Sometimes, a fun activity can be a risky one. Driving a motorcycle is one of those activities. Driving in general is a calculated risk we all make the choice to take, but after a while of safe driving and no accidents, we become acclimated to a false sense of security, and we become more relaxed behind the wheel, oftentimes making us less cautious when driving. It’s during those moments that we are most vulnerable to a crash, and none more so than motorcyclists.
A motorcyclist does not have the same shell of protection that a regular sedan vehicle, so it’s important that the driver uses the proper protective gear when driving, especially a helmet. “Helmets saved the lives of 1,872 motorcyclists in 2017,” the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states; “helmets are estimated to be 37-percent effective in preventing fatalities to motorcycle riders and 41 percent for motorcycle passengers.” While some people find helmets to be restrictive or an annoyance, it’s obvious how helpful they are at saving lives and protecting the drivers and riders of the motorcycle.
What happens when you don’t wear a helmet?
One of the greatest risks to driving a motorcycle is ending up in a crash where your head is damaged. Your head (and the brain in it) is one of the most vulnerable (if not the MOST vulnerable) areas of your body, and driving on the road in a motorcycle is a great way to put it in danger. In order to truly understand the risk you’re putting yourself in, we should understand what happens when your brain IS injured in a crash while on a motorcycle, presuming you aren’t wearing a helmet.
One brain injury you might receive in a motorcycle crash is a concussion. While on the milder side of brain injuries, it is still serious and can cause severe harm if left untreated. A concussion usually happens from a sudden jolt or hit to the head, and can cause severe headaches, temporary amnesia, and nausea. A more serious concussion may result in worse symptoms like long term memory loss and unconsciousness, as well as other cognitive complications.
Another brain injury you may sustain if involved in a motorcycle accident is a contusion. A contusion is a bruising or bleeding of the brain caused by an injury to the head. The symptoms of a contusion are similar to that of a concussion with symptoms such as confusion, headaches, and dizziness, along with the more severe signs such as seizures and lasting coordination issues.
Finally, one of the more severe injuries from a motorcycle accident is a penetrating brain injury. A penetrating brain injury is when something punctures the skull, causing physical damage to the brain itself. This sort of injury often occurs in vehicle accidents, and can cause life-threatening symptoms such as:
- Heavy bleeding from the head
- Bleeding from the ears
- Problems breathing
- Loss of bowel and bladder function
- Problems moving
- Loss of feeling in the limbs
- Loss of consciousness
Wearing a helmet can save you from a lot of pain and suffering. Protect your head when you’re out for a ride on the road in a motorcycle.
What are the effects of a brain injury from a Mississippi motorcycle accident?
If a rider isn’t wearing a helmet, the risk of a serious brain injury is significantly increased. The effects of a brain injury will depend on the severity of that injury, which means you may face:
- Cognitive damage
- Loss of motor skills
- Loss of language
- Memory loss
- Sensory damage, including light and sound sensitivity
- Behavioral changes
- Personality changes
In some cases, a victim may end up in a coma or in a vegetative state, either temporarily or permanently.
When an injury is this severe, it takes a considerable amount of medical care to treat. Some motorcycle accident victims may never fully heal. As a result, families may suffer devastating financial setbacks, as they will have significant medical bills.
What are the causes of motorcycle accidents?
When out on the road, what should motorcyclists be concerned and cautious about? There are several main causes of motorcycle accidents that lead to brain injuries:
- Head-on collisions. These are extremely dangerous, and can lead to severe injuries. Oftentimes, these crashes lead to fatalities.
- Left-hand turns by other vehicles. One of the most common types of accidents, these occur when vehicles are turning left without considering the motorcyclists nearby.
- Lane splitting. This accident happens with motorcyclists weaving in between traffic, regardless of any marked lanes. This sort of action reduces the room to maneuver, and with possible negligent drivers around them, it can be extremely dangerous.
- Road hazards. Road hazards can include obstacles such as potholes, construction materials, parts of cars, spills, and so forth. These sorts of impediments can be very dangerous for motorcyclists to maneuver.
- Weather conditions. Conditions such as rain, sleet, and snow can make for dangerous roads, highways and bridges becoming very slick. With cars around them, motorcyclists need to be wary not only of the road and weather, but those around them who are having a difficult time on the road as well.
Brain injuries are nothing to ignore. It’s vital to protect your head when you go out for a ride, whether on the highway or on back roads. Refusing to wear such protective gear may have you ending up in the hospital with a concussion, contusion, or even a penetrating brain injury. It’s better to drive safely (if slower), than to wind up with no memory and severe headaches for the rest of your life. If you’ve suffered from a brain injury due to a motorcycle accident in Mississippi, it’s time to call Merkel & Cocke, P.A. at 662-627-9641, or fill out our contact form to make an appointment at one of our offices in Jackson, Clarksdale, Greenville, or Oxford.
After graduating from the University of Virginia Law School in 1975, Mr. Cocke and Mr. Merkel established Merkel & Cocke, P.A. in 1982. Since that time the emphasis of Mr. Cocke’s practice has progressed toward medical malpractice. At the present time his practice is exclusively devoted to handling medical negligence cases for the plaintiff, either as a result of direct contact by the client or on referral from other attorneys who are not familiar with the handling of medical negligence cases. Mr. Cocke was selected Best Lawyer of the year for 2012 and 2014 in The Memphis area in the field of Medical Malpractice and has been selected a Best Lawyer and Super Lawyer every year since 2006. Learn more about John Hartwell Cocke here.