Brain Damage after a Motorcycle Accident and How It Could Affect a Claim

Tim Miley
Injury Lawyer, Author, & Owner of The Miley Legal Group

Although helmets can protect a motorcyclist's head in the event of an accident, injuries can still happen. Those who don't wear one are more susceptible to serious physical harm, such as brain damage.

Causes of Brain Damage in a Motorcycle Accident

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can occur from a penetrating or closed head injury. With a penetrating injury, a foreign object penetrates the skull. This could include debris from the accident. A closed head injury is the result of a blow to the head with no penetration of the skull.

Sometimes brain damage is immediate, it can occur with a:

  • nerve injury;
  • skull fracture;
  • contusion; or
  • deep laceration.

Brain damage may also develop over time after the accident, this can happen with:

  • edema (brain swelling);
  • intracranial pressure (pressure inside the skull); and
  • infection.

Complications of Brain Damage and Treatment Options

Examples of physical problems that may occur with brain damage are:

  • headaches;
  • seizures;
  • nausea;
  • vomiting;
  • ear ringing;
  • hearing loss;
  • vision problems; and
  • dizziness.

Cognitive problems from brain damage may include trouble with:

  • thinking;
  • communicating (speaking/listening);
  • memory;
  • reasoning;
  • concentrating; and
  • impaired executive functioning (organizing, planning, solving problems).

A team of medical professionals will develop a treatment plan that meets the patient's unique needs. This depends on the effects it's had on the motorcycle victim.

Examples of healthcare providers who could assist with treatment include a:

  • neuropsychologist;
  • social worker; and
  • physical/occupational therapist.

Long-Term Outlook for Patients with Brain Damage

The prognosis depends on the location of the injury in the brain and the severity of trauma. Other injuries sustained in the motorcycle accident could impact recovery. Also, the person's age and general health can affect recovery.

For some, the long-term effects are disabling. It could prevent the individual from working and/or performing routine daily tasks. This could mean receiving care in a facility or at home with the help of a caregiver.

If the brain damage is severe, it can cause temporary or permanent loss of consciousness. Some individuals may remain in a vegetative state.

Seeking Compensation in a Motorcycle Accident Claim When Someone Suffers Brain Damage

When someone else was at fault for the motorcycle accident, it's important to file a claim against that party. The victim can do this unless the brain damage interferes with his/her ability to make sound and reasonable decisions. If so, then someone else (such as a family member) might have to file on his/her behalf. Either way, it's important to seek legal advice.

There are two main elements to prove in a claim. The first is that the other party caused the accident, examples of evidence that may help establish fault are:

  • photographs;
  • statements from witnesses; and
  • an accident report.

The second element is proving the severity of the victim's injuries. It's important to gather all relevant documentation, which should include medical records. These must clearly show the extent of brain damage and its impact (including what’s expected) on the victim.

Medical bills will likely make up a bulk of the claim. This would include the initial treatment (i.e., emergency room) but also follow-up and ongoing medical care. Because the impact of brain damage isn't always known, it's important not to settle an accident claim prematurely. A medical expert may be essential to testify about the long-term impact of the brain injury, as well as its costs.

Loss of earnings is another form of compensation. It could include the wages lost while recovering from the injury. But if it results in permanent disability, then it may also address future lost earning capacity. Other types of compensation could address the physical/emotional losses associated with brain damage.

For instance, a victim could receive compensation for:

  • pain and suffering;
    mental anguish;
    and
  • disability.

Speak with an attorney about all the damages recoverable after suffering brain damage after a motorcycle accident. Call the Miley Legal Group in Clarksburg at 304-931-4088 or contact us online to set up a free consultation with an attorney.