Head Injuries from Motorcycle Accidents in Virginia

motorcycle accident on road

As a responsible motorcyclist in Virginia, you’re aware of potential dangers and always ride accordingly. You stay vigilant and visible, practice defensive driving, and take the necessary precautions. Unfortunately, even the most cautious rider cannot prevent an irresponsible driver from causing an accident. 

At the law firm of Arrington Schelin, we believe responsible motorcyclists deserve strong advocacy when they’ve been injured in an accident that was someone else’s fault.

If you suffered a head or brain injury in a motorcycle accident in Virginia, you could be entitled to compensation for medical bills, ongoing treatment, lost wages, diminished earning potential, pain, suffering, and more. We want to help you demand it. We’ve been fighting on behalf of injured motorcyclists like you for more than 40 years and look forward to putting our experience to work for you. 

Contact Arrington Schelin today for a free consultation about your motorcycle accident head injury case.

What Happens to the Brain in a Motorcycle Crash?

The physical consequences of a motorcycle accident cannot be overstated. The extreme forces of a traffic collision can cause significant trauma to the brain, the severity of which depends on several factors. What was the rider’s speed at the time of the crash? What was the size of the other vehicle? Was the motorcyclist wearing safety gear? Were there secondary collisions?

In many cases, the effects of a motorcycle accident on the brain can be severe, including bruising, bleeding, puncture wounds, and laceration. 

Causes of Motorcycle Accident Brain Injuries

Due to their vehicle’s smaller size and the motorcyclist’s exposure to the direct force of a collision, motorcycle riders are particularly vulnerable to severe injuries – including traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Even when wearing protective gear and driving defensively, riders must rely on the responsible driving habits of others to remain safe. Too often, other drivers fail in this duty, leading to collisions.

Some of the most common causes of motorcycle accident brain injuries include:

  • Direct impact through a collision with another vehicle or an object
  • Ejection from the motorcycle that leads to blunt force trauma to the brain
  • Sudden deceleration to avoid or mitigate a crash, which severely jostles the brain

Signs You May Have a Concussion after a Motorcycle Accident

You could have a concussion if you exhibit any of the following symptoms after a motorcycle crash:

  •  Headache 
  • Pressure in the head
  • Dizziness
  • Seeing stars
  • Losing consciousness
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Confusion, amnesia, and disorientation
  • Slurred speech and trouble forming coherent sentences
  • Clumsy gait
  • Sound, light, and movement sensitivity

Head and Brain Injuries Associated with Motorcycle Accidents 

Depending on the severity and nature of the crash, a motorcycle accident can cause a range of brain injuries, including:

  • Concussion – A concussion occurs when the head suffers direct trauma that causes alteration to brain function. Concussions can be hard to diagnose because symptoms are sometimes mild and temporary. However, the failure to properly treat a concussion can result in serious complications.
  • Cerebral Contusion – A cerebral contusion is a bruise to the brain that occurs when the head suffers a direct blow or is suddenly jolted. Contusions may be small or large but can also grow over time.
  • Coup-Contrecoup Injury – A coup-contrecoup (French for “blow-counterblow”) occurs when the brain hits the skull on one side, rebounds, and then hits the opposite side.
  • Epidural Hematoma – A skull fracture often causes an epidural hematoma, in which blood pools between the skull and the dura mater, the membrane surrounding the brain.
  • Subdural Hematoma – A subdural hematoma is the result of blood leaking into the space between the dura mater and the brain’s surface.

What Are the Different Levels of Severity of Traumatic Brain Injuries? 

Doctors use various methods to measure a TBI’s severity. They will likely consider how long the rider was unconscious, the timeframe of post-traumatic amnesia, and a scoring system called the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS). This is augmented by imaging scans of the brain.

The GCS assigns points based on a patient’s level of consciousness. The higher the score, the less severe the traumatic brain injury (TBI). The severity is generally categorized into the following three levels:

  • Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (GCS score of 13 to 15 points) – Patients with mild TBIs may lose consciousness for less than 30 minutes or suffer post-traumatic amnesia for less than one day. The brain also appears normal in imaging.
  • Moderate Traumatic Brain Injury (GCS score of 9 to 12 points) – Patients with moderate TBIs may lose consciousness for 30 minutes to 24 hours or suffer post-traumatic amnesia for between one and seven days. The brain may appear either normal or abnormal in imaging.
  • Severe Traumatic Brain Injury (GCS score of 4 to 8 points) – Patients with severe TBIs have typically been unconscious for 24 hours or more or suffered post-traumatic amnesia for more than seven days. The brain may appear either normal or abnormal in imaging.

A score of three points or less on the GCS is given to patients in a persistent vegetative state.

Prevention of Motorcycle-Related Brain Injuries

The most effective way to prevent motorcycle accident brain injuries is to wear a helmet. According to a CDC study of motorcycle crashes, motorcyclists who didn’t wear helmets were nearly six times more likely to suffer brain injuries and 4.5 times more likely to suffer skull fractures than motorcyclists who wore a helmet at the time of a crash.

Virginia’s Motorcycle Helmet Law

In Virginia, motorcyclists and their passengers are required to wear helmets, except in very limited circumstances. Helmets must meet the standards of the Snell Memorial Foundation, the American National Standards Institute, Inc., or the federal Department of Transportation. Failure to wear a helmet could result in a Class 4 misdemeanor. 

It is important to note, however, that wearing a helmet has no bearing on whether you get into an accident or not. If another road user causes an accident, they are liable for its consequences. Therefore, if you were injured in an accident while not wearing a helmet, you can still seek compensation from the at-fault driver. 

However, the insurance company might unfairly argue that you deserve less money because you lacked a helmet. Don’t let them get away with blaming the victim. An experienced motorcycle attorney can fight for your interests as an injured motorcyclist.

Why You Need a Brain Injury Motorcycle Accident Lawyer on Your Side

If you suffered a brain injury in a motorcycle accident in Virginia that was someone else’s fault, contact the law firm of Arrington Schelin today for a free consultation. You could be entitled to significant compensation, and we want to help you demand it.