We know that folks in the U.S. will always ride motorcycles. We also know that, even when exercising the utmost caution, accidents can and will happen. Riders must be ready when their skill, judgment and plain old good luck aren’t enough. There are many ways to prepare for motorcycle accidents. An important way to make sure that riders are ready for an accident, despite all other precautions, is to wear a helmet.
Helmets are the principal line of defense for a rider who receives a head impact. Human heads are adept at avoiding impact. We can duck, dodge and use other body parts to prevent the impact to the head. Unfortunately, it isn’t always possible to avoid head impact when traveling at highway speeds. The best way to avoid injury or even death when the impact cannot be avoided is to protect the head with a good crash helmet.
Unfortunately, all helmets are not made equally. Some helmets fail to protect riders from foreseeable impacts and provide the fundamental function of protecting the head. These helmets can fail by not having sufficient energy-absorbing capabilities or by failing to stay on the rider throughout the accident. Lawyers in our firm are currently investigating an incident where a helmet came off the rider during a motorcycle crash. That person – a husband and father – died of a head injury in a very low speed foreseeable crash. He had no other injuries except to his head. I wonder how many times this man wore his helmet and never needed it at all. But, the one time when he really needed a helmet, his helmet failed.
The government has requirements for helmets sold in the United States. You can tell many times if the helmet passes the minimum U.S. standards by the familiar DOT sticker. DOT helmets are better than riding bareheaded, but these minimum standards leave considerable room for improvement. One way to determine if your helmet meets a higher safety standard is to look for Snell certification in addition to that provided by the DOT. These higher Snell certification standards provide a much greater level of protection, but they are voluntary for the manufacturers.
Our firm litigates cases involving defects in helmets when they are found to be unreasonably dangerous and fail to perform as the consumer expects. If you have any questions regarding a motorcycle helmet or any helmet, please contact Chris Glover, a lawyer in our firm who handles product liability claims, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Chris.Glover@beasleyallen.com.
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