Unfortunately, it’s very common for a rider who is in a motorcycle accident to suffer a head injury for the obvious reason that most of the time the rider is separated from the motorcycle. Once that occurs, it’s really just a question of which parts of the body impact with the other vehicle, with the pavement, or the motorcycle itself can hit the rider after they are ejected.
How Common Or Different Are Head Injuries Sustained In A Motorcycle Accident From A Car Accident?
They are, of course, much more common for the reason that in a car, you are not likely to be ejected. Being ejected from a car does happen, but it’s fairly rare.
The Severity Of Head Injuries From A Motorcycle Accident
Unfortunately, with a motorcycle accident, brain injuries can be extremely serious.
With less apparent injury to the brain, such as concussion, I find frequently that the emergency room misses these more mild traumatic brain injuries. The rider knows something is not quite right but they don’t really know what. The fact is, emergency room personnel aren’t really looking for subtle kinds of brain injury. They are looking for is a head injury that involves what’s called a brain bleed or hemorrhaging because an emergency room is just looking for a medical emergency. For the most part, they concentrate on life threatening issues and injuries that must be treated immediately. Injuries that can be treated outside the emergency room at a later time are deferred to non-emergency care.
Because the emergency room is not a place that’s designed to treat non-emergency or non-life threatening injuries, they do not take a lot of time diagnosing injuries that they will not treat, for example, a concussion. They may or may not even diagnose the fact that someone has a concussion. Emergency rooms are busy, and time is short. Typically they don’t have time to do the kind of interview with the patient that would give them the information they need to make a more subtle diagnosis.
Have You Seen A Lot Of Cases Where Medical Personnel Missed Brain Injuries?
I see this happen all of the time. Let’s talk about losing consciousness. When you lose consciousness, you don’t typically know that you’ve lost consciousness. What happens is there’s a moment or a period of time where you just don’t know what’s happened. I have had clients who have been out cold for five minutes and they don’t even know it. They only know that the first thing they remember was looking up and seeing emergency personnel that were already on the scene. Witnesses don’t really understand how important it is to document or let someone know the fact that someone was unconscious. They don’t have training to understand what they are seeing, and once someone comes back to consciousness, they don’t concern themselves with wondering if it is important to report that the person was out cold, or for how long.
The second component to understanding brain injuries is that very rarely does a motorcycle rider have a brain injury that involves actually fracturing the skull. The overwhelming majority of brain injuries suffered in motorcycle accidents are similar to shaken baby syndrome, where the brain is rattled against the rough inside edges of the skull, which causes the injury. Since the person’s head looks fine, there is less reason to wonder if there is a brain injury because from the outside, there’s nothing to look at that would tell you that the person has any kind of a brain injury.
It is only when the brain injury manifests itself as memory problem, difficulty learning new tasks or where someone is angry for no reason or that kind of thing, where it becomes more apparent that something is wrong. We infer from this dysfunction that the person has a brain injury. At that point, clinical testing and serious diagnostic testing begins. Typically those observations leading to the need for further study are not made until long after leaving the emergency room.
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