Depending on the activity and situation involved, wearing a helmet may be legally required or recommended. This includes when individuals are riding a motorcycle or bike, playing a high-contact sport, or even working in the construction industry.

Despite the countless recommendations to wear a helmet during these activities, is there actual proof that these helmets do anything to prevent head injuries? In the guide below, our Personal Injury Lawyers will look into this issue and discuss everything you need to know about wearing a helmet and its effectiveness.

Do Helmets Prevent Head Trauma? 

Although no helmet can prevent all concussions, wearing a helmet reduces the risk of a serious brain injury or skull fracture. In fact, according to a study by the National Institutes of Health, bicycle helmets reduced head injuries by approximately 48 percent and severe head trauma by 60 percent. The study also found that using bike helmets reduced traumatic brain injuries by 53 percent and reduced deaths or serious injuries by 34 percent. 

Furthermore, a Reuters study found that wearing helmets helped reduce bicyclists’ risk of severe traumatic brain injury by 52 percent and their risk of death by 44 percent. 

Motorcycle Helmets

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motorcycle helmets can reduce injuries and save lives:

  • In one year, motorcycle helmets saved approximately 1,872 people
  • Almost 749 more lives could have been saved if motorcycle helmets had been worn
  • Every year, the United States could save around $1.5 billion in economic costs, if motorcyclists wore their helmets
  • Motorcycle helmets are 37 percent (riders) and 41 percent (passengers) effective in preventing deaths
  • Motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of riders suffering a head injury by 69 percent

Sport Helmets

According to an American Academy of Neurology study, football helmets:

  • Can decrease traumatic brain injuries by 20 percent
  • Can reduce the risk of skull fractures by 60 to 70 percent
  • Can reduce the risk of focal brain tissue bruising by 70 to 80 percent

While participants generally wear helmets in football, individuals should wear helmets in:

  • Ice skating
  • Rollerblading
  • Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Wakeboarding
  • Horseback riding
  • Rugby
  • Lacrosse

Construction Helmets

Construction workers risk traumatic brain injuries because of their work. For instance, flying or falling objects can strike them, or they can fall from significant heights. 

Construction helmets or hard hats protect workers against cuts, bruises, concussions, and traumatic brain injuries from falling objects, electrical shocks, and impacts from swinging cables. In fact, depending on the type of hard hat used, the gear can reduce the probability of a severe head injury by almost 30 percent. 

Symptoms of a Head Injury

The symptoms you can experience after a head injury will usually depend on the circumstances of the accident.

However, typically the most common symptoms related to these injuries include: 

  • Headaches or severe headaches that do not go away
  • Sensitivity to noise and light
  • Irritability and confusion
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Balance problems
  • Nausea
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Behavior changes
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Repeated nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of short-term memory, such as difficulty remembering the events that led right up to and through the accident or event
  • Slurred speech
  • Difficulty with walking
  • Weakness in one side or area of the body
  • Excessive sweating

Head injuries can also lead to a lifetime of medical treatments, which can cause significant financial hardships for the victim and their whole family. That is why after a head injury accident, consider speaking to an experienced personal injury accident attorney as soon as possible. These lawyers can help determine the total extent of your losses and injuries and fight for the maximum compensation required to ensure you get the medical care you need.

How Does a Helmet Work?

A helmet consists of a sturdy, plastic shell on the outside and foam on the inside. If a person hits their head, this specific material can help scatter the force of the impact, which can reduce the amount of pressure that will be applied to your head and skull. 

The foam’s job is to cushion the blow, while the plastic outer shell allows your head to skid safely across the surface of impact without causing your neck to jerk. Consequently, if you do strike your head, your helmet will take most of the impact, lessening the amount of force that hits your head. 

Different Helmets

There are a variety of helmets to choose from, with many of them being made for different activities that can cause an impact on the head. Yet, while there are all-purpose helmets, it is vital to check the manufacturer’s label to make sure you choose the helmet that is right for the sport or activity you will be partaking in. For instance, football helmets are created to protect the face and head if a player is tackled, while a cycling helmet is designed to protect the skull if a rider falls. Using the wrong helmet can reduce its efficiency in preventing an injury.

Fasten the helmet so it does not fall off your head or move because of an impact.

Helmet Laws

While helmets can prevent serious head injuries and other devastating trauma, bicyclists and motorcyclists may simply decide not to wear them. However, state and municipality laws may require helmets.

