Author: P. Christopher Guedri, Richmond, VA Personal Injury Attorney
Motorcycles are one exciting means of travel, but that feeling of exhilaration comes with serