Motorcyclists lack the protection that automobile drivers have. For example, they do not have airbags, seat belts, or even a protective shield to keep them in place when an accident occurs. As a result, they have a high chance of suffering traumatic brain injuries, which are very serious head injuries that should be treated right away to avoid major complications or death.
What is a traumatic brain injury?
According to the Mayo Clinic, a traumatic brain injury happens when a person has struck or bumped their head on a hard item or object. Their brain cells may be affected permanently or temporarily, and they may have bleeding, tearing, and bruising within the brain. When an individual hits their head very hard on the ground or a surface, it is highly recommended that they seek medical assistance immediately. A traumatic brain injury is a medical emergency that must be treated as quickly as possible to prevent lifelong complications or death.
How can San Antonio motorcycle operators sustain a brain injury?
A motorcycle operator or passenger can sustain a TBI if:
- They are thrown from the bike: In a collision, there is a good chance that a rider can be physically thrown from the motorcycle. A head-on collision can force an operator up and over the top of the vehicle which hits them, whereas the operator is more likely to be thrown forward in a rear-end collision.
- Their head makes impact with the front of the vehicle: Larger vehicles like SUVs and light trucks (or even heavy duty 18-wheelers and commercial trucks) are taller, wider, and boxier than most sedans. If one of these vehicles hits a motorcycle rider from the front or the side, there is a better chance that the operator’s head will make direct impact with the front grille. Depending on the speed and force of the hit, the motorcyclist may sustain a closed or open head injury.
- They are crushed by the vehicle: Motorcycles are small when you compare them with cars and trucks. It doesn’t take much force to knock an operator or rider off the bike. If they land in front of the vehicle or slide underneath a truck, they can be crushed by the wheels.
- They slide across the road: A rider who is knocked off or thrown from a motorcycle is likely to slide across the road. Even if that operator managed to avoid trauma to the head during the initial impact, they may suffer a brain injury as they move across the roadway.
- The helmet is defective or faulty: Motorcycle helmets are designed to reduce the impact of blunt force trauma to the head. They do this by absorbing the force of the blow. But a defect in the design or materials can reduce the effectiveness of the helmet, and a defect in the strap can cause the helmet to slip, which in turn increases the risk of more severe injury.
Reducing your chances of suffering a traumatic brain injury in a motorcycle accident in San Antonio, TX
There are a few different steps you can take to reduce your chances of suffering a traumatic brain injury when involved in a motorcycle accident, such as:
- Wear a motorcycle helmet: Many motorcyclists prefer not to wear a helmet because they find them to be annoying, unstylish, and they make them hot in the warmer months. However, a recent study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information shows that motorcyclists who wore helmets were less likely to die from their head injuries and had a shorter hospital stay than those who did not wear helmets. It is suggested that motorcyclists try to protect their head as much as possible by wearing a helmet when riding their bikes.
- Do not speed: When motorcyclists speed, they put themselves at severe risk of wrecking, falling off their bikes, and hitting their heads on hard objects or surfaces. Therefore, it is important to always follow posted speed limits when riding your bike.
- Make sure that you are licensed and have taken courses before getting on a bike: You should never ride a motorcycle unless you have a motorcycle license. In addition, you should take training and safety courses to learn how to safely operate your bike and prevent accidents from occurring. This may reduce your chances of being involved in an accident and experiencing a traumatic brain injury.
- Focus and concentrate on the road: When you are on your bike, you should focus and concentrate on the road at all times. You should never look at your cell phone, talk on the phone, or play with the radio while driving a motorcycle.
How to avoid ineffective motorcycle helmets
Helmets absolutely save lives, but not all helmets are equal. To reduce your risk of severe or fatal injury, you want a helmet that fits well for the size and shape of your head, and will cover your entire face. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) warns that half helmets and open face helmets do not offer the same level of protection. They also don’t have chin guards. They also advise against helms that:
- Are less than 1” thick
- Do not have a stiff foam inner liner
- Have plastic buckles instead of chin straps with solid rivets
- Weigh less than 3lbs
- Have decorations or visor fasteners than extend past two-tenths of an inch
On a personal note, we also recommend that all riders, regardless of age or training, wear a helmet whenever they travel. It is possible that an operator or passenger will still suffer a brain injury even with a helmet, but they are far more likely to die if they are not wearing one during a collision or wreck. Further, studies have been done that show helmets can reduce the risk of neck fractures and injuries as well, so it really is in your best interest to put one on before you ride.
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident and need immediate legal assistance, please reach out to the Law Offices of Pat Maloney at your earliest opportunity. Pat Maloney is a San Antonio motorcycle accident lawyer who knows the ins and outs of these types of accidents. Therefore, he will remain by your side, ensuring that you understand everything happening with your case and are aware of the legal options you may pursue. Call our office or submit our contact form to schedule your free and confidential case review today.
Pat Maloney, Jr. is a skilled San Antonio personal injury lawyer who has acted as lead counsel and co-counsel in many multi-million dollar verdicts throughout Texas. Pat Maloney represents people injured in car accidents, truck accidents, construction accidents and more. He is well known for his expertise in representing victims of serious personal injuries and has participated as a lecturer in the field of personal injury litigation. He has been named as one of the “Best Lawyers in America” Reference Book every year for the last five years.