William W. Hurst
Law Office of William W. Hurst, LLC
50 S. Meridian St., Suite 600, Indianapolis, IN 46204
On July 4, 2012, a double fatality Indiana motorcycle accident occurred in Fort Wayne. Six days later a lawsuit was filed by family members of the couple killed against the driver of a car that crossed the center line and crashed into the motorcycle head on. [Read full article here] This is not an uncommon occurrence. It is likely that over 5,000 people will be killed on motorcycles during this past year. Three-fourths of these accidents will be collisions with other vehicles. The failure of motorists to detect and recognize motorcycles in traffic is the predominant cause of motorcycle accidents with almost half of these fatal accidents involving alcohol. In all of these accidents about 50% of the motorcycle riders in the traffic used safety helmets, but only 40% of the accidents involved motorcycle riders who were wearing helmets at the time of the accident and it is well known that the most deadly injuries in motorcycle accidents were injuries to the head.
The use of a safety helmet is the single most critical factor in the prevention and reduction of brain injuries. A safety helmet that complies with FMVSS 218 is an effective injury countermeasure. This statute provides a high level of protection in traffic accidents and needs modification only to increase coverage of the back of the head. These helmeted riders and passengers show significantly lower head and spinal injury for all types of injuries at all levels of severity. Those in the group of people who do not wear helmets claim that the helmets were uncomfortable and inconvenient but 53% simply had no expectation of an accident involvement [continue reading about these statistics here].
Motorcycle helmet use laws are characterized by change. In 1967 to increase motorcycle helmet use the Federal government required the states to enact helmet use laws in order to qualify for certain Federal safety programs and highway construction bonds. This incentive worked and by the early 1970s almost all states had universal motorcycle helmet laws. However, the states began to repeal these laws with Michigan being the first in 1968. Then began a pattern of repeal, re-enactment, and amendment of motorcycle laws. In 1976 states successfully lobbied Congress to stop the Department of Transportation from assessing financial penalties on States without helmet laws. Often these helmet laws apply only to young riders. There is no motorcycle helmet law in three states (Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire). There are laws requiring only some motorcyclists to wear a helmet in about 28 States. 19 States and the District of Columbia do require motorcyclists to wear a helmet. For a comprehensive list of the helmet laws state by state see The Governor’s Highway Safety Association . The Center for Disease Control and Prevention studies indicate that helmet laws do save lives and money. Their studies show that States with a universal law save eight times more riders’ lives per 100,000 motor vehicle registrations each year compared to States without a helmet law. These states also save three times more riders’ lives per 100,000 motorcycle registrations each year compared to States with a partial helmet law. Economic costs saved in States with universal helmet laws were on the average nearly four times greater per registered motorcycle than in states without such a law.
In a recent press release the CDC indicates the annual cost saved from helmet use in terms of medical, productivity and other costs ranges from a high of $394 million in California which has a universal helmet law, to a low of $2.6 billion in New Mexico which has a partial law. Partial helmet laws require that only certain riders, such as those under 21, wear a helmet. The CDC Director, Thomas Frieden, M.D., stated that increasing motorcycle helmet use can save lives and money. He feels that another $1.4 billion could have been saved if all riders had worn helmets. The CDC is also releasing an updated version of Motorcycle Safety, How to Save Lives and Save Money, is designed to convey information based on motorcycle safety in an easy to use format here .
No matter how cautious a bike or motorcycle rider may be, sometimes an accident happens. The more serious the injury the more likely a lawsuit will be necessary to receive fair compensation. These cases often go on for a long time and injured victims and their families may have to struggle financially during this period of time. Motorcycle accidents are among the most serious of all motor vehicle accidents. Motorcyclists have the same rights and privileges as any other driver. However, when an accident does happen it is very important that the injured party and their family contact an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer. These claims are often complex, may involve a products liability issue with regard to the motorcycle, road design issues and there may be a need for experts to immediately reconstruct the accident. Lawyers in our office handle motorcycle accidents in the Midwest, and particularly throughout the State of Indiana. We have been working with the victims of motorcycle crashes for over three decades.
If you have suffered an injury such as a traumatic brain injury, spine injury, road rash or amputation, you can contact and experienced Attorney at 1-800-636-0808, or use our Contact form today and see our websites at www.https://billhurst.com/m and www.Indianapolisabogado.com. We never take a fee unless we win you money!
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