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Helmets, while important, cannot prevent all injuries for motorcyclists

A Florida man is facing criminal charges following a motorcycle accident that left a 47-year-old Cocoa man with critical injuries. The accident took place last Wednesday morning when a 1999 Dodge sport utility vehicle collided with a 2000 Kawasaki motorcycle. The motorcycle rider had been wearing a helmet, but this didn't save him from sustaining serious injuries, even if it did save his life.

The driver of the SUV, a 51-year-old man from Cocoa, was injured, but reportedly not taken to a hospital. He is now facing possible charges in the case, though sources didn't detail any of the specifics.

There is no doubt that motorcycle helmets help riders to stay safe. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, helmeted motorcyclists are less likely to experience facial and head injuries compared to unhelmeted motorcyclists, and are significantly less likely to experience a traumatic brain injury.

Traumatic brain injuries, of course, are life altering events that can leave victims with astronomical medical costs. Motorcyclists who suffer traumatic brain injuries are much less likely to be discharged home and more likely to require extensive rehabilitation or to be discharged to a long-term care facility following hospitalization. Obviously, costs add up quickly in these situations. When alcohol or excessive speed is involved in a crash, motorcyclists have higher odds of experiencing poor outcomes in terms of recovery.

All that said, helmets cannot prevent all injury or even death, and motorcyclists may still be left with significant costs after a crash. In such situations, the best course of action may be to seek legal recovery from any responsible parties.

Source: Florida Today, "Charges pending in Cocoa motorcycle wreck," Stacey Barchenger, January 31, 2013

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