What Motorcyclists Should Know About Traumatic Brain Injuries

Motorcycles are fun to ride. But with that excitement comes inherent danger. Statistically, motorcycles are more dangerous than any other vehicle to operate. Their two-wheel design and open structure are less stable, they are harder to see by other drivers on the road and provide less physical protection from flying objects on the road. As a result, riders are more likely to suffer significant injuries or death if they are in an accident while riding. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration accidents involving motorcycles represent a disproportionate amount of all traffic accident deaths. Riders are 26 times more likely to die as a result of their injuries. If riders survive a motorcycle accident one of the most significant injures a rider can get is a (traumatic brain injury) or TBI.

A motorcycle crashed in the road

1. What is a TBI?

One of the more serious injuries sustained by motorcycle riders is a TBI or traumatic brain injury. A TBI is a disruption in the normal function of the brain that usually results from a violent blow or jolt to the head. As a result, motor vehicle collisions are a common cause of traumatic brain injuries. Additionally, a traumatic brain injury can occur when the brain is damaged by a foreign object like a bullet or shattered piece of skull.

The effects of a TBI can range from a temporary effect on your brain cells or a more serious impact including bruising, torn tissues, bleeding and other physical damage that could lead to death. These injuries can have wide-ranging physical and psychological effects. Some signs or symptoms may appear immediately after the accident or in some cases, days or weeks later.

2. What are the types of traumatic brain injuries?

According to the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine TBIs are either closed brain injuries or penetrating brain injuries. Closed brain injuries occur when there is an injury to the head put the skull is not penetrated. These injuries are caused by rapid forward or backward movement or shaking of the brain inside the skull. This shaking causes bruising and tearing of the brain tissue and blood vessels. These types of TBIs are usually caused by vehicle accidents, falls, and even athletic activities.

A penetrating traumatic brain injury is just like it sounds. It is caused when an injury to the head causes an open wound and there is a break in the skull. This break in the skull then causes physical damage or a piercing or tearing of the brain tissue.

3. What are the symptoms of traumatic brain injuries?

The symptoms of a TBI are varied and in most cases related to the severity of the injury to the brain tissue itself. Symptoms can range from a mild headache to sustained period of unconsciousness.

  • A serious headache
  • A possible depression in the skull around the site of the impact
  • Difficulty focusing or concentrating
  • Blurry vision
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Bruising of the eyes
  • Leaking of fluid from the ears
  • Blood behind the eardrum
  • Motor deficits (poor balance, tremors, paralysis, etc.)
  • A potential loss of consciousness
  • Increased irritability
  • Dizziness
  • A rising heart rate or falling blood pressure
  • Memory loss
  • Loss of sight or hearing loss

If not diagnosed quickly these symptoms could progress causing more serious life altering effects. If you are involved in a motorcycle fall or injury your head in some other way, seek medical attention immediately if any of these symptoms appear.

4. Will insurance help me if I get a TBI?

Choosing the right insurance is also a critical part riding a motorcycle. While insurance may not prevent an accident from happening, it will help to reduce some of the financial and emotional impact if an accident occurs. The proper insurance policy will cover damages to your motorcycle, other property damage resulting from the accident, assist with medical bills if you are injured, and financial assistance for you and your family if you are out of work or don't survive the accident.

5. How can I prevent a traumatic brain injury?

Accidents happen and they can't always be avoided. But you can take steps to make reduce your chances of being involved in a motorcycle accident. The proper training, licensing and gear are critical to ensuring that you understand the mechanics of riding, the rules of the road and protect your body. To prevent a traumatic brain injury the best thing you can do is wear a DOT approved helmet and make sure that it fits properly.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wearing a helmet is one of the most effective ways to prevent head injuries like a TBI. Data shows that helmets reduce the risk of death by 37% and the risk of head injury by 69%. In a study of data from 2016 helmets saved almost 2,000 lives. As a result, helmets are required most states. Riders should consider the proper eye protection especially if the motorcycle does not have a windshield.

6. What happens if I am involved in an accident?

Reports show that motorcycle crashes are on the rise. As with any automobile accident the consequences for all involved are potentially life altering and devastating. If you are in an accident contact your local motorcycle personal injury lawyer in Atlanta to get assistance. A professional familiar with the nuances of these complex issues is a great resource to consult in these situations and can help you determine damages, liability, and other factors relevant to the resolution of your matter.

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