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If you ride a motorcycle, we do not need to tell you the sense of adventure and the fresh perspective that this mode of transportation has to offer. However, for all the fun to be had, there are some very real risks involved with riding a motorcycle on U.S. roadways. According to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 80 percent of all reported motorcycle accidents result in either death or injury to the rider of the motorcycle and/or his or her passengers.
One of the most serious injuries that a motorcyclist can incur in an accident is a traumatic brain injury. Read on for more information about what happens to the brain in a motorcycle crash, how this injury impacts every facet of the injured person’s life, and how you could recover damages related to a brain injury suffered in a motorcycle crash that was the result of someone else’s careless or reckless actions.
Motorcycles lack the stability of four-wheel vehicles, as well as the protective features that passenger cars are equipped with, such as a steel frame, seat belts, and airbags. Motorcyclists are almost always ejected from their vehicles, leaving their bodies prone to injuries as it collides with other vehicles, objects, or the ground.
Because of this, motorcycle riders are many times more likely to become injured or die in an accident than the occupants of passenger cars and other types of automobiles. One of the most common serious injuries that can be sustained by a motorcyclist in an accident is a traumatic brain injury.
As explained by Mayo Clinic, a traumatic brain injury often results from a violent blow or jolt to the head or body. This can occur during a motorcycle accident. Some traumatic brain injuries—closed head injuries—involve damage within the skull. Traumatic brain injuries that involve an object penetrating the hard shell of the skull and entering the brain tissues are called open or penetrating head injuries.
While traumatic brain injuries are categorized as mild, moderate, or severe based on the severity of the damage and the person’s level of consciousness at the time of diagnosis, there is nothing “mild” about a brain injury. Even concussions, which are considered “mild” traumatic brain injuries, can result in permanent damage such as memory loss or chronic pain—“mild” doesn’t refer to long-term consequences, just the initial presentation of symptoms, and is sometimes a misleading adjective. No two brain injuries are alike, meaning that it is often difficult to determine the damage early after the injury occurs.
The brain is one of the most important organs of the body, as it is responsible for all of the body’s voluntary and involuntary responses. As important as it is, the brain has very little ability to heal after sustaining damage.
This is the reason why brain injuries typically produce permanent deficits, which can include:
Traumatic brain injuries can produce severe complications, particularly early in treatment. This is why much of the early treatment after a brain injury consists of discovering and treating complications that can impair an individual’s ability to breathe and can cause increased damage to the brain.
Some of the common complications experienced after a traumatic brain injury, that was the result of a motorcycle crash, include:
Because of the permanent deficits that are caused by a brain injury, as well as the high risk of complications, this is the type of injury that causes widespread impacts to nearly every facet of an individual’s life.
Some of those impacts include:
About 1.7 million people sustain a brain injury each year, and many of these will require medical treatment for the rest of their lives as a result. Unfortunately, medically treating a brain injury is not an inexpensive proposition. Medical costs from treating a traumatic brain injury range between $85,000 to $3 million. Add the high cost with treatment to the inability of many brain injured individuals to return to work after the injury, and the statistics on homelessness begin to make sense.
Recent studies indicate that 53 percent of the homeless population in the U.S. is living with a brain injury. For some, the injury was a result of the often dangerous conditions homelessness presents. However, for others, the brain injury and its related impacts were the catalysts for homelessness.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the economic cost of treating brain injured individuals comes with an annual societal price tag of $76.5 billion. Approximately 90 percent of those costs are related to the treatment of the most severely injured individuals—those whose injuries result in extensive hospitalization or death.
The use of Department of Transportation-approved motorcycle helmets is the single method of preventing traumatic brain injuries from motorcycle accidents. Currently, motorcycle helmets are preventing $17 billion in societal harm each year, and another $8 billion would be spared if there were universal helmet laws, according to the safety advocacy organization, Safe Roads.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that, in a single year, helmets have saved the lives of more than 1,800 people. Motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of suffering a traumatic brain injury in a motorcycle crash by 69 percent, and reduce the risk of death by 42 percent.
If you or your loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of an accident that someone else’s careless or reckless actions caused, you could prove that someone else was responsible for the injury, expenses, and life impacts through a motorcycle accident lawsuit and recover damages related to your injury.
To show that someone else was liable for your accident, you must prove:
Some of the damages you might recover after a brain injury sustained in a motorcycle crash include:
Do you have questions about a brain injury after a motorcycle accident? Let a brain injury lawyer help you understand your legal options for recovering damages after your motorcycle accident. Set up a free case evaluation with a brain injury attorney today.
Gomez Trial Attorneys
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San Diego, CA 92101
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