Arizona Motorcycle Accidents: Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries
Catastrophic Injuries in a Collision
Being involved in a motorcycle accident can have serious consequences for the rider and any passengers involved. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and spinal cord injuries are common in these types of incidents and can leave victims unable to lead a normal life for a significant amount of time, if they are ever able to completely recover.
Brain and spinal cord injuries are serious injuries that often are followed by multiple complications for the health and wellbeing of the victim over the course of time. Brain injuries can leave victims without the ability to speak, create full thoughts or sentences, without full memory faculties, and without the ability to complete function skills. Spinal cord injuries may also have an impact on motor functions, and can have a profound impact on the ability of the victim to progress through physical therapy and eventually make a full recovery. In many cases, victims of spinal cord injuries may experience partial or full paralysis that may be either temporary, long-term, or, in extreme cases, permanent. Although traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries are not counted as injuries in motorcycle collisions every day, they are a prevalent problem in Arizona. For victims of these types of injuries, life changes in an instant. In some cases, the change becomes not being able to walk, and in cases of severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients may experience temporary or persistent coma.
Understanding what causes these types of injuries in a motorcycle collision can help all motorcycle riders learn how to mitigate risks for their own safety on the road, and reduce their risk of being involved in a collision that could cause them to die or be paralyzed for the rest of their lives.
For help with your case, contact our Arizona motorcycle accident brain & spinal injury lawyers The Husband & Wife Law Team now.
Causes of Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries in Motorcycle Collisions
While it should seem obvious what causes both brain and spinal cord injuries in a motorcycle accident, the reality is that there are many different ways in which the body can be injured, and a variety of circumstances that can lead to serious and life-threatening injuries.
Estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that nearly 1.7 million injuries occur each year that cite traumatic brain injury (TBI). What’s more is that these serious injuries contribute to nearly one-third of the deaths reported in the United States every year. The large majority of these injuries are reported to be mild concussions that are treatable through the doctor’s office. These injuries are caused by a serious blow to the head. For a motorcycle rider this can occur at almost any time in the accident. If you are thrown against the ground and hit your head (without a helmet) you may sustain a life-threatening traumatic brain injury (TBI). Those riders who do wear a helmet may still have a risk of being injured, though the risk has been shown to reduce the risk of sustaining a serious head wound. Overall, motor vehicle accidents, with motorcycles included, only contribute to approximately 17 percent of traumatic brain injuries reported in the United States each year. However, these incidents do contribute to nearly a third of related deaths.
The CDC reports that spinal cord injuries are also common in the United States. According to statistics more than 200,000 living victims are currently dealing with the aftermath of a spinal cord injury today. Up to an additional 20,000 new spinal cord injuries are reported each year. Motor vehicle accidents are cited in 46 percent of spinal cord injury reports.
In many cases, when an individual sustains a traumatic brain injury (TBI) as the result of a motorcycle collision, national statistics indicate that they frequently also sustain a spinal cord injury.
Symptoms of a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
The trouble with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) is that they do not always cause the victim to exhibit symptoms that indicate the presence of a serious injury to the brain. For some, the symptoms may come on almost immediately, and for others it may be weeks before the first symptoms arrive.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), coma and amnesia are common symptoms of a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Additional symptoms that may indicate that a person has sustained a serious injury to their head and brain include:
- Memory loss or trouble remembering things, especially short term memory
- Reduced attention span and inability to focus on tasks at hand
- Weakness in the arms, legs, and other extremities
- In ability to act and move in a coordinated manner, and with balance
- Loss of sensation—reduced ability to hear, problems with vision that were not there before the accident, and a difficult time feeling what you are touching
- Trouble with emotions, either by under or over emoting. Some of the classic issues with this type of symptom of traumatic brain injury include difficulty managing depression, anxiety attacks, new aggressive behaviors not present before the accident, trouble with controlling impulses, and changes in their personality.
Because these symptoms may not always be immediately apparent, it is critical for all individuals who have hit their head to visit a doctor and have x-rays and other necessary medical testing done as soon as possible to reduce the risk of furthered or permanent damage to the brain. The CDC reports that individuals who sustain traumatic brain injuries (TBI), even if they receive treatment, may experience a disability related to their symptoms and their injury within one year, and that this disability may be permanent. Reports indicate that nearly half of all traumatic brain injury (TBI) victims experience this phenomenon.
