Although the most common helmet defect claim involves a motorcycle helmet, we have seen an increasing number of accidents involving bicycle and other sports helmets including football, lacrosse, baseball, snowboarding and others. Whatever the sport, the user can and should have a reasonable expectation that a helmet will provide head protection in the event of an impact.
For a motorcycle rider, a helmet is by far the most important and most effective piece of equipment to provide protection in the event of an accident. NHTSA estimates that helmets saved 1,829 motorcyclists’ lives in 2008, and that 823 more could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets. Helmets save lives by reducing the extent of head injuries. But to work effectively, the helmet itself must perform as designed.
Defects can lie within either the design or the manufacture of a product. In helmet cases, defects can vary greatly, but all can lead to potentially fatal results. In terms of design, the shell of the helmet must be able to withstand impact forces. If the shell is too rigid or too thin, there is risk of cracking or shattering on impact. On the helmet’s interior, inadequate lining or padding will impede proper absorption of impact forces, inhibiting the impact forces from dissipating correctly to protect the user. This creates a scenario where, although the user was wearing a helmet and the helmet remained on the head during a crash, traumatic head injuries can still occur.
The helmet is also only as strong as its chin strap. A defect in the retention mechanism could allow the helmet to come off the wearer’s head on or prior to impact, leaving the head fully unprotected.
As Helmet Defect Attorneys, we can help.
If you suspect the helmet you or a loved one was wearing did not provide adequately protection, contact us for a free evaluation of your case. The Didier Law Firm has litigated numerous cases involving motorcycle helmet defects, and we are here to assist you and your clients in evaluating and pursuing a product defect claim.