Motorcycle accidents are one of the leading cause of fatal injuries in the United States. Motorcycle accidents are among the most dangerous of all transportation related injuries Americans sustain every day. This is largely in part because a blow to the skull causes catastrophic trauma. Riding a motorcycle without a helmet exposes riders to grave risks, such as permanent brain damage and fatalities.
What risks do motorcycle accidents pose to the brain?
This article presents a clear picture of motorcycle accident related Traumatic Brain Injury. We’ll discuss the long-term effects of TBI.
First, it’s worth looking at Traumatic Brain Injury as a result of a motorcycle accident. Due to someone else’s negligence, a victim who abides by their state’s laws and takes the proper precautions can still sustain injuries by no fault of their own.
What causes brain trauma during a motorcycle accident?
During motorcycle accidents with TBI, the direct impact to the head causes the brain to move back-and-forth inside the skull. The force of the blow causes bruising, bleeding, and shearing of the brain, resulting in TBI. Traumatic Brain Injuries are classified by severity.
The (3) three levels of TBI:
- Mild: awake with eyes open. Symptoms vary but can include confusion, disorientation, headache, loss of memory and consciousness. Mild TBI occurs when a victim sustains a concussion.
- Moderate: Lethargic with eyes open and responsive to stimulation. Loss of consciousness can occur and last anywhere from 20 minutes to 6 hours. Cranial edema and bleeding of the brain can cause sleepiness. The victim should not sleep with this type of injury. Waking the victim may pose difficulty, but they are not unconscious.
- Severe: Unconsciousness occurs. Eyes will not open no matter the stimulation. Loss of consciousness is usually longer than 6 hours.
What are focal injuries?
When one portion of the brain suffers a TBI due to motorcycle accident, this is a “focal” injury. Focal injuries are serious and pose as much risk to life as an whole brain injury. A focal injury is a life-threatening medical situation requiring immediate medical attention. The victim is at-risk for permanent brain when doctors fail to treat focal injuries.
It’s important to differentiate the (3) three types of focal injury to understand their risks:
- Contusion: “Contusion” is the term medical professionals use for a bruise. A contusion to the brain occurs due to impact to the skull. This is one of two injuries: “coup” or “countercoup”. In a coup injury, the brain is directly under the area of impact. In a countercoup the brain sustains an injury on the opposite side of impact.
- Hematoma is defined by medical professionals as “a solid swelling of clotted blood within the tissues.” A hematoma occurs when a blood vessel within the brain ruptures. The ensuing blood that escapes the bloodstream begins to clot as the body’s natural defense against excessive bleeding.
What are diffuse injuries?
When the entire brain sustains injuries in a motorcycle accident, this injury is “diffuse”. Diffuse injuries are complex. These injuries put the victim is at-risk for permanent brain damage or death.
It’s important to differentiate the three types of diffuse TBI injuries to better understand the risk of each:
- Concussion is a mild form of brain injury that often causes brief loss of consciousness. Under normal circumstances concussions do not cause permanent brain injury. In severe concussions, “post-concussion syndrome” can occur days to weeks following a blow to the head.
- Traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage causes bleeding within the skull around the brain. This space is normally filled with CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) that acts to protect the brain from injury. When the skull suffers blunt force trauma during a motorcycle accident, the space fills with blood. This has long term and wide ranging effects on the victim.
- Diffuse axonal injury is a shearing of the nerve cells within the brain. “DAI” occurs when the brain rapidly moves back and forth within the skull and nerve axons tear. This causes a “shearing” effect. Depending on the level of shearing, substantial changes in consciousness ensue.
What are victims’ rights after a motorcycle accident?
Following a motorcycle accident, victims or their families should seek expert legal advice. After a hit and run, motorcycle, or car accident, victims’ right to justice matters. After a reckless driver causes a motorcycle accident and TBI occurs, victims must seek maximum compensation. For those with permanent pain and suffering after TBI, a Board Certified Personal Injury lawyer can mean there’s a road to recovering quality of life.