Symptoms of a Spinal Cord Injury
Along with the serious symptoms of a traumatic brain injury (TBI), motorcycle riders who have been injured in an accident must additionally watch out for the symptoms of a serious spinal cord injury. Spinal cord injuries are almost always characterized by the loss of at least some function in the limbs. According to the Mayo Clinic, what happens to the victim after they have suffered a serious injury to the spinal cord is heavily dependent on the location of the injury on the spine and how serious the injury was, or how deeply it penetrated or damaged the spinal cord.
Some symptoms that you may immediately notice if you have sustained an injury to your spinal cord or to an area of the back surrounding your spinal cord, include:
- Inability to move one of more parts of your body, especially limbs
- Loss of feeling in your limbs or other parts of your body
- Loss of reaction to sensations like heat and cold, and also pressure
- Inability to control your urinary and bowel movements
- Spasms in any of the muscles of the body, but moreso in those connected to the limbs or to the spine
- Tingling, stinging, or painful nerve, which are the result of the injury to the nerve endings and fibers in the spinal cord
- Feeling as though you have pneumonia and are unable to remove mucuous and other secretions from the lungs
- Dramatic changes in sex drive, sensitivity during sex, and other sexual issues.
Any person who has suffered an injury to the back or spine that is having troubles like those listed above should see a doctor for an x-ray and medical treatment. However, there are additional symptoms that should be signs of the need for emergent care. These symptoms include unbearable pain and pressure resulting from spinal compression, paralysis, inability to feel in hands or feet, trouble walking, difficulty breathing, and visible deformities in the neck and back.
What to Do if You Have Sustained a Brain or Spinal Cord Injury
If you have sustained a brain or spinal cord injury, the most important thing that you can do is to visit an emergency room for proper treatment and x-rays. Only a trained medical team can help you make a full recovery from these serious injuries and coordinate your care in the likely event that you have suffered both of these injuries.
Complications from a Brain or Spinal Cord Injury
Individuals who sustain either a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or a spinal cord injury are susceptible to a long list of serious complications, with the most severe result being death in both cases.
Spinal cord injuries can cause lifelong complications that negatively impact the victim’s ability to control bladder functions and bowel functions, decrease respiratory wellness, changes their sex life, and also causes problem with nerve endings and circulation, among other issues. Most prominently, spinal cord injuries can cause full paralysis (quadriplegia), or partial paralysis (paraplegia), either of which can be temporary, long-term, or permanent depending on the severity of the injury and the victim’s ability to sustain recovery.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI), too, can have serious complications. Brain injuries can cause permanent brain damage making it impossible to regain either short or long term memory and to sustain memory moving forward, depending on the location and seriousness of the injury. Motor function impairment, like the loss of ability to cook, clean, or groom oneself are also common complications associated with traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
Both of these injuries ensure that the victim will be unable to lead life in the same manner as they once did. In the most severe of cases where the victim survives, they require round the clock assistance and care, are unable to continue working, and cannot enjoy the same activities they once did. Their lives are irrevocably changed.
Preventing Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents
Preventing injuries to the brain and spinal cord in motorcycle accidents starts with motorcycle riders. One of the most important things you can do for yourself as a motorcycle rider is to adopt a philosophy towards safety. Keeping safety top of mind every time you ride your motorcycle, no matter where you are riding, will help to reduce your risk of being involved in an accident, and in being involved in a serious accident. Considering the use of protective gear can also help you to be more careful on the road, and actual use of safety gear can help to reduce your risk of injury in many circumstances.
Getting the Help You Deserve for Your Recovery
If you were hit by another motor vehicle and you sustained either a traumatic brain injury (TBI), a spinal cord injury, or both, your life will change in an instant. While there may be nothing you can do to get back the life you once had, you can hold the person who changed your life in this negative manner responsible for their actions. The Arizona catastrophic injury attorneys at the Breyer Law Offices, P.C. understand your suffering. We will work with you to help you make the best recovery possible. Call us today at (602) 267-1280.