Every morning before I begin my day, I scan several newspapers and periodicals for articles that may be of interest to my clients and readers.
Today I came across an article written by Joan Lowy of the Associated Press which was in the Philadelphia Inquirer and was titled “Cycle Crash Health Cost Gauged at $16 Billion”. The article went on to state that the direct cost from death and injuries due to motorcycle accidents were $16 billion in 2010, but that the full costs are likely higher because long term medical expenses are difficult to measure, a government report said.
The motorcycle crash summary article further stated that cyclists are involved in fatal motorcycle accidents at a much higher rate then drivers of other types of vehicles, and are thirty times more likely to die in a traffic crash than passenger car occupants according to a Government Accountability Office report.
In 2010, 82,000 people were injured and 4,502 were killed in motorcycle crashes. The average cost for a fatal crash was estimated at $1.2 million while the cost for injuries range from $2,500 to $1.4 million depending upon the severity.
While the article did not specifically break down what these costs were attributed to, experienced motorcycle accident lawyers would assume, based upon the severity of the accident, that the majority of the money was for medical bills.
The article also did not indicate whether or not these costs included recovery from the responsible party to cover such losses as personal injury damages, wage loss and/or property damage.
This article addresses the current laws which some states have on their books requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets, but did indicate that helmets are the only strategy proven effective in reducing fatalities and injuries. Several studies estimated that helmets reduce the risk of death by as much as 39%, the report said.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has estimated that helmets had saved the lives of 1550 motorcyclists in 2010.
In closing, the article stated that there is strong opposition from motorcycle groups to “universal” helmet laws and only 19 states have them. Another 28 states have “partial” helmet laws that require only some motorcyclists wear helmets – usually those under 21.
Three states have no helmet laws at all – Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire, and finally the article noted that Michigan legislatures recently repealed the helmet requirement for motorcyclists over 21 years of age.