Brain Injury From Motorcycle Accident
Riding a motorcycle comes with inevitable risks. Motorcycle riders enjoy a sense of freedom, a quicker commute, and in many cases, less expensive transportation costs. However, these benefits involve a tradeoff: the inherent risk of injury.
Head injuries are some of the most common outcomes of a motorcycle accident. And with many states still lacking universal helmet laws, motorcycle-related traumatic brain injuries rise yearly.
Did you or a loved one suffer a brain injury from a motorcycle accident? Did someone else’s negligence cause the accident? If so, the personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC are here to help you seek justice from at-fault parties. Contact our motorcycle accident lawyers at (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation.
What Causes Motorcycle Accidents?
Several factors increase the risk of a motorcycle accident, including but not limited to the following:
- Speeding: Driving beyond the speed limit, either by motorcyclists or other vehicle drivers, is a leading cause of road accidents. Speeding reduces a driver’s ability to react to dangerous situations. Plus, it makes it easier for a vehicle to lose control and collide with another object or motorist.
- Distracted Driving: A moment of inattention can easily lead to a dangerous situation, such as when a distracted driver fails to spot a motorcyclist before merging.
- Intoxication: Alcohol is one of the most common causes of traffic accidents. An impaired motorcyclist or driver has less coordination, concentration, balance, and reaction time. Furthermore, intoxicated motorists often have poor judgment, leading to risky driving behaviors.
- Failure to Check Blind Spots: Car drivers often have difficulty spotting motorcyclists on the road due to motorcycles’ small size. Motorcycles are even harder--or sometimes impossible--to see in blind spots. Failing to check one’s blind spots before merging can lead to a motorcycle accident.
- Dangerous Road Conditions: Road hazards (e.g., potholes, debris, uneven roads) and inclement weather require drivers to adjust their speed and driving style. Failure to do so increases the risk of car accidents.
Why Are Motorcyclists at Risk of Head and Brain Injuries?
Motorcyclists have an increased risk of injury--especially head injuries--due to the inevitable nature of motorcycles and riding:
- Motorcycles are smaller. Motorcycles take up less real estate on the road than regular motor vehicles. As a result, they are more challenging to spot and anticipate. This factor, combined with driver inattention, increases a rider’s risk of an accident.
- Lack of protection. Unlike car occupants, motorcyclists don’t have seatbelts, airbags, and cabins that can absorb impact and keep occupants inside the vehicle if an accident occurs. In contrast, motorcyclists are at risk of getting ejected from their rides and absorbing heavy impact.
- Failure to wear helmets. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists wearing helmets are at a reduced risk of sustaining head and brain injuries in an accident.
But despite repeated warnings from experts and a lack of universal motorcycle helmet laws in some states, many riders choose to forgo helmets. A lack of protection on the head significantly increases one’s vulnerability to brain injuries, as the head is susceptible to damage from forces generated in a collision.
How Frequent Are Motorcycle-Related Head Injuries?
According to NHTSA, motorcycle fatalities occurred 26 times more frequently than car occupants in motor vehicle accidents. Brain injuries account for many of these deaths.
Riders with or without a helmet are susceptible to severe brain injuries during motorcycle accidents. However, motorcyclists not wearing a helmet are more likely to suffer fatal injuries than helmeted riders in traffic accidents, according to a 2009 report by NHTSA.
The study also found that motorcycle accident victims with traumatic brain injuries are likelier to die and enter rehab or a long-term care facility following hospitalization.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is usually caused by a violent jolt or blow to the head or sudden deceleration after impact, causing the brain to bounce around the hard interior of the skull. Suffering a brain injury could lead to long-term health consequences, disability, and death.
There are several classifications of TBIs:
- Concussions: A concussion is the most common type of brain injury. Concussions are typically classified as minor brain injuries, often healing quickly and causing no long-term effects. However, a severe concussion may increase the risk of permanent brain damage, especially when left untreated.
- Contusions (Blood Clots): A contusion is a brain bruise indicating bleeding in the brain tissue. Brain injury victims that develop contusions often need surgery to remove blood clots and prevent excess pressure on the brain tissue.
- Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI): Diffuse axonal injuries occur when connecting nerve fibers in the brain tear due to blunt force trauma. DAIs are considered severe injuries because they can interrupt normal brain activities and cause permanent damage, including coma.
- Coup-Contrecoup Injuries: A coup-contrecoup injury occurs when you have bruises on both sides of the brain. As the force of a motorcycle accident forms a contusion upon impact, a second contusion occurs when the brain slams on the other side of the skull.
- Skull Fractures: A skull fracture is any break in the cranial bone, often caused by a significant impact on the skull. Helmeted motorcyclists have a lower risk of skull fractures, but helmets are not 100% injury-proof. Severe fractures can lead to complications, such as brain damage, leaking of cerebrospinal fluid, and seizures.
- Penetration Injuries: Penetration injuries occur when a sharp object enters the skull and goes through the brain. It may also be considered an open head injury, wherein the inner tissue or brain is exposed. Brain injury victims with open head injuries are at an elevated risk of developing infections.
Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms
Mild TBIs are also called concussions and are common in many motorcycle crashes. A mild head injury may lead to minimal symptoms, such as:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Speech problems
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Loss of consciousness for several seconds or minutes
- Mood changes
- Sleep problems
Medical professionals recommend seeking immediate treatment if you suffer a significant blow to the head, even if you feel fine right after. Some brain injury victims don’t realize they are injured until days or weeks later.
Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms
A moderate or severe head injury usually causes easily noticeable symptoms, such as:
- Loss of consciousness from a few minutes to hours
- Repeated nausea or vomiting
- Persistent headaches
- Convulsions or seizures
- Dilation in one or both pupils
- Fluid drainage from the eyes or ears
- Weakness in the toes or fingers
- Loss of coordination or balance
- Memory loss
- Severe confusion, agitation, and other behavioral changes
- Slurred speech
Regardless of severity, motorcycle riders need immediate medical attention after suffering a brain injury. Head injuries can cause severe, long-term health complications or death when left untreated.
Other Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Motorcycle accident victims may also suffer the following common injuries:
- Neck and face injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Road rash
- Soft tissue injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
What Are the Consequences of a Brain Injury?
In mild cases, a motorcycle accident brain injury can lead to temporary symptoms. At the very least, a motorcycle accident victim may suffer mild pain, lose consciousness momentarily, and miss work for a few days or weeks.
Severe motorcycle accidents often lead to significant pain, long-term health consequences (including disability), and substantial economic losses from medical bills and missed work. In worst cases, a motorcycle accident victim with a severe brain injury can become permanently disabled or eventually succumb to their brain injury.
The following are some of the most common consequences of head injuries caused by motorcycle accidents:
- High medical expenses
- Permanent brain damage
- Cognitive challenges (e.g., memory, speech, problem-solving)
- Temporary or permanent disability
- Missed work or school
- Chronic pain
- Mental anguish
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Depression and anxiety
- Personality changes
A brain injury victim could suffer these consequences for life if the damage is severe.
How Do You Recover Financial Compensation for a Motorcycle Accident Brain Injury?
Head injuries are some of the most expensive consequences of motorcycle accidents. Suffering a motorcycle accident brain injury can lead to significant medical bills, extended work leaves (or job loss), loss of future earning potential, and other financial damages that can devastate a household.
If you or a loved one suffered a head injury in a motorcycle accident caused by someone else, you could recover financial compensation from the at-fault party. Your motorcycle accident attorney will help you pursue the following losses:
- Medical Bills: Out-of-pocket costs for TBI-related hospitalization, emergency transportation, surgery, medication, physical therapy, and future medical costs.
- Disability: Mobility aid expenses, nursing home bills, cognitive rehabilitation costs, and other associated damages if you become disabled from your brain injury in a motorcycle accident.
- Lost Income: Salaries, wages, job benefits, or business revenue lost while recovering from your brain injury or caring for an injured loved one.
- Loss of Quality of Life: Financial compensation for quality or enjoyment of life lost due to the effects of your brain injury.
- Pain and Suffering: Financial compensation for physical and emotional harm caused by the accident, including physical pain, emotional trauma, mental anguish, etc.
- Property Damage: Repair or replacement costs for personal belongings lost or damaged in the motorcycle accident.
- Wrongful Death: Funeral and burial expenses, loss of financial support, pre-death medical bills, and other related damages if your loved one dies in a motorcycle accident.
Brain injury victims receive varying settlement amounts depending on the severity of their injuries. Your lawyer will help you calculate how much you deserve in compensation.
Who is Liable For Your Brain Injury?
The first step to filing a personal injury claim is determining who was responsible for your motorcycle crash. The primary defendant in your case may be one or more of the following:
- A passenger vehicle driver
- A truck driver
- Other motorcycle riders
- A pedestrian
- The local government
Your motorcycle accident brain injury lawyer will identify who should be responsible for your losses and establish their negligence.
How Do You Prove Negligence?
It can be challenging to prove negligence in a motorcycle crash, which is why you need substantial proof to establish the defendant’s fault. Your lawyer will help you gather solid forms of evidence, such as:
- Police reports
- Surveillance footage
- Documentation of the accident scene
- Medical records
- Photos of injuries
- Witness accounts
- Expert testimony
The Importance of Wearing a Helmet
Helmets help protect riders against severe brain injuries caused by motorcycle accidents. In many cases, motorcycle helmets have saved riders from instantaneous death.
Wearing a helmet helps absorb some of the impact and prevent a severe TBI, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although motorcycle accident victims may still suffer head injuries, the consequences are not as critical as injuries in non-helmeted motorcyclists.
That said, wearing a helmet can save you from suffering a brain injury in an accident. Don’t ride without it, even if your state has no universal helmet laws.
Discuss Your Motorcycle Accident Brain Injury Case With an Experienced Lawyer
Motorcycle accidents often lead to significant injuries as riders have minimal protection against generated forces. Unfortunately, many of these collisions lead to severe brain injuries.
If you or a loved one suffered a brain injury in a motorcycle accident, the attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC are here to help. Our personal injury team assists TBI victims through the legal process, ensuring they receive fair financial compensation for their losses.
Contact our motorcycle accident attorneys at (888) 424-5757 or use the contact form for a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team will remain private under an attorney-client relationship.
Our lawyers handle all accepted motorcycle accident brain injury cases on a contingency fee basis. This agreement ensures you don’t have to pay our legal fees unless we win your case.