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Costs of a motorcycle accident with and without a helmet

You're 25 years old, you've taken your motorcycle safety courses, and you've been riding for four years. Under Pennsylvania law, that means you don't have to wear a helmet. You meet all of the criteria and can leave the helmet at home if you want.

But should you? Studies have looked at the costs of a motorcycle accident, comparing those who were hurt with a helmet and those who didn't have one on. What the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found was striking.

For example, in fatal accidents, the cost for those who were wearing a helmet was $2,758. The cost for those without a helmet was $8,396.

Consider the ramifications

Now, you may be thinking that the costs of a fatal accident don't mean all that much to you, but these are costs you're leaving behind for your family. Maybe you just got married. Maybe you have a young child at home. The cost to your family is significant, and it's far higher if you're killed without a helmet on, due to the type of treatment that has to be provided. That's why it's so crucial for your family to know if they have a right to compensation, even if you're gone.

The trend continues. For those who were sent to a trauma center, one group found that the cost with a helmet was $16,154, while the cost without was a staggering $29,905. Another group found that the cost with a helmet checked in at $17,361, and the cost without was $22,422. Though not all studies provided the same exact result, they were similar.

When the qualifications were changed to simply those who were admitted to a hospital, the same thing was found. Five different groups provided numbers, which were as follows:

With a helmet:


  • $13,368
  • $11,897
  • $14,377
  • $12,698
  • $10,442


Without a helmet:


  • $17,120
  • $18,940
  • $15,578
  • $16,460
  • $30,365


Again, not every study comes up with identical results, but the trends can't be denied. Those riding without helmets face higher costs in every case. In some instances, the costs are nearly three times as high.

A small step (of putting on a helmet) makes a big difference

Finally, one group looked at crashes that ended with the rider in the emergency department, finding that those with a helmet ran up a bill of $5,852, while those without paid $7,208. Another group looked at all crashes, even minor ones, and found that the average cost with a helmet was $10,564, compared to an average of $12,291 without.

In Pennsylvania, at age 25 and with the proper training and experience, you don't have to wear a helmet. That's your right. However, since the costs of injury can be so much higher, it's important that you and your family members know how to seek compensation in case another driver causes an accident and puts you in the hospital 

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