The most common motorcycle-related head injuries are concussions, cerebral contusions, coup-contrecoup injuries, epidural hematomas, and subdural hematomas. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are more than 25 times as likely to die in a traffic accident as ordinary motorists.
Why Motorcyclists Die So Often
The reason for this grim statistic is obvious when you consider that nearly 90 percent of riders who are killed in motorbike accidents die from head injuries suffered when they are ejected from their motorcycle. Almost none of these victims were wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.
This is where the statistics relating to helmet laws come in. In states where all riders are required to wear helmets, the helmet usage rate is nearly 90 percent. In states without such laws, the helmet usage rate barely broke 90 percent. That adds up to a lot of wasted lives.
Common Injuries: Both Fatal and Non-Fatal
The most common forms of motorcycle crash-related traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are listed below:
- Concussions: A concussion is by far the most common motor vehicle accident-related head injury. Although many concussions are relatively mild, some can cause loss of consciousness and even death. Think of a boxing match, where the object of the game is to cause your opponent a concussion severe enough to cause him to lose consciousness.A second concussion that occurs before a first concussion is fully healed can cause a condition known as second impact syndrome, which is often fatal.
- Cerebral Contusion: This is a fancy medical term that actually means a bruise on the brain. Cerebral contusions are easy to gather evidence for in the event of a personal injury claim, because they show up quite easily on CT scans and MRIs.
- Coup-contrecoup Injury: In this type of traumatic brain injury, an impact on one side of the brain causes an injury on the other side of the brain. The reason for this phenomenon is that the side of the brain opposite the initial impact strikes the inside of the skull, which causes the injury.
- Epidural Hematoma: Epidural hematoma is bleeding inside the brain, and it is as serious as it sounds. You might sustain this injury if you fall from your motorcycle and hit your temple, resulting in a torn meningeal artery. This is an extremely dangerous condition because symptoms don’t always manifest themselves immediately and because the condition is often fatal.
- Subdural Hematoma: A subdural hematoma is an extremely serious brain injury in which multiple brain blood vessels rupture, resulting in massive internal bleeding. This might happen if, say, you are thrown from your motorcycle and your head hits a telephone pole or a tree. Most people do not survive this injury.
Although most TBI victims can eventually return to normal lives, ten percent never fully recover. If you suffer a head impact, seek medical treatment immediately, even if you do not feel that you have been seriously injured. Even “mild” symptoms like dizziness and nausea could indicate a serious condition that, if not treated immediately, could result in lifelong impairment.
Failure to seek prompt medical treatment could also damage or even destroy your personal injury claim. For example, if you wait three days to seek medical treatment, the insurance company or your health care provider could assert that your injuries were caused by something that happened to you during those three days, therefore, your injuries are unrelated to the accident.
Common Complications of TBI Caused by a Motorbike Accident
If you are lucky, you will fully recover from your traumatic brain injury. If you are not so lucky, your complications will linger, sometimes for a lifetime. If they are serious enough, they could prevent you from working or enjoying leisure time and even result in your premature death. The following are some of the most common complications of TBI:
- Chronic Pain: Traumatic brain injury can cause the brain to experience difficulty processing the body’s motor and sensory signals, resulting in chronic pain that appears to originate in areas of the body that were not even injured.
- Retrograde and anterograde amnesia: In retrograde amnesia, you lose the ability to remember things that have already happened to you. You may not remember the accident that injured you, for example, and you might not even recognize members of your own family. In anterograde amnesia, by contrast, you lose the ability to form new memories. You might remember every day until the day of your accident with ordinary clarity, but find yourself unable to remember anything that happened since your accident. In other words, for you, every day is the day after the accident. It is also possible to suffer both types of amnesia at the same time.
- Dementia: The term “dementia” refers to a mental disorder in the same category as Alzheimer’s Disease. This condition can not only cause memory loss, but it can also cause you to lose your ability to perform everyday activities such as bathing, dressing, or balancing your checkbook.
If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident that was someone else’s fault, you are entitled to compensation. Even though Iowa is one of only three states that do not require motorcyclists to wear helmets, if you were not wearing one at the time of the accident, your recovery could be drastically reduced. You might even find yourself unable to receive any compensation for neck or head injuries (although you might still be able to claim for a broken arm or “road rash.”)
Keep in mind that, if the victim of a motorbike accident caused by someone else dies in the accident, the following parties can sue for wrongful death:
- The executor/personal representative of the deceased person’s estate;
- The spouse of the victim;
- The children of the victim (whether minors or adults); and/or
- The parents of the victim.
Damages go to the victim’s probate estate, to the close relatives listed above, or both.
303 Legal, P.C., Is Ready to Fight for You
Motorcycle claims, like all other legal claims, are based on evidence. Evidence tends to degrade over time – witness’s memories fade or they move out of town, and even physical evidence deteriorates or gets lost. Meanwhile, the statute of limitations clock is ticking in the background, reducing the time you have available to prepare a viable claim.
Contact 303 Legal, P.C., so that we can investigate your claim, take aggressive action, and help you fight for every dime you are entitled to. Contact us online, call our office directly, or visit our office in Cedar Rapids. We look forward to hearing from you!