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Repeal of motorcycle helmet law results in higher hospital costs

Motorcycle helmet laws have long been a source of controversy. Safety advocates have argued they save lives and lessen injuries. Groups opposed claim they inhibit their ability to hear other vehicles and argue it is their right to choose to wear a helmet. In Georgia, all motorcycle riders are required to wear a helmet. In other states, helmet laws have been enacted, repealed, reenacted and amended. Unlike many states, Georgia's helmet law has remained unchanged since 1969.

Michigan repealed their helmet law in 2012, with only riders younger than 21 being required to wear a helmet. A study by the Highway Loss Data Institute has found that in the last year, hospital costs have increased by 34 percent for motorcycle accidents. According to the report, the average insurance payment on a motorcycle injury claim increased by $1,847 over claims made in the two years prior to the repeal.

Since helmets protect riders from some severe head injuries, the repeal of these laws has been shown to lead to increased incidents of head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries.

In Michigan, the percentage of riders involved in accidents wearing helmets dropped from 98 percent to 74 percent after the repeal. One report indicates motorcycle fatalities nationwide have increased in 14 of the last 15 years

Motorcycle riders who suffer a traumatic brain injury may require lifetime medical care and most states where helmet laws have been repealed or weakened have not increased insurance coverage requirements to adequately compensate these severely injured riders.

After an accident, an attorney can help you obtain the compensation you need to recover from your injuries. 

Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution, "Study: Helmet law weakened, motorcycle injuries up," Joan Lowy, Associated Press, May 30, 2013