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The effectiveness of helmets to prevent accident injuries

As a means to reduce the severity of injuries suffered in a motorcycle crash, helmet laws were enacted in various states across the nation. In West Virginia, universal helmet laws have been in existence since 1971. This means that it is mandatory for all motorcycle riders, including passengers, to wear a helmet while traveling on a motorcycle. Such a law is important because motorcycles are not equipped with the same safety features as other motor vehicles. However, even the use of a helmet does not prevent a rider from suffering motorcycle accident injuries.

While the major purpose of a helmet is to reduce or prevent injuries to the head, face and brain, such injuries could occur even when a helmet is properly used. Despite the evidence that helmets have the ability to reduce severe and fatal injuries, some riders in states that require helmet use fail to comply with these laws. Because of that, a recent study focused on motorcycle crash records and the outcomes based on whether a helmet was worn and whether or not the collision occurred in a state with universal helmet laws.

Based on the results of this study, it was discovered that helmet use was higher in states with universal helmet laws. It was also found that injuries suffered to the head, face and brain were more common in states with partial helmet laws. Lastly, the cost to treat head, face and brain injuries was the lowest in states with universal helmet laws.

Although wearing a helmet does not prevent a motorcycle crash from occurring, it could reduce or even prevent a serious head or brain injury from happening. Nonetheless, when a negligent party causes a motorcycle accident, those harmed in the crash could seek to impose liability on the negligent party. This could help those injured recover compensation for their damages.

Source: National Institutes of Health, "Motorcycle helmet effectiveness in reducing head, face and brain injuries by state and helmet law," Cody S. Olsen et al, March 7, 2016

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