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Wearing a Helmet: A Life or Death Decision

Attorney Joe Piscitello holding bike helmet

This is what a great helmet looks like --after it’s been put to the test. The helmet effectively absorbed the impact when Attorney Joe Piscitello crashed and struck his head on the road surface in 2005. Helmets are essential to wear while riding a bike, whether you’re in the suburbs, city, trail or competing. Not only is it a safety precaution, but in some places, it’s the law. In Philadelphia, while adults are not required to wear helmets, all children under the age of 13 are legally required to comply.

The speed at which cyclists travel varies depending on various conditions. However, if you’re going downhill, your speed could go over 20 MPH. If something causes you to crash at that speed, you could either have a collision that is linear, rotational, or both. While skulls are designed to protect our brains, they are separated from direct contact with the gray matter by a thin cover of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The thin layer of CSF may prevent the brain from making direct, hard contact with the skull, which could cause damage. If a helmet isn’t providing a cushion between pavement and skull, you will likely experience at least a fracture if not more extensive damage.

Another important reason to wear a helmet is to assist a legal matter if the crash was caused by the negligence of another person or company. If a car is responsible for dooring you, for example, but you weren’t wearing a helmet, you may not get as much back in compensation. The lawyer defending the person or company responsible for your crash might argue your injuries could have been prevented had you taken the precaution of wearing a helmet. While your injury may have nothing to do with cranial damage, it still may count against you as a lack of caution.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, more than 900 bicyclists were killed in 2013. There were another 494,000 emergency room visits that year because of bicycle related injuries. If you’ve been injured in a biking crash, talk to one of our Philadelphia bicycle crash attorneys. We’re one of the few firms in the region that specialize in representing people injured in cycling crashes. Piscitello Law includes our clients in the decision-making process, so the client’s interest will always be paramount. Our firm also researches the circumstances surrounding the crash to gather relevant data, such as taking photos of the area or using a bike ride combined with a bike-mounted camera to catch video. We also retain relevant expert witnesses if needed, such as engineers with reconstruction backgrounds and expert physicians. Their testimony can connect specific injuries to the mechanics of how they were sustained during the crash. Talk to one of our experienced advocates in a case consultation by calling (215) 372-8768 or filling out our online form with your information. We look forward to hearing from you.

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