It is common knowledge that motorcycles are less stable and often times less visible than cars and can have high performance capabilities. The lesser stability and lesser visibility on the roads, along with the lesser protection they provide to their riders, put the riders at a high risk of grave injuries in crashes where they are most likely to be seriously injured or even killed. The federal government estimates1 that per mile traveled in 2014, the number of deaths resulting from motorcycle crashes was over 27 times higher than the number of cars.
Motorcycle Helmet Use and Head and Facial Injuries
In 2009, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted a study on motorcycle helmet use and head and facial injuries. This report examined the relationship between motorcycle helmet use and motorcycle crash outcomes in terms of injury types, hospital charges and other variable data. The study found that helmeted motorcyclists were less likely to experience facial and head injuries compared to un-helmeted motorcyclists. Additionally, helmeted motorcyclists were significantly less likely to experience a traumatic brain injury.2
Florida Helmet Laws
Florida Statutes, particularly Title XXIII, Chapter 3163 states that no person may not operate or ride upon a motorcycle “unless the person is properly wearing protective headgear securely fastened upon his or her head which complies with the Federal Motorcycle Vehicle Safety Standard 218 promulgated by the United States Department of Transportation.” This statute further specifies that a person may also not operate a motorcycle “unless that person is also wearing an eye-protective device of a type that is approved by the Department.”
How to Determine Whether a Motorcycle Helmet is Safe
There seem to be many different guidelines on what is making a motorcycle helmet safe. One such measurement is the DOT (Department of Transportation) certification. There is another certification available and it is provided by the Snell organization. Experts generally agree that the DOT certification represents the minimum standards of helmet testing. While the Snell organization’s certifications are more stringent, it is important to be aware that there is no single helmet which protects all riders from all accidents that are possible. However, a certified helmet is usually the safest choice.
Defective Helmets and Resulting Consequences
Defective motorcycle helmets can increase the injury a motorcyclist may sustain in an accident. Considering research results pointing out the safety of riding with motorcycles and most states requiring the use of helmets, it is surprising that 90% of motorcycle fatalities involve a motorcyclist not wearing a helmet. Even for those motorcyclists who carefully consider the type of the helmet and its safety aspects it provides, some helmets leave factories with defects. Often times, a defect in the helmet itself cannot be seen until it has been in an accident. When a helmet fails to perform to the level suggested by the manufacturer or safety regulating agency and a motorcyclist sustains an injury in a collision, the individual or the motorcyclist can possibly pursue a product liability claim against the manufacturer for past and future medical care.
Types of Motorcycle Helmet Defects
In the United States, motorcycle helmet safety is overseen by the Department of Transportation and any malfunctioning equipment is investigated by them. One of the most common helmet defects is helmet ejection, where the helmet does not stay on the rider’s head upon impact. Another common helmet malfunction arises when the helmet is improperly delivered and the outer padding fails to absorb a majority of impact and the inner padding fails to protect the brain from moving too much. Both of these malfunctions can have serious consequences for the motorcyclist. Those consequences can lead to major brain injuries in an accident leading to coma, disability or even death.
Helmet Defect Product Liability Cases
In order to determine whether a defective helmet has contributed to your injuries, it is important to examine the helmet. An early investigation is critical as often times there are certain periods within which a lawsuit must be filed – called the statute of limitations. Often times experts need to be retain so that they can conduct their own testing to determine the exact nature of how the helmet failed to protect you and whether it conformed to the required standards.
Call a St. Petersburg Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today
The experienced products liability attorneys at the Dolman Law Firm can assist you after you have been in a motorcycle accident and can help you determine whether the injuries you suffered have resulted from a defective motorcycle helmet. Please call our St. Petersburg office at (727) 222-6922 for a free consultation today.
Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712