When a motorcycle accident takes place in a state like Florida, where helmet use is optional, the severity of head injuries is likely to be greater than in states that require helmets as protection. In Florida where helmet laws were repealed, serious injuries and deaths due to traumatic brain injury have increased considerably. However, helmets do not protect against all traumatic brain injuries.
Regardless of the helmet laws of a particular state, wearing a helmet is the best protection against death due to head trauma. Anyone involved in a motorcycle crash should always seek medical attention immediately even if there are no signs of a head injury. Some brain injuries take days or even weeks to display apparent symptoms. A concussion left undetected is vulnerable to a second injury that can be severe. After seeking proper medical diagnoses and treatment consult a motorcycle brain injury attorney if any degree of trauma has occurred.
Since the passage of the helmet laws in many states, serious brain injuries have declined. At the same time motorcycle brain injury accidents in general have increased due to more riders on heavily traveled roads. In Florida, motorcycles are ridden year round also, leading to a higher than average annual accident rate. Wearing a helmet may reduce the severity of a head injury in the majority of crashes but serious injuries to the brain can and do still occur.
There are several types of traumatic brain injuries that can be sustained in a motorcycle crash. These can occur while wearing a helmet but limited in severity in many case. Without the protection of a helmet, penetrating brain injuries are far more likely as are skull fractures. However non- penetrating injuries account for the majority of brain trauma to motorcycle riders. These may be:
- Concussion – Bruising of the brain tissues after a high speed impact will occur even if a helmet is in place. Concussions can have symptoms including dizziness, headaches, nausea, or even permanent speech impairment. A concussion may not show symptoms immediately.
- Countercoup – This is often referred to as shaken brain syndrome and happens when the brain is shaken within the skull. An ejected motorcycle rider may tumble for a long distance at high speed incurring this type of serious injury. Helmets have little protection against shaken brain syndrome.
- Hematoma – When blood forms a clot between the bony skull and the brain it is referred to as an epidural hematoma. When a blood clot forms in the brain tissues, it is a subdural hematoma. The importance of seeing a medical expert immediately after a jarring blow to the head is critical. Hematomas may not show symptoms for days or weeks and severe brain damage and even death can occur. Surgery is required for all hematoma injuries.
- Traumatic Brain Injury from Rotation – When the brain is forced to rotate within the skull, the bony ridges produce lacerations. This can not only lead to subdural hematoma but diffuse axonal injury. This is an injury that is spread over a wide area and is not treated with surgery. Rotational traumatic brain injuries causing, diffuse axonal injury, is the most common cause of death in a motorcycle crash. Helmets offer little or no protection as the injuries are caused by sudden angular acceleration or deceleration of the brain.
The aftereffects of a brain injury can range from severe lifelong impairments to mild symptoms that vanish within a few days or weeks. Symptoms may include diminished reasoning or memory, limited motor skills, edema (swelling of the brain), drastic changes in blood pressure, epilepsy, infection and coma.
Should you or anyone you know, be involved in a motorcycle crash, it is imperative that medical attention be attained immediately; even if there are no apparent symptoms of injury. Shock can mask pain and other symptoms and some severe and even life threatening traumatic brain injuries can be asymptomatic. After seeking medical treatment it is also important that you reach out to a motorcycle injury attorney. Even if there was no other vehicle directly involved — you may still have a case. Call Dolman Law right away and speak with an experienced motorcycle injury attorney for an evaluation of your case. You may be entitled to a cash award.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756