Because South Florida is known for having such great weather most of the year, it makes sense that so many people participate in outdoor activities; walking, biking, and going to the beach are just a few favorites for people in this community. However, riding motorcycles is becoming increasingly more popular.
In fact, Florida was found to have the second highest number of registered motorcyclists in the country in 2020, with over 620,000 registered riders. The likelihood of an accident happening greatly increases with so many riders on the road nowadays.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that there were 5,579 motorcyclists killed in 2020, which made up 14% of all traffic fatalities. And while those numbers seem high, the amount of motorcyclists that get injured are far greater. The NHTSA also estimated that over 82,500 motorcyclists were injured as well in 2020. Helmets are likely to thank for saving most of their lives, but there still are many complications that can arise after a motorcycle accident.
How often do motorcycle accidents lead to brain injuries?
The NHTSA found that 27% of motorcyclists that got into an accident were taken to the emergency department and 15% were admitted to the hospital. Of those, more than 15% of riders sustained a head injury. Unfortunately, suffering from a traumatic brain injury as a result of the accident is far too common for many motorcyclists.
Even once admitted to the hospital, many motorcyclists still succumb to their injuries—and 54% of those fatalities also had traumatic brain injury. For those that survived, 17% had to suffer with that traumatic brain injury and its side effects.
Do helmets save motorcyclists from traumatic brain injury?
Helmets did play a small role in how many motorcyclists sustained head injuries. More motorcyclists were wearing helmets compared to those not at the time of the accident, but a separate study by the NHTSA found that over 3,000 riders still sustained a traumatic brain injury despite the fact that they were wearing one.
A moderate traumatic brain injury was the most common severity sustained with it impacting 43% of victims. Unfortunately, severe cases held the next highest rate at 34%. Only 2.1% of cases were minor, and 22% of victims were just starting to show signs of the head injury.
How motorcycle crashes can injure the brain
So what exactly causes a traumatic brain injury? A large blow to the head or the head violently and unexpectedly moving back and forth injures the brain’s soft tissue—and these typically happen during accidents, like crashes on motorcycles. Because there is such little protection for those that ride motorcycles compared to cars, brain injuries are unfortunately not all that uncommon. They can get hurt by:
- Being ejected from their bike. If a rider hits a pothole or a bump on the road, they can quite easily be thrown from their bike and strike the asphalt pavement with great force.
- Getting into an accident with another car. Like it was mentioned before, cars offer significantly more protection for their drivers than motorcycles do. No matter who is at fault, if there is an accident with a motorcycle and car, the person on the motorcycle can powerfully hit their head on the car.
- Bad weather conditions. Rain and snow make the roads super slick. If a motorcyclist is not careful enough, they could hydroplane or skid into oncoming traffic or off the road and forcibly hit their head depending on how fast they were going.
The bottom line is that helmets can—and do—save lives, but they unfortunately cannot save you from everything. Each of these scenarios are very real and happen to thousands of riders every single year.
Different types of traumatic brain injuries
Traumatic brain injuries are not all one in the same. In fact, there are a few different types of them that anyone, including motorcyclists, are at risk of after an accident. They include:
- Concussion is a milder form of a traumatic brain injury. While it can cause loss of consciousness, rest is simply all that is needed to heal it.
- Coup-contrecoup injury is the most severe because both sides of the brain are affected. This occurs when there is impact on one side of the brain, but damage on the other. It often goes misdiagnosed because the area of impact is thought to be the only area needing treatment.
- Cerebral contusion causes bleeding on the surface of the brain. It can sometimes be confused for a regular concussion because of their similar symptoms, but an accurate diagnosis is required quickly or the results can be fatal.
- Epidural hematoma is when the inside of the skull and outer covering of the brain are both bleeding. Most of the time, this happens as a result of a skull fracture.
- Subdural hematoma is a type of brain bleeding that occurs right outside of the actual brain tissue from one or more torn blood vessels. If it is a severe case, blood can pool up so quickly that it can be deadly.
If you or someone you know has been involved in a motorcycle accident in the Fort Lauderdale area and has suffered from a traumatic brain injury, we are here to help. At Yeboah Law Group, we can fight on your behalf for the financial compensation you deserve for your losses. Our personal injury attorneys have extensive experience handling complex accident claims, and we have the resources and knowledge necessary to help recover the compensation you need. To arrange a free consultation, call us today at 1-800-TELL-SAM, or submit our contact form today. We have offices in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Key West and Boca Raton. We also serve clients in Miami-Dade and all of South Florida.