Motorcyclists love the open roads and scenic beauty of Nevada. However, many bikers get seriously injured or killed in accidents involving motorcycles every year. Motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to die in a traffic accident than people in cars and trucks. The Nevada Department of Transportation reports that there were 218 motorcycle-involved accidents which resulted in serious injuries, including 54 deaths, in 2017. Most of these happened in the Reno and Las Vegas areas.
According to the Brain Injury Association of Nevada, every 23 seconds, one person in the United States sustains a traumatic brain injury. A brain injury, sometimes called a traumatic brain injury (TBI), occurs when the normal function of the brain is disrupted “by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or penetrating head injury.”
The severity of damage to the brain after an injury is the primary factor in predicting the injury’s impact on the individual. Brain injury is typically categorized as mild (as in a concussion), moderate (an injury resulting in unconsciousness for 20 minutes to six hours), or severe (which may lead to coma, permanent disability, or death).
Why Are Motorcyclists at High Risk for Brain Injuries?
More than 80 percent of all motorcycle crashes result in injury or death. Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable because they lack protection in a crash. Motorcycles are also more unstable than four-wheeled vehicles, and thus pose a higher risk of loss of control and collision.
Motorcyclists run a high risk of brain injury in an accident. The crash typically throws the biker from the motorcycle onto the ground or against an object. Motorcyclists have a four times higher risk of suffering injuries in an accident than other types of motorists; head injuries, in particular, are the leading cause of disability or fatality in motorcycle accidents.
Recognizing a Brain Injury After a Motorcycle Accident
It is sometimes difficult to recognize the signs of a brain injury right away. Many people assume that if they do not have an open wound, they are not injured. However, the physical, cognitive, and motor impairments of a brain injury can take hours or even days to emerge, and can last for months, years, or a lifetime. That is why it is critically important for any biker who gets into a wreck to seek medical attention immediately. Without proper medical care, bikers risk contending with a host of serious health complications and functional disabilities.
Short-Term Effects of Brain Injury
The short-term effects of a traumatic brain injury may seem minor at first, but even if you were lucky enough to walk away from a motorcycle accident, you still might have suffered a significant brain injury.
Symptoms may not appear for days or weeks, and may include:
- Headache, especially one that is persistent or worsening
- Feeling weak.
- Numbness in your hands, legs, fingers, or toes.
- Trouble with coordination or balance
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Trouble with speech, especially slurring.
The long-term effects of TBI vary widely between patients, depending on the severity of the injury, which part of the brain sustains damage, and on a wide variety of secondary factors that can affect a victim’s ability to recover.
Here are a few symptoms to watch for.
- Physical. The physical effects of a brain injury may become more severe over time. Some patients experience seizures, vision or hearing loss, and sensitivity to light and sound. These may include loss of stamina or disruptions to sleeping patterns.
- Psychological. Like the physical consequences, the long-term psychological consequences of a brain injury can affect your quality of life. Many people experience depression, anxiety, and psychiatric disorders. Many victims also have a much higher suicide risk.
Seek treatment for physical as well as mental symptoms. In minor head injury cases, the doctor may prescribe rest and medication. In more severe brain injury cases, the patient might require long-term rehabilitative therapy or even surgery. Treatment may continue for months or even years. The cost of treatment and care following a brain injury can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars in some cases.
The Financial Impact of a Brain Injury
Caring for a brain injury victim can place a large financial burden on the injured person and his or her family. Economic costs you might face after a brain injury from a motorcycle accident include:
- Medical expenses. Medical costs may include emergency services, hospitalization, ongoing doctor visits, diagnostic imaging, and in some cases, surgery.
- Rehabilitation expenses. With the loss of brain function, the injured person may need treatment from specialists, such as physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, and behavioral therapists.
- Long-term care. Depending on the extent of the brain injury, a victim might require nursing care for weeks, months, years, or indefinitely. After release from the hospital, victims often need in-home nursing care.
- Home modifications. To provide a safe and livable environment for the injured person, the family may need to provide special modifications, such as a ramp, grab bars, a level access shower, home automation, wider doors, and alarms. These modifications can make the home livable for the victim, but they are very expensive.
- Replacement services. Brain injured people may find themselves unable to perform routine tasks. The family may need to hire outside help to provide services such as cleaning, lawn care, grocery shopping, meal delivery, and childcare.
- Lost wages. Motorcyclists suffering from a brain injury are often unable to work. In some cases, the injured person may never be able to return to work. Lost wages and the loss of future income can exact one of the most devastating financial impacts for brain injury victims and their families. Although disability payments might help, they rarely replace a full income.
Facing the Consequences of a Brain Injury From a Motorcycle Accident
If you have suffered a brain injury from a motorcycle accident, you may have the right to take legal action seeking compensation for your injury and losses. To learn about your rights, contact an experienced motorcycle accident injury attorney today.
Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC
626 S 10th St
Las Vegas, NV 89101