Motorcycle accidents are prevalent in the United States, and Ohio is not an exception. In 2019, 5,014 motorcyclists died in traffic crashes involving motorcycles in the U.S. The number accounted for 14 percent of traffic fatalities. Some of these deaths could have been avoided if the motorcyclists and their passengers had worn a helmet.
This article looks at how motorcycle helmets save lives and how failing to wear a headcover affects your compensation claim. If you are a motorcycle crash victim, our Ohio motorcycle accident lawyers can help you get compensation. So, contact us immediately after the occurrence.
How Helmets Save Lives in Motorcycle Accidents
According to the American College of Surgeons (ACS), helmets reduce the risk of death and head injuries in motorcycle collisions. The ACS notes that:
- Unhelmeted motorcyclists are 40 percent more likely than a helmeted rider to sustain a fatal head injury and 15 percent more likely to suffer a non-fatal injury.
- Helmeted motorcycle riders have up to an 85 percent reduced incidence of serious, severe, and critical brain injuries compared with unhelmeted riders.
- Motorcyclists with a brain injury incur average inpatient health care costs that are more than twice the costs incurred by hospitalized motorcyclists without a brain injury.
- When universal helmet use laws are repealed, helmet use decreases, and fatality and serious brain injury rates increase.
A study by the National Institute of Health supports the last point. The study revealed that states with universal helmet laws have lower medical charges and decreased head, facial, and brain injuries rates. Trauma to the brain results from when the head hits the ground after the motorcyclist gets ejected.
The impact could cause a concussion or open skull fracture. Even if the motorcyclist suffers mild head injuries, it might result in loss of consciousness. It could also cause permanent behavioral or cognitive defects. All these are avoidable if the motorcyclist wears a helmet.
A helmet saves lives and prevents head injuries in these three ways:
- First, it prevents direct contact between the skull and the impacting object by creating a mechanical barrier between the object and the head.
- It spreads the force impact over a greater surface area to keep it from concentrating in a particular part of the skull.
- It absorbs the impact energy and reduces the intensity of the force transmitted to the skull and brain.
Does the Helmet Type Matter?
It’s not every helmet that can prevent death or head injuries. For a helmet to perform the three qualities mentioned above, it must be produced with expanded polystyrene (EPS) lining. The lining absorbs the impact to the head. In addition, it is covered with a hard outer shell that cushions the head and reduces trauma.
The helmet must fit snugly on the head, with strong straps to ensure it stays on the head in a crash to get maximum protection. Unfortunately, low-quality helmets do not afford riders the same protection. This is because they contain low-quality foam that is soft and cannot withstand a crash impact.
In addition, their straps break easily, making it easier to fall off the head when a motorcyclist gets ejected. This is why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that motorcyclists use helmets with a valid U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) label. The label means the helmet meets the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards — this is also known as the FMVSS 218 standard.
Does Failure To Wear a Helmet Affect Your Compensation Claim?
Generally, failing to wear a helmet in a motorcycle accident is similar to not wearing a seatbelt in a car accident. In such an instance, the fault party would argue that your head injuries would not have been severe if you had worn a helmet. However, Ohio does not have a universal helmet law.
Only novice motorcyclists and riders below 18 years and their passengers are required to wear a helmet. Consequently, if you are above 18 and fail to wear a helmet, it would not affect your compensation claim. The only way your claim would be affected is if you contributed to the primary cause of the accident. An example is where you indiscriminately weave in and out of traffic, and a distracted driver hits you.
Contact Ohio Auto Accident Lawyers Now!
If you were involved in a motorcycle accident, you could get compensation if you were not at fault. If you contributed to the crash, your compensation would be reduced by the percentage of fault. Whatever the case, our Ohio auto accident attorneys can help you secure maximum compensation. Contact us today for a free case review with one of our attorneys.