Study Shows Costs of Insurance Claims After Motorcycle Accidents Rise When Helmet Laws Are Relaxed
June 6, 2013
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In recent years, a safety issue that has become increasingly political is the one that relates to the requirement in the majority of states for motorcyclists to wear helmets when they ride.  Advocacy groups have successfully chipped away at these laws in many jurisdictions, and the foundation of their arguments has generally been that forcing people to wear helmets violates their freedom.  There have also been opinions and some studies offered that show that motorcycle accident injuries and fatalities do not tend to rise when people are not forced to wear helmets.  Some have argued that removing this requirement will make the roads safer, as motorcyclists will be more careful.

One industry that few could ever argue is overtly political in terms of its general policy is the insurance industry.  The insurance industry works with numbers and analyzes them as well as any industry currently in existence.  Its entire revenue and profit models are based on numbers that are related to premiums, risks involved with certain drivers and average cost of claims among other factors.  Given this reality, it should come as no surprise that the insurance industry has been studying the motorcycle helmet issue, with a particular study having recently been completed in Michigan.  The study found that the average cost of a medical claim after a motorcycle accident has risen since the helmet law there was relaxed.

Michigan used to be like most jurisdictions in that motorcycle helmets were required.  However, that law changed last year to only requiring people less than 21 years of age to wear motorcycle helmets while riding.  The Highway Loss Data Institute compared the cost of an average insurance claim after a motorcycle accident before the law changed to after, and it found that before the change, the average claim was $5,410.  After the helmet law was relaxed, the average claim jumped to $7,257, which represents an increase of 34 percent.

Critics of relaxed motorcycle helmet laws are already pointing to this study in support of their argument that people who do not wear them are only asking for more serious injuries if they are involved in a crash.  Critics of this study have stated that there is no data involved that shows how many people specifically were or were not wearing helmets, thereby showing no real correlation between these two numbers.  Regardless, the study has already led to heated debate that is most likely going to continue.

Nevada recently looked at the possibility of repealing its motorcycle helmet law, but that step was not taken.  Hopefully the best solution will come about soon and people in every type of vehicle will be safer on the roads.  Unfortunately, that’s not always how things work out.  If you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle accident that was caused by someone else, contact the Las Vegas injury lawyers at the Sam Harding Law Firm today to schedule a free initial consultation. 

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