Before you forgo a helmet while riding a bike, learn and comply with the law.

Compensation You May Recover After a Head Injury in an Accident

Depending on your head injury accident, you may collect financial damages if another person’s reckless, negligent, or intentional actions caused the accident.

These damages typically include:

Economic Damages

These types of damages are known to have a price tag attached to them and are awarded by the court to make a victim whole again after an accident.

Economic damages frequently include payment for the following losses:

  • Past and present medical expenses for those expenses incurred from the date of the accident, such as costs related to hospitalization, doctor visits, medications, and medical equipment, including ambulatory services
  • Future medical expenses, including further surgeries, follow-up appointments, and therapy
  • Changes to your home to make the home more accessible
  • Lost income and business opportunities
  • Lost future income
  • Repair or replacement of personal property damaged in the accident
  • Funeral and burial expenses.

Non-Economic Damages

These damages do not have a set price attached to them due to their subjective nature.

These non-economic damages include things such as:

  • Pain and suffering.
  • Loss of companionship, which stems from not being able to take part in activities you could do in the past, such as spending time with your spouse or playing with your child 
  • Inconvenience and humiliation resulting from the injuries
  • Disfigurement and scarring
  • Loss of use of a body part or function
  • Mental suffering, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, or anxiety

Additionally, if another person’s egregious actions caused you to suffer these injuries, you might recover punitive damages. The court awards these damages to punish the wrongdoer for their appalling actions and stop others from committing the same act. However, to know which monetary damages may apply to your case, speak with an experienced personal injury accident lawyer as soon as possible. 

Who Can You Hold Liable After a Head Injury Accident?

The party you can hold liable for your head injury accident will usually depend on the facts of the accident, but they might include:

  • Other drivers, motorcyclists, and pedestrians
  • Equipment manufacturers 
  • Property owners

To figure out which parties you can pursue a claim against, discuss the accident with a knowledgeable personal injury accident lawyer. A legal professional can determine what happened and who they can hold responsible for your injuries and damages. 

Does Not Wearing a Helmet Affect Your Ability to Secure Compensation Following a Head Injury

Many victims of a head injury often delay seeking legal help because they worry they will not have a viable head injury claim if they do not wear a helmet at the time of their accident. However, not wearing a helmet should not stop you from being able to file a claim.

While you generally have a stronger chance of recovering maximum compensation for the losses and injuries you suffered in an accident where you were wearing a helmet, that said, nobody asks to suffer head injuries in an accident, no matter if they are wearing a helmet or not. As a result, the choice to wear a helmet should not affect your right to seek compensation if another person’s wrongful or careless actions caused your injuries.

That is why if you suffered extensive brain or head injuries in an accident, even if you did not wear your helmet, discuss the situation with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as you can. A lawyer can review what happened, determine your legal options, and fight for the monetary relief you deserve. 

How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help You After a Brain Injury Accident, Helmet Use Aside?

Steven A. Bagen Attorney for Brain Injury Accident Cases near Gainesville, Florida area
Steven A. Bagen, Brain Injury Accident Lawyer in Gainesville, Florida area

If you or a family member suffered serious head injuries in an accident due to another person’s wrongful actions, regardless if you were wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, you should consider contacting an experienced personal injury attorney immediately. These attorneys can review the circumstances of your accident, figure out if you have the right to claim damages, and take steps to protect your interests. 

Furthermore, your attorneys can:

  • Investigate your accident and gather evidence that can help validate your claim
  • Identify the wrongful parties responsible for your accident and injuries
  • Figure out who should pay your damages
  • Hire experts to substantiate your legal claim, including accident reconstructions specialists and medical professionals
  • Evaluate your losses and determine the amount of compensation you should go after
  • Answer your questions and concerns and advise you on the issues you may face
  • File claims and handle settlement negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf
  • Advise you on whether you should accept or reject a settlement offer
  • Make sure that legal motions are submitted and filed before the statute of limitations expires
  • Head before a judge or jury and fight to obtain a maximum award in your favor, if necessary
  • Collect the money that is owed to you by the other side.

More importantly, when you work with a personal injury attorney, they work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they do not get paid unless you win your case or receive a settlement.

For these reasons, if you have questions about your head injury accident, contact an experienced personal injury accident law firm in Gainesville today for your free case evaluation and find out how they can help you and your case. And remember, if you can, wear a helmet!