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Traumatic Brain Injuries In Motorcycle Accidents

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Jeff Sevey

Motorcycle accidents are a preeminent cause of traumatic brain injuries or TBI. Because of the vulnerable nature of the human body when on a motorcycle, and the nature of many of the crashes, the head is often the first thing to make contact with the pavement or other immovable objects when an accident occurs. For this reason, wearing a helmet while on your motorcycle is critical in keeping you safe, should an accident occur.

At The Sevey Law Firm, we're certainly no strangers to motorcycle accidents and the severe injuries they can deliver. In many cases, the TBIs that do occur are catastrophic and will affect the victim for the rest of their life.

Motorcycle Accident Statistics

Here are some basic nation-wide statistics on motorcycle accidents from 2015 that may surprise you with their numbers:

  • There were over 8.6 million motorcycles on the road in 2015.
  • Nearly 5000 people died due to injuries sustained in motorcycle crashes. This figure is up 8.3% from 2014.
  • Over 88,000 injuries occurred due to motorcycle accidents, down 4.3% from 2014.
  • Motorcyclists were five times more likely to be injured in a crash and were 29 times more likely than car passengers to die in a crash (per vehicle mile traveled).
  • Around 14% of all traffic accident fatalities and 4% of all those injured are motorcyclists.
  • 54% of all motorcyclists that were killed in traffic accidents were aged 40 and over. This number is up 7% from 2005. The average age of motorcyclists killed in a crash in 2015 was 42 years old.
  • A full 27% of motorcyclists involved in a fatal crash had blood alcohol content of 0.08% or more.
  • Motorcyclists aged 35 to 39 had the highest incidence of alcohol involvement at 37%.
  • Motorcyclists riding at night that were involved in traffic accidents were nearly three times more likely to have blood alcohol concentration levels of 0.08% or higher, 42% compared to 13% during the day.
  • The use of motorcycle helmets in 2015 saved 1,772 lived, and are said to be 37% effective in preventing fatal injuries in motorcycle drivers, and 41% effective for passengers of motorcycles.

Motorcyclists clearly have a higher rate of severe injuries - especially head injuries, and when helmets aren't used (and often, even when they are used), the results can be catastrophic in the event of an accident. As we've said, often these injuries carry lifelong repercussions and need lifelong care that makes the victim dependent in a way they simply weren't before the accident occurred. Catastrophic head injuries can result in loss of motor control, cognitive ability, paralysis...even permanent changes in personality.

Brain Injuries from Motorcycle Crashes

When a motorcyclist hits his or her head off the pavement in an accident, it can produce a wide range of injuries, from a minor concussion to severe life-threatening or fatal injuries. Head injuries happen within three specific degrees: mild, moderate, and severe.

A mild TBI results in little or no loss of consciousness, and a moderate TBI results in loss of consciousness from several minutes to a few hours. Other symptoms of a moderate TBI include confusion, inability to remember, cognitive impairments, disorientation, and physical impairment. Depending on how severe the injuries are, the victim may slip into a coma that lasts weeks, or even months. Occasionally, a coma is induced by medical personnel to give the brain time to rest and heal. When this happens, the extent of the injuries is not seen until the victim wakes up.

In the case of traumatic brain injuries, it's often the most basic of functions that end up impaired. Loss of motor functions, bathroom functions, sexual functions, and daily living functions can lead to symptoms of mental disease and depression. It's important to remember to take care of yourself mentally as well as physically, as often these symptoms are simply explained away as part of the TBI, when in fact, they are a separate set of symptoms that require distinctly separate treatment protocols.

What are the Treatments for TBIs?

There is no one set of treatments for traumatic brain injuries. The individual injuries will vary, as will the severity of each of those injuries. Of course, seek out medical treatment any time you’re involved in a car accident. Minor injuries such as minor concussions may only require rest to heal properly. More severe TBIs could require surgery, physical therapy, and cognitive rehabilitation.

Therapy for these injuries can go on for weeks, months, or possibly years. In some cases, no matter how much care and rehabilitation a patient goes through, they are never able to return to life as they knew it before the accident. It's no wonder why traumatic brain injuries are some of the most expensive injuries one can sustain. The cost of care and length of the need for care can easily run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Add to that necessary surgeries, time off of work, and quite possibly not being able to go back to work at all, and you're looking at the potential for financial devastation. And all at a time when your finances should be the least of your worries.

Safe riding, defensive driving, and wearing a helmet are just a few actions that you can take to keep yourself safe when you’re out riding. Wearing a helmet is the number one way to prevent traumatic brain injuries that can occur, and can lessen the chance of catastrophic injury should you become involved in an accident. Always wear your helmet, and always ride as safely as possible when out on your bike.

If you’ve suffered injuries due to a motorcycle accident, we at The Sevey Law Firm would like you to know that we’re here for you. We’ll assess the facts surrounding the accident, your injuries, and your prognosis for the future, and give you a well-educated opinion on the strength of your case. We can help you collect the evidence you’ll need to prove negligence, and we’ll help you navigate the red tape surrounding the insurance companies involved. Contact us for a free, confidential consultation today by calling (916) 788-7100, or by using our contact page.

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