A college student recently made headlines for inventing a helmet that may reduce the number of serious injuries and deaths that result from motorcycle accidents. According to a local news report, a 21-year-old student was inspired to design the helmet—called ConTekt—when his friend got into a motorcycle accident. After the crash, his friend couldn’t move and thus couldn’t reach his phone to call for help. The motorcyclist’s position on the highway made him invisible to other motorists, and he lay there injured, unsure of what to do. ConTekt aims to solve this problem; the helmet uses technology to contact 911 the moment that the wearer hits the ground, giving accident victims “a lifeline without risking any injury by moving.”
Uehara is on his way to producing the helmet for retail. Earlier this year, the invention won first prize at the University of Hawaii’s Breakthrough Innovation Challenge. The prize money, $2,000, will help Uehara obtain a patent for the helmet and develop a prototype. A cost analysis led him to predict that the helmet will retail around $700, which is less than the average for a similar quality helmet.
The helmet, once finalized, can help address the dangers that motorcyclists face every day. Motorcyclists are overrepresented in traffic fatalities, and their lack of protection compared to cars and trucks makes them uniquely susceptible to serious injuries when accidents occur. Helmets in general, even without the ability to call 911, can play an important role in protecting motorcyclists’ skulls and brains from traumatic injuries. In fact, Maryland has recognized the importance of helmets, and state law requires helmet use.
Although helmets may protect motorcyclists from injuries, or one day call 911 when an accident occurs, under the law, a plaintiff still cannot be faulted in a personal injury claim for failing to wear one. When a motorcyclist is hit by a negligent driver, for example, his personal injury claim can proceed regardless of whether or not he was wearing a helmet. Maryland courts routinely hold that evidence of helmet non-use is inadmissible in court, since a negligence action generally focuses on the defendant’s actions, instead of the plaintiff’s. Therefore, although Uehara’s helmet may lead to a decrease in injuries, a failure to buy or wear a helmet should not change how an accident victim’s personal injury claim is handled in court, or the damages that they are entitled to receive.
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If you or a loved one has been injured in a Maryland motorcycle accident, you may be struggling to determine whether or not you have a case against a negligent party, or evaluate the evidence that they can use against you. Lebowitz & Mzhen, Personal Injury Lawyers can help. Our attorneys, who help victims injured in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia, have decades of experience navigating complicated personal injury laws and ensuring that our clients receive the compensation that they deserve. When you work with us, you can trust that your case is in good hands. Call now to schedule a free, risk-free consultation at 800-654-1949, or fill out our online form.