Signs and Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury After a Motorcycle Accident

Film x-ray skull of head injury after an accident

About Traumatic Brain Injury from a Motorcycle Accident

One of the worst injuries motorcyclists can suffer is head injuries. Even when the severity of the accident does not appear serious, the impact of a motorcycle accident can still bear devastating consequences. 

After a crash, even when it appears that a motorcycle accident brain injury was not sustained, it is vital to seek immediate medical attention. Doing so ensures that a potential traumatic brain injury is properly treated. Here is what to know about traumatic brain injuries and how an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can assist in your recovery. 


Signs and Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury From Motorcycle Accident

silhouette of a man sitting in the corner of a dark room with a severe headache

When the brain sustains a jolt or violent blow to the head, neck, or body, it can result in a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). Because head injuries can go undetected for long periods, it is important to be familiarized with the common signs of TBIs after a motorcycle accident, such as:

  • Unalleviated headache
  • Numbness in hand, legs, fingers, or toes
  • Discombobulated
  • Difficulty with coordination or controlling mobility
  • Vertigo
  • Nausea
  • Slurred speech

According to the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) data, numerous fatal motorcycle accidents are reported each year in Newport Beach, CA–some due to immediate impact at the accident scene and others after succumbing to complications with their injuries. 

While mild brain injuries may have temporary effects with the potential to heal on their own, it is strongly advisable to see a doctor, especially when experiencing any of the following symptoms

  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Different-sized eye pupils
  • Seizing or convulsing
  • Amnesia
  • Unusual behavior


Types of Motorcycle Accident Brain Injuries

motorcycle-accident from collision with car

There are different levels to a motorcycle accident brain injury, each with its own severity and challenges. Generally, a traumatic brain injury is categorized into the following.


Motorcycle accidents are one of the leading causes of brain and head injuries, with concussions being the most prevalent. While some mild concussions can heal without permanent damage, a significant portion do not.

A severe head injury can leave lasting challenges for a motorcycle accident victim, as some can cause long-term impairment.

However, the potential risks necessitate seeking medical attention and adhering to recommended treatment plans. This improves the recovery rate and prevents brain injury victims undergoing permanent brain damage.


Medical experts studies the EEG condition of the patient

Motorcycle riders involved in traffic accidents are susceptible to serious injuries. However, the most common are brain injuries, specifically brain contusions. This is when there is deep bruising present within the brain tissue, caused by internal bleeding.

Depending on their size and location, a contusion brain injury can cause neurological disruptions. In severe cases, where there is much pressure applied to the brain, surgical intervention becomes necessary. If the pressure is not alleviated, there is the potential for long-term damage.

Early diagnosis and management of contusions are crucial for optimal recovery following a motorcycle accident.

Coup and Contrecoup Brain Injury

A motorcycle accident brain injury can be caused by the body’s reaction to the impact of the crash in the form of coup and contrecoup brain injuries.

A coup brain injury is when a moving object impacts a stationary head, and a contrecoup brain injury is when the head strikes a stationary object.

Each type creates a force of impact that not only causes a contusion (bruise) at the point of contact but also rattles the brain within the skull. The severity of such injuries heavily depends on the force involved, ranging from mild injury to life-threatening. 

Prompt medical evaluation and neuroimaging are crucial for accurate diagnosis and treatment of coup-contrecoup head injuries, as they can significantly impact a victim’s recovery and overall life expectancy.

Diffuse Axonal Injury

fast moving vehicles of cars and motorcycles on highway

Motorcyclists, particularly those involved in high-speed accidents, are at increased risk of sustaining Diffuse Axonal Injuries (DAI). This is when the head moves, but the brain does not, causing microscopic tears in nerve fibers (axons) throughout the brain.

The resulting chemical release intensifies the damage, disrupting normal communication within the brain. As a result, DAI can lead to a brain injury victim suffering temporary/permanent coma or a vegetative state. 

If a victim can recover from a coma, there is still the possibility that sustained nerve damage will have life-changing consequences. This can entail physical challenges and cognitive impairment.

The severity of injury will vary depending on the location and extent of axonal damage. While DAIs are complex and prognosis can be challenging, seeking immediate medical attention after a motorcycle accident is crucial to optimize the potential for recovery.

Penetration Injury

Motorcycle accidents, while susceptible to various brain injuries, present a lower risk for penetration injuries compared to other types of car accidents when motorcycle helmets are properly worn.

