What Happens to the Brain in a Motorcycle Crash?
Motorcycle crash victims often suffer massive, blunt-force trauma from collisions with vehicles or when they land on the pavement after a crash. Riders who strike their heads in these impacts frequently suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI). In this blog post, we explore how that happens, and how an attorney can help motorcycle crash victims seek compensation for a brain injury.
How Traumatic Brain Injury Occurs During a Motorcycle Crash
The human brain floats freely within the skull, surrounded by fluid that offers some cushion and protection for brain tissue in an impact. The soft tissue of the brain, too, can change shape or shift within the skull to some degree without suffering harm. However, those features cannot protect the brain from damage when subjected to the extreme forces involved in a motorcycle crash.
The impact of a crash can cause the brain to twist, deform, or collide with the sides of the skull, damaging brain tissue and nerves. A severe blow can even fracture the skull, putting pressure on the brain and introducing foreign matter into the wound. This damage can cause bruising, bleeding, and tearing of brain tissue, all of which affects the brain’s ability to function.
The initial injuries caused by a motorcycle crash impact can also cause secondary complications that do further damage to the brain. Bleeding and swelling can increase pressure inside the skull, damaging the brain. A disruption of blood flow to the brain can also cause death or severe damage to brain tissue.
Helmet Use: Protecting the Brain Against Motorcycle Crash Impacts
Wearing a helmet provides significant protection against brain injury in a motorcycle crash. Helmets absorb and redistribute the force of impact, which reduces the amount of force transmitted through the brain. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wearing a helmet can help reduce the risk of death in a motorcycle crash by around 37 percent, and shrinks the risk of brain injury in a crash by 69 percent. Wearing a helmet has also been shown to lessen the potential severity of a traumatic brain injury.
Once a helmet has absorbed the force of a crash accident, it has served its purpose and should be replaced, as it may not perform as well in a subsequent crash.
Immediate Signs and Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury
The adrenaline surge that often accompanies an accident, especially one with serious injuries, can make anyone feel disoriented and slightly confused. Intense confusion and disorientation, however, often signal traumatic brain injury. You should suspect traumatic brain injury if, at the scene of the accident, you:
Lose consciousness at any time.
Traumatic brain injury often results in a temporary loss of consciousness. The brain experiences a great deal of force as a result of the trauma suffered in the accident, and it shuts down to protect itself. Even if you only lose consciousness for a few seconds, it could still indicate traumatic brain injury.
Feel dazed and disoriented.
You may not know what to do next after the accident or remember what led to the accident. Should you summon the police? Did you already exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver, or do you still need to take care of that exchange? Who should you call? If you feel out of sorts and have trouble thinking clearly, it could result from traumatic brain injury.
Feel nauseous or vomit.
Nausea and vomiting could indicate a serious head injury, especially following an accident.
Have a severe headache.
If you note symptoms of a headache, you should have a doctor evaluate you to make sure you did not suffer more serious injury than you think.
Have slurred speech or trouble communicating.
Many victims with traumatic brain injury almost appear intoxicated: they seem to have trouble with balance and coordination, and they may slur their words or have trouble getting those words out. If you notice yourself behaving uncharacteristically, including a way that makes you look intoxicated, then it could signal a traumatic brain injury.
Long-Term Impacts of Traumatic Brain Injury
A motorcycle crash TBI can cause long-term motor, cognitive, and emotional impairments. Some crash victims may have to deal with those difficulties for the rest of their lives.
These symptoms can affect many areas of a victim’s life, and can include:
- Long-term and short-term memory impairments;
- Difficulty with focus and concentration;
- Challenges with emotional regulation;
- Extreme reactions to even minor emotional stimuli;
- Mood swings;
- Changes in sleeping patterns; and
- Personality changes.
Motorcycle crash victims who suffer from these long-term symptoms often need assistance in managing their day-to-day lives. Various forms of therapies can help them live with these challenges, but it is not easy. Some brain injury victims withdraw from society and isolate themselves. Many suffer from depression or anxiety. Some even resort to substance abuse to regulate their moods.
Do You Need an Attorney After a Head Injury in a Motorcycle Accident?
Experienced motorcycle crash attorneys work to secure compensation for motorcycle crash victims who suffer TBIs so that their clients can pay for the care and support they need to recover from and manage their brain injury symptoms.
However, attorneys cannot get to work on behalf of motorcycle crash victims who suffer TBIs if those victims, or their loved ones, do not take the all-important first step of seeking legal help. An initial consultation with a skilled motorcycle crash brain injury lawyer is always free of charge, and comes with no obligation to move forward. You have nothing to lose in finding out about your legal rights.
You do, however, have potentially valuable rights to lose by waiting to speak with a motorcycle crash attorney. Your legal rights to compensation for your traumatic brain injury come with an expiration date attached. Do not risk losing those rights by putting off a conversation with a skilled lawyer. Contact an experienced motorcycle crash attorney as soon as possible for a free consultation to learn about your legal rights.