The current law in Texas does not require mandatory helmet use for motorcyclists aged 21 or older. However, as a Fort Worth personal injury and wrongful death lawyer, I strongly urge all motorcyclists (whether novice or experienced riders) to wear a DOT-certified helmet at all times.
Helmets Save Lives
In 2010, there were a total of 429 motorcycle fatalities in Texas according to TxDOT. This figure includes both motorcycle riders and passengers. More than half of those who lost their lives in a traffic wreck were not wearing a helmet (56 percent to be exact). Nationwide, it is estimated by the NHTSA that only 50 percent of bikers wear a helmet. I know from personal experience, that in the Dallas-Fort Worth region the actual number is far lower.
Motorcycle helmets have been carefully developed, designed and constructed to ensure they provide the maximum protection to the wearer in the event of an accident. A study published by the Cochrane Collaboration found that DOT-certified motorcycle helmets typically reduce the risk of a serious head injury by approximately 69 percent. This is an important finding, considering that traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are among the most severe injuries experienced by motorcyclists involved in a collision.
Traumatic Brain Injury Explained
A traumatic brain injury can occur from a non-penetrative blow to the head, which causes damage to the brain, leading to cognitive, physical and emotional deterioration of the victim. The scope and range of traumatic brain injuries is vast. In some case, relatives of TBI victims have reported that the injury victim suffered a complete personality change, became violent or developed suicidal tendencies. In other cases, the traumatic brain injury resulted in paralysis and left the victim in a permanent vegetative state.
Motorcycle Helmets Protect the Brain
Motorcycle helmets are designed primarily to protect the brain in the event of an auto collision and subsequent impact. Although a good helmet cannot prevent the brain from moving about within the skull, it can reduce the force of impact experienced when a motorcyclist’s head hits another vehicle, the concrete pavement, or another stationary object.
Such protection is achieved by distributing the force of impact throughout the helmet. The rigid outer shell (commonly manufactured from fiber-reinforced composites, thermoplastics, Kevlar or carbon fiber) spreads the force throughout the helmet. The inner lining (usually expanded polystyrene) is thick and soft, allowing the head to gently decelerate into it, absorbing the shock and stopping the head from moving.
Of course, there is no guarantee that wearing a helmet will completely prevent an injury from occurring, but experts agree that wearing a helmet will certainly reduce your chances of suffering a serious or even fatal injury.
Recovering Compensation After a Motorcycle Accident
If you or someone you love has been injured in a Dallas-Fort Worth motorcycle accident – regardless of whether or not they were wearing a helmet – it is important that you seek professional legal advice from a board certified Fort Worth personal injury and wrongful death attorney. For a free, no obligation consultation on your case, please call toll free at 800-354-6275 or locally at 817-294-1900.
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