During a motorcycle crash, riders have a much higher risk of suffering an internal head injury due to how exposed they are on the road. While wearing a helmet can help prevent skull fractures and severe brain injuries, riders may still suffer a head injury that requires hospitalization and follow-up care. In rare cases, a head injury from a motorcycle accident can have lasting effects that stay with a person for years or the rest of their life.
Head injury is the leading cause of disabilities and fatalities for motorcycle riders. Know the signs of internal head trauma and seek treatment for injuries after a crash as soon as possible to prevent long-term or life-threatening consequences.
If you or someone you know suffered a head injury in a motorcycle wreck, discuss your claim with an attorney. Doing so may help you recover financial compensation to help cover medical care and other costs.
How Closed-Head Injuries Happen During a Motorcycle Crash
The skull is made of dense bone designed to protect the brain from hits and falls. But the force of a motorcycle accident can turn this defensive structure against itself. At the moment of impact or when a rider falls to the ground, the brain is jostled inside the skull. This banging about can cause bruising, bleeding, and neural tearing of sensitive brain tissue.
If the brain swells or suffers bleeding after an accident, there is nowhere for the increased pressure to go, as the skull cannot expand. This puts the brain in danger of damage spreading to other parts of the brain if not treated in a timely manner.
Signs of a Concussion From a Motorcycle Accident
Traumatic brain injuries are classified as mild, moderate, and severe. Concussions are considered a mild form of traumatic brain injury (mTBI). The difference between a mild concussion and a moderate concussion is whether there was prolonged loss of consciousness. For a mild concussion, many sufferers never lose consciousness.
It is easy for symptoms of a concussion to be overlooked after a crash. If you feel something is wrong or off after a motorcycle wreck, do not hesitate to seek medical care.
Mild Concussion Symptoms
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Dizziness or balance problems
- Feeling tired or lacking energy
- Nausea or vomiting
- Vision problems
- Difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly
- Feeling foggy or groggy
- Problems with memory
- Anxiety, irritability, or feeling more emotional or sad
- Sleeping more or less than usual
Moderate Concussion Symptoms
A mid-grade concussion means there was a loss of consciousness for at least several minutes. Symptoms resemble those of a mild concussion, but they tend to be more severe and last longer.
Severe Concussion Symptoms
A person is considered to have suffered a severe concussion if they lose consciousness for more than five minutes. Concussion symptoms will often last for weeks or months, and there is a risk of permanent brain damage.
Note that symptoms of a concussion after a motorcycle accident can vary from person to person. Regardless of your symptoms, you should be evaluated by a doctor who specializes in head injuries before returning to normal activities.
Brain Swelling Symptoms After a Motorcycle Accident
Brain swelling, also known as cerebral edema or intracranial pressure (ICP), increases pressure inside the skull. The pressure eventually can prevent oxygen from reaching the affected portions of the brain and prevent other fluids from leaving, causing neural cell damage or death.
Symptoms of brain swelling may include:
- Inability to walk
- Irregular breathing
- Loss of consciousness
- Memory loss
- Nausea or vomiting
- Neck pain or stiffness
- Slurred speech
- Vision loss or changes
Can You Still Get a Concussion With a Helmet On?
Yes. Motorcycle helmets cannot completely eliminate the risk of receiving a concussion. A helmet’s purpose is to protect the rider from severe head trauma that could lead to severe brain damage and death. Being involved in a motorcycle accident without a helmet puts the rider at significant risk of permanent effects or loss of life.
Treatment for a Head Injury After a Motorcycle Accident
Treatment for concussion or brain swelling will depend on the severity of the injury. For mild concussions, rest and medication may be required for several weeks. Moderate and severe cases may involve surgery, cognitive rehabilitation, physical therapy, and counseling.
Both concussions and brain swelling involve common tests to detect, including head and neck exams, neurological exams, CT scans or MRIs, and blood tests. Prompt treatment usually results in a quicker and better recovery. Delaying medical care could allow some damage to become permanent.
Treatment for brain swelling often involves hyperbaric oxygen therapy and IV fluids to help ensure the brain is receiving the correct amount of oxygen and that a patient’s blood pressure doesn’t drop too low. Medication may be prescribed to relieve the swelling. In severe cases, a surgeon will need to perform a ventriculostomy (cut a small hole in the skull and insert a drain tube), decompressive craniectomy (remove part of the skull to relieve pressure), or repair a damaged artery or vein.
Therapeutic treatment for a concussion may be needed for months or years. A person with a severe concussion may never return to the level of health they had prior to the motorcycle accident.
Discuss Your Motorcycle Accident Case With an Attorney
One of the reasons it is important to consult a motorcycle accident lawyer about your case is to consider not only the emergency medical treatment costs incurred by the accident but future treatment costs. Medical care for traumatic brain injuries can run into the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. A motorcycle accident victim may also suffer permanent damage that alters their lifestyle or ability to work.
Our motorcycle accident lawyers are here to listen and help. We know that insurance companies often try to blame riders for crashes to avoid compensating them for their injuries. For a free consultation and peace of mind, contact Gary Martin Hays & Associates today.