Traumatic Brain Injury Risks in Motorcycle Accidents
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
Motorcycle accidents can cause devastating injuries, including head trauma. In an accident, a motorcyclist is likely to sustain a traumatic brain injury of some type and severity, resulting in high medical bills, lost wages, and potentially even death.
As a motorcyclist, you need to be aware of these involved risks. The risk of suffering traumatic brain injuries (TBI) is always present every time you ride. After a bad accident, you can improve your chances of receiving compensation by contacting a personal injury lawyer specializing in motorcycle accident law.
What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, occurs as a result of a bump, blow, jolt, shake, or penetration to the head, which disrupts the normal functioning of the brain. TBIs can range in severity, classed as mild, moderate, or severe, and may or may not show symptoms right away.
A mild TBI, like a concussion, is usually minor but can lead to complications with or without a loss of consciousness. With a moderate TBI, the injured motorcyclist loses consciousness for several minutes to a few hours and may experience symptoms of being disoriented or confused. In addition, other physical, cognitive, and behavioral impairments may occur.
Motorcyclists suffering a severe traumatic brain injury often slip into comas, which can last days, weeks, or months.
How are Motorcyclists More at Risk?
Motorcyclists and their passengers run a higher risk of being involved in an accident and sustaining TBIs because of several factors, including:
- Less protection: Unlike those traveling in cars and trucks, the motorcyclist has no protection from a metal frame and protective cushioning.
- Susceptible to various conditions: Motorcyclists are at risk of crashes because of the high number of motor vehicles on the road. It only takes a single inattentive driver to cause an accident. Other conditions, such as poor road repair, potholes, loose pebbles or debris in the roadway, and inclement weather, put you at increased risk for an accident.
Common TBIs After Motorcycle Accidents
Common types of TBIs motorcyclists are at risk for include:
- Concussions: A concussion occurs when a sudden movement of the brain happens. This type of TBI symptoms includes increased pressure in the head, loss of balance or dizziness, ongoing nausea, fatigue, or increasing levels of confusion.
- Contusions: A contusion, or bruising of the brain, often results from a blow to the head. This TBI can be mild or develop into a more serious condition, such as swelling or herniation of the brain. The most common signs of a contusion are slurring of speech, losing balance, and tingling or numbing in the contused area.
- Coup-contrecoup: This type of TBI occurs when the head impacts something, causing injury to two sides of the brain, the impact site, and its opposite side. You most often see these occur in violent motorcycle crashes, and symptoms include loss of consciousness, seizures, memory loss, and bleeding or swelling on the brain.
- Diffuse axonal injury: A diffuse axonal injury is a tear in the brain’s structure, such as fibers in the brain stem, and can occur without an impact. A jarring, shaking, or rapid rotation of the brain within the skull leads to this type of injury. Look for symptoms such as headaches, vomiting, dizziness, and falling into a coma.
- Penetrating brain injury: Also known as an open head injury, this type of TBI is severe and can be life-threatening. Severe complications include difficulty breathing, heavy bleeding, excessive vomiting, and falling into a coma.
Treatment and Recovery
Following a motorcycle crash, it’s essential that accident victims immediately go for a medical evaluation and receive treatment. Symptoms may not appear until many hours or days later, so be prepared to go back to the doctor during this time. You may need physical therapy, rehabilitation services, or long-term care to recover fully.
Some preventive measures can significantly lower your risk of a TBI.
Wear a Motorcycle Helmet
Wearing a helmet is the single best preventive measure motorcycle riders can take to lower the risk of experiencing a serious traumatic brain injury. In Michigan, motorcyclists and their passengers can choose whether to wear one if they meet the following conditions:
- Age 21 or older
- Keep at least $20,000 in first-party medical benefits insurance
- Passage of an approved motorcycle safety course, or hold a motorcycle endorsement for at least two years
State law requires everyone under 21 to wear a US Department of Transportation approved helmet. For those over 21 and meeting the above conditions, the choice is yours.
While it may feel freeing to go without a helmet, it leaves your head unprotected and more susceptible to sustaining life-altering traumatic brain damage.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), helmeted motorcyclists are less likely to suffer head injuries and TBIs than those choosing not to wear one.
Practice Safe Riding
Reduce your risk of injury by riding safely every time you go out. Avoid excessive speeding, swerving, passing, or following too close. Often, motor vehicle drivers have trouble seeing motorcyclists weaving in and out of traffic, leading to high numbers of accidents. Always stay alert and ride defensively, not aggressively.
Even if you follow the rules of the road and practice safe riding practices, accidents are sometimes unavoidable. Another party’s negligence can lead to a crash, causing you extensive injuries. If this happens to you or a family member, consult with an experienced Michigan motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible to get the compensation you deserve.
Contact an Experienced Michigan Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Motorcycle accidents differ from other motor vehicle crashes, and you deserve dedicated legal representation when suffering a TBI as a result. The seasoned and skilled motorcycle accident attorneys at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., will thoroughly review your case and fight for your rights in Michigan. If you’ve suffered any traumatic brain injury in a motorcycle accident, call us today at 866-MICH-LAW and schedule a free consultation.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.