk for sustaining serious and life-threatening injuries in the event of an accident. Currently, motorcyclists are 26 times more likely to die in a traffic crash than a driver in an automobile. Wearing a helmet can help reduce that risk.
In states without an all-rider helmet law, 59% of motorcyclists killed were not wearing a helmet. This is a drastic difference from states with all-rider helmet laws, where only 8% of motorcyclists killed were not wearing a helmet. Currently, motorcycle helmets prevent $17 billion in societal harm each and every year. If all motorcyclists wore helmets when riding, an additional $8 billion could be saved.
Motorcycle Accidents Can Be Catastrophic
Motorcycle accidents are often catastrophic for the motorcyclist. Injuries often range from broken bones and road rash to more serious spinal cord and head injuries. In many instances, motorcyclists are not to blame for these accidents. In fact, motorists who simply failed to recognize the motorcycle on the road were to blame for a large portion of accidents.
When other motorists cause your accident and your injuries, you have a right to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and future long-term care. In addition, if your accident has left you disabled and unable to work, you may also be entitled to compensation for loss of future earnings as well as vocational rehabilitation.
Unfortunately, insurance companies aren’t always willing to adequately compensate injured motorcyclists. They may even unfairly delay or deny your claim. Without legal representation, insurers can play a “take it or leave it” game with an injured victim and withhold compensation to which the injured motorcyclist is entitled.
When this occurs, you need an experienced Pennsylvania motorcycle accident lawyer on your side. Your attorney will need to build a case that is designed to achieve maximum compensation. Unfortunately, proving fault and negotiating with insurance companies takes a law firm with considerable experience, skills, and resources. As such, you should choose a law firm with the reputation and the capability needed to fight for you and for your rights after a devastating motorcycle accident.
Contact Our Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
If you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle accident, the experienced Pennsylvania motorcycle accident lawyers at McLaughlin & Lauricella, P.C., can help. Our team of lawyers consists of some of the best attorneys in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and we will fight aggressively for you throughout the legal process.
The motorcycle accident attorneys at McLaughlin & Lauricella, P.C., have more than 90 years of experience representing injured accident victims and their families across Philadelphia, Berks, Bucks, Dauphin, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Luzerne, Montgomery, and Northampton Counties. We are also proud to serve injured accident victims throughout the State of New Jersey. Contact us today toll-free at 1-855-633-6251 or fill out our confidential contact form to learn more about your legal options.