Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Risk in Motorcycle Accidents

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Risk in Motorcycle Accidents

The great danger in motorcycle accidents, even minor wrecks where a motorcyclist may not feel the need for medical treatment, is that the motorcycle rider has suffered a blow to their head which has resulted in injury to their brain or nervous system. In our part of the country, where so many people are free to ride their motorcycles without a helmet legally, the risk of traumatic brain injury due to a motorcycle accident is high.

Danger of TBI and Concussions in a Motorcycle Crash

Bikers / motorcycle drivers and their loved ones need to be aware of how sneaky a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be — and that TBI victims may not exhibit immediate symptoms even though they have sustained a severe injury to their brain.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that brain injuries can cause death hours or days after the injury.

TBIs and concussions that have been sustained in a motorcycle accident may prove fatal hours later, or even after several days have passed since the crash happened.

Another warning for those who ride motorcycles and suffer a blow to the head in a crash: the costs of care in these situations can be astronomical. Consider the following estimates on care costs following a TBI injury from the Brain Injury Association of America:

• Average hospital-based acute rehab is about $8,000 per day;
• Range for post-acute residential is about $850 to $2,500 per day;
• Day treatment programs (e.g., 4 hours of therapy) are about $600 to $1,000 with no room/board.

Watch Out for These TBI Symptoms and Get Help ASAP

Freedom and independence are the reasons that people ride motorcycles. The experience of riding a motorcycle on the open road is so different from any other kind of transportation: it’s unique and thrilling and for many motorcyclists, it’s worth the risk of injury to drive their bike – helmet or not.

That’s a position to respect; however, for those loved ones who are concerned about the possibility that a motorcyclist has suffered a brain injury or concussion that warrants medical care, the CDC provides this list of symptoms which, if seen, mean that the person should have immediate emergency medical treatment:

  • Headache that gets worse and does not go away.
  • Weakness, numbness or decreased coordination.
  • Repeated vomiting or nausea.
  • Slurred speech.
  • Look very drowsy or cannot be awakened.
  • Have one pupil (the black part in the middle of the eye) larger than the other.
  • Have convulsions or seizures.
  • Cannot recognize people or places.
  • Are getting more and more confused, restless, or agitated.
  • Have unusual behavior.
  • Lose consciousness (a brief loss of consciousness should be taken seriously and the person should be carefully monitored).

Injury Claims After Motorcycle Accidents

Most motorcycle accidents involve traffic accidents with bigger vehicles. Often, the drivers of the sedans, minivans, trucks, or SUVs have failed to see the bike sharing the road with them and have hit the motorcycle as they change lanes, turn left or right, or enter/exit an expressway.

Other dangers that motorcyclists face include road hazards that cannot be avoided (like cargo that has fallen from a truck, or debris that has not been collected by road workers) as well as construction zone risks and design flaws in highways that were built without consideration of motorcycle traffic (harsh curves, hidden signals, etc.).

Personal injury claims can be made by the motorcyclists or on their behalf against those who may be responsible for the crash. Insurance policies covering the defendants in these situations can provide the funds needed not only for immediate medical care but also the long term therapy and lifestyle needs that a serious TBI injury may require.

And remember: the motorcycle helmet isn’t a solution and bikers can suffer serious brain injury in a crash while wearing a helmet.

Check out this video that is pro-helmet insofar as protecting against brain injury in a motorcycle accident:


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