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The Costs of Motorcycle Accidents: Financial and Emotional

Last week we posted a blog about the importance of sharing the road with motorcycles, especially during national Motorcycle Safety Awareness month. Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents often have tragic consequences - resulting in life-long injuries or even death.

In Texas, the number of motorcycle fatalities has continued to increase. Between 1998 and 2008 the number of motorcycle deaths in Texas each year has more than tripled, from 153 to 535.

And each motorcycle accident results in a number of costs.

The most common type of motorcycle accident costs are medical: hospital bills, emergency response bills, rehabilitation costs. Medical expenses tend to be up to three times greater for motorcyclists injured while not wearing a helmet. While most medical costs accidents are not actually paid out of pocket by motorcyclists, they still pose a significant cost to the government, private insurers and taxpayers generally.

In addition to medical costs, there are also often costs associated with loss wages and earning power. If recovery is lengthy, then a victim may not be able to work and will lose wages. If the motorcycle accident results in a permanent disability, then victims will potentially face a lifetime of lower earnings. Depending on the circumstances, the cost of lost wages could be even greater than the cost of medical treatment, particularly when figured out over the victim's lifetime.

Not all costs associated with motorcycle accidents are easily quantifiable. Serious accidents take a toll on the victims and their families emotionally, as well. Motorcycle accidents that result in a lengthy recovery, permanent disability or prolonged pain and suffering will contribute to a decrease in the victim's quality of life. According to studies, the impact motorcycle accidents have on the rider's quality of life typically represents about 63 percent of the total costs.

While motorcycle accidents cannot be completely avoided, motorists can help prevent tragic accidents from happening by watching out for each other and sharing the road.

Related resource: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Costs of Injuries Resulting from Motorcycle Crashes: A Literature Review."

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