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Why should Michigan require motorcyclists to wear a helmet?

There are differing expert opinions about the type of helmet to wear, but any helmet meeting at least the “entry-level” US DOT standard FMVSS 218 will provide significant protection against head and brain injuries.  There are very many impressive statistics to prove that fact.  But, should society have the right to force you to protect yourself by wearing a helmet or should that be your decision?

There are at least two reasons why a motorcyclist should be able to make his or her own decision.  The first is that some people prefer to have as little government regulation as possible.  Some people may want to feel the wind blowing through their hair unencumbered by a helmet and do not want the government to be able to tell them what to do.  The second is that, right or wrong, some motorcyclists believe that helmets cause injuries.

Numerous studies have shown that helmet use has substantially reduced health insurance costs.  In November 2002, NHTSA reported that a review of 25 motorcycle safety studies of the costs of injuries from motorcycle accidents “…consistently found that helmet use reduced the fatality rate, probability and severity of head injuries, cost of medical treatment, length of hospital stay, necessity for special medical treatments, and probability of long-term disability.  A number of studies examined the question of who pays for medical costs. Only slightly more than half of motorcycle crash victims have private health insurance coverage. For uninsured patients, a majority of medical costs are paid by the government.”  (see Lawrence, B.A.; Max, W.; and Miller, T.R. 2002. Cost of Injuries Resulting from Motorcycle Crashes: A Literature Review. Report no. DOT HS-809-242. Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.)

While these costs are paid by the government, they are really being paid by taxpayers.  In addition to the immediate health costs and long-term costs for future surgeries and rehabilitation, there are many other costs incurred by the government.  If the motorcyclist is unable to work after the accident, unemployment compensation may be paid and when the motorcyclist suffers a long-term injury, Social Security disability payments to the motorcyclist and his or her family will be paid, probably for the remainder of the motorcyclist’s life.  The financial costs upon society for allowing some freedom are significant.

If a motorcyclist had the ability to waive the right to government benefits, it would be difficult to argue that the motorcyclist should be required to wear a helmet.  In absence of the ability to waive one’s right to government benefits, it can easily be argued that no one should have the right to cause such a significant cost to society to experience a minor, although enjoyable, freedom.

What Attorney Kevin Gold Can Do for You

Attorney Kevin Gold’s primary focus is representing people hurt in any kind of accident due to the negligence of another person or corporation.  Because your right to reimbursement for expenses and compensation for your injuries is so important and because there are such short time deadlines, I always provide a free consultation with no obligation.  I will take the time to explain to you what your rights are, in a manner that you can easily understand what needs to be done.  I will also explain to you how I can do all of the work to protect your rights.

Did you know that besides the statute of limitations, there are other short time deadlines which must be met to protect your valuable rights which may expire just days after your accident.  That is why you need to speak to a lawyer immediately after your accident, just to find out your rights.  Call me now to find out what your rights are.  For a free consultation, call 1-800-HURT-911.

We represent people hurt at the workplace or elsewhere while working.  We also represent people hurt in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, train accidents, bicycle and pedestrian accidents, premises accidents such as slip and fall accidents, dog bites, accidents and injuries caused in nursing homes, and any type of accident which has caused you to be injured.

I understand the financial and social impact a significant personal injury can have on your lifestyle and your family and will do everything I can to make your life easier.

After an accident, while you are trying to deal with the pain of your injuries and treating your injuries, you will find yourself having to deal with a substantial amount of forms to fill out and other problems.  For instance, the hospital and your doctors will immediately want to know how they are going to get paid.  You may be wondering how you can be reimbursed for lost wages and how you are going to be able to pay everyday bills and your rent or mortgage.

Not only do we protect your legal rights so that you can obtain reimbursement for all of the losses you suffer, but we do everything we can to reduce your work load and stress while you are being treated for your injuries.

If you, or someone you know has been hurt in an accident, please call me immediately at 1-800-HURT-911 for a FREE telephone, home or hospital conference without obligation.  We will immediately evaluate the facts surrounding your injury and immediately advise you as to what your rights are, how we can protect them, and what you can expect during the course of our representation.

Everyone in our office works as a team to provide our clients with the best possible legal representation and the respect and attention you deserve.

Though it may be overwhelming to think about all of this immediately after your accident, you need to act quickly because, in many cases, claims must usually be filed within a very short amount of time, often just a matter of days.  We are here for you and if you are unable to visit our office we will come to you!

Please call Attorney Kevin Gold, Esq. for a FREE, NO OBLIGATION consultation at 1-800-HURT-911.

Should motorcyclists wear a helmet?

Ben Roethlisberger’s motorcycle accident brought a lot of news coverage to the issue of his failure to wear a helmet.  According to press reports, he was lucky having suffered no brain injury and his jaw did not even have to be wired shut.

With at least four different safety standards for street motorcycle helmets and different expert opinions from engineers, it’s extremely difficult for anyone to decide what kind of helmet to buy.  In fact, some notable experts such as Dr. Harry Hurt have said that the Snell M2000 and M2005 standards are “a little bit excessive.”

It does appear that no matter which helmet you buy, any helmet meeting at least the “entry-level” US DOT standard FMVSS 218 will provide significant protection.  In fact, maybe even better protection than some more expensive helmets.  Dr. Hurt believes that a helmet meeting the Snell standard is too stiff possibly resulting in diffuse brain injuries and he is more interested in reducing the G. forces.

When considering prevention of brain injury, probably the most important part of the helmet is the interior lining which absorbs most of the energy.  When your head hits a hard object like the road or a car, the outside of your helmet stops instantly while your head keeps traveling until slowed by the inner liner and finally stopped by the outside shell of your helmet.  The inner liner made of EPS (expanded polystyrene) absorbs a predictable amount of energy while it crushes, without springing back so your brain doesn’t get bounced back and forth.  An “entry-level” US DOT standard FMVSS 218 helmet will provide this protection.

The Hurt report found, not surprisingly, that the most deadly injuries to the accident victims were injuries to the chest and head.  The report also found that use of a safety helmet which complies with FMVSS 218 is the single most important factor in the prevention of head injury and that no element of accident causation was related to helmet use.  Helmet use did not cause fatigue or any reduction of critical traffic sounds or pre-crash visual field.  Motorcyclists wearing helmets showed significantly lower head and neck injury for all types of injury, at all levels of injury severity and helmeted riders had less neck injuries than riders without helmets.

In short, it appears that wearing any kind of helmet meeting US DOT standard FMVSS 218 is a good idea.  Whether you should be required to do so is another matter.

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