However, when it does occur, it can be from bone fragments from skull fractures, sharp objects in the environment, or foreign objects piercing the brain during the collision.

The injury severity will vary depending on the object, depth of penetration, and affected brain region. Immediate medical attention is crucial in such cases to minimize potential complications or infection of the brain tissue.


How a Motorcycle Accident Brain Injury Affects Victims

Invoice with stethoscope concept medical expense; document is mock-up

A traumatic brain injury can result in various physical and physiological symptoms. Some are more common and may appear right after a head injury, while others manifest over time.

The symptoms of a mild traumatic brain injury may be physical, sensory, or psychological. Mild sensory symptoms of a motorcycle accident brain injury may include blurred vision, sensitivity to sound or light, bad taste in the mouth, ringing or buzzing sound in the ears, or changes in the ability to smell.

The cognitive effects of minor brain injuries may also result in loss of consciousness, memory problems, concentration issues, confusion, disorientation, anxiety, mood swings, and sleeping issues.

For more severe brain injuries, motorcycle accident victims may experience loss of coordination and numbness or weakness in toes and fingers. Cognitive difficulties may also be imminent with some experiencing memory loss and difficulty understanding speech or concepts. 

Brain injury victims are also at risk of emotional turmoil due to a change in brain chemistry may also cause chronic anxiety, depression, or other psychological stresses. 


Risk Factors and Complications of a Severe Traumatic Brain Injury

While mild brain traumatic injury symptoms can resolve with time, moderate to severe brain injury symptoms can lead to further physical complications such as seizures, a buildup of fluids, brain infections, damage to blood vessels, and vertigo.

Signs and symptoms brain injury victims may undergo include coma, a vegetative state, or a minimally conscious state. In severe cases, the doctors may declare a patient brain dead.

Brain death is when a person’s brain activity is non-existent, and the removal of breathing devices will cause the patient to cease breathing, further leading to heart failure.


Tips for Motorcyclists to Prevent Traumatic Brain Injury

protective biker gloves on a motorcycle wheel with light effects. Driver accelerates, close-up

According to the Insurance Information Institute (iii), over 5,000 motorcyclists died due to speeding. The statistics further revealed that motorcyclists are 29 times more at risk than car drivers to sustain fatal injuries. The following tips can help reduce the risk of TBI.

  • Wearing a helmet and other safety accessories, like goggles (to protect eyes from debris) and riding gloves to maintain a firm grip on the handles, can reduce the severity of injury.
  • Obey the traffic rules, drive at a safe speed limit, and use signals when switching lanes. 
  • Wear reflective or bright clothing to remain as visible as possible to other drives.
  • Avoid distractions, remain observant, and watch for road hazards or a negligent driver.
  • Do not tailgate, and maintain a safe distance between other vehicles.


Financial Damages of a Newport Beach Motorcycle Accident

Because motorcycle accidents can cause serious injuries and require ongoing medical treatment, they are often the most expensive types of personal injury accidents. The financial impact of a crash can result in the following losses to motorcycle riders:

  • Medical Expenses: Ambulance, emergency services, hospitalization, brain imaging, pain medication, potential surgery
  • Rehabilitation Expenses: Physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, behavioral therapy
  • Long-Term Care: Nursing care facilities, in-home nursing care
  • Home Modifications: Wheelchair accessibility upgrades, safety features, additional security measures
  • Replacement Services for Living Necessities: Cleaning, lawn care, grocery shopping, childcare
  • Lost Wages: Temporary or permanent loss of income, reduced earning potential

Any change in circumstances that are a result of another party’s negligence can be recovered with a successful personal injury claim. A motorcycle accident lawyer can assist injured clients recover economic damages and non-economic damages. 


Legal Help After Sustaining an Injury in a Motorcycle Accident

Contact Us | Beach Accident Attorneys

Common signs and symptoms of a severe brain injury do not always appear immediately after motor vehicle accidents. Certain injuries may show signs and symptoms days or weeks later.

It is extremely important to always seek immediate medical treatment to prevent injuries from becoming permanent or worse, fatal. 

In case you or a loved one suffered severe injuries to the head or brain trauma, you can always seek legal assistance from an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. Our Newport Beach personal injury law firm, Beach Accident Attorneys, will work as your legal advocates to get you properly compensated for your injuries.

Schedule a free consultation to learn more about our services. 


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