Riding a motorcycle can provide a wonderful sense of freedom and excitement. But as a motorcycle rider sharing the road with careless drivers, you also face an increased risk of traumatic brain injury in the event of a collision. Head injuries are among the most common types of motorcycle injuries, and they’re also some of the most devastating and catastrophic.
A traumatic brain injury can affect you for the rest of your life, creating unique challenges for your mental and physical health as well as your financial stability. The good news is that the New York motorcycle accident attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C. are on your side. We have the knowledge and resources to help you pursue the financial compensation you deserve if you suffer a traumatic brain injury in a wreck.
Have you been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury following a motorcycle accident? Discuss your situation with our seasoned New York motorcycle accident attorneys today. Contact Finz & Finz, P.C. for a free case review to explore your legal options with our attentive team.
How Common Are Traumatic Brain Injuries in a Motorcycle Accident?
Motorcycle accidents can be catastrophic events. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that in 2021 alone, 5,932 motorcyclists died in collisions. That amounts to 14 percent of all traffic fatalities in the U.S., even though motorcyclists make up only a tiny fraction of the driving population.
There is a reason New York requires all motorcyclists and their passengers to wear helmets. Helmets save lives and dramatically reduce your risk of a traumatic brain injury. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that helmets reduce the risk of head injury by at least 69 percent. And according to the NHTSA, motorcyclists are far more likely than occupants of passenger vehicles to suffer traumatic brain injuries in collisions.
One study also indicates that head injuries, like traumatic brain injuries, are the most common injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents. According to the same study, head injuries are also the leading cause of death in most motorcycle crashes.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
A traumatic brain injury is an injury that interrupts the normal functioning of the brain. Traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, typically happen when a sudden blow, jolt, or penetrating wound causes damage to the brain. Overall, there are two distinct categories of traumatic brain injury:
- Closed brain injuries – A closed brain injury happens when the brain sustains damage within the skull, usually due to sudden blows or jolts that cause the brain to collide with the interior of the skull wall, resulting in bleeding, swelling, and tissue damage. Most closed brain injuries in motorcycle accidents occur when a rider’s head strikes the pavement, a car, or another object.
- Penetrating brain injuries – A penetrating brain injury occurs when a foreign object penetrates the skull and damages the brain directly. Gunshot wounds are among the most common causes of penetrating brain injuries in the U.S. However, penetrating brain injuries can also occur in motorcycle accidents when flying shrapnel or broken glass flies into a rider’s head, especially if they aren’t wearing a helmet.
Traumatic brain injuries can range from mild to severe. A mild TBI, such as a concussion, might cause temporary symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, confusion, and loss of consciousness that lasts a few seconds or minutes. On the other hand, a moderate or severe TBI can have long-lasting effects, such as chronic cognitive impairments, memory loss, personality changes, and even coma or death.
Types of Motorcycle Accident Brain Injuries
TBIs can vary in type and severity depending on the nature of the accident. Some of the most common types of TBIs that occur in motorcycle accidents include:
- Concussions – Concussions are among the most common types of mild traumatic brain injuries, though concussions can be severe, too. A concussion can cause symptoms like headaches, dizziness, confusion, and loss of consciousness.
- Coup-contrecoup brain injuries – A coup-contrecoup brain injury is technically two injuries. The first (coup) injury occurs during the initial impact when a sharp blow or jolt damages one side of the brain. The second (contrecoup) injury occurs on the opposite side of the brain when it gets knocked into the other side of the skull and collides with the skull wall, causing more damage.
- Diffuse axonal injuries– A diffuse axonal injury is a severe form of TBI that occurs when the brain is shaken or rotated within the skull, causing damage to the delicate nerve fibers (axons) that connect the two hemispheres of the brain. This type of injury can result in long-term cognitive impairments, including vegetative states and permanent brain damage.
- Hypoxic/anoxic brain injuries – When the brain doesn’t receive enough oxygen, cells in the brain begin to die. This process results in a hypoxic brain injury. Cells in the brain can start to die in as little as four minutes when starved of oxygen-rich blood. If the brain receives no oxygen at all, it can result in a similarly problematic condition called an anoxic brain injury.
- Intracranial hematomas – An intracranial hematoma occurs when blood collects in the brain, which can place dangerous pressure on the brain’s soft tissues and interrupt normal functioning.
Signs of Traumatic Brain Injury
The signs and symptoms of a traumatic brain injury can vary depending on the severity of the injury. However, some of the most common symptoms of brain injuries include:
- Changes in appetite or sleeping patterns
- Changes in mood or behavior
- Difficulty concentrating or focusing
- Hearing changes
- Loss of consciousness
- Loss of coordination
- Memory problems
- Muscle weakness
- Slurred speech
- Vision changes
After a motorcycle accident, you should always seek medical attention immediately, even if you don’t think you got hurt. Some signs of concussions or traumatic brain injuries take time to manifest. Prompt medical attention could save your life.
Contact an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
Finz & Finz, P.C. wants to help you recover the compensation you deserve for your financial losses, pain, and suffering if you suffer a TBI in a New York motorcycle wreck. Don’t wait to get the help you need. You can arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with our New York motorcycle accident attorneys today. Contact our office now for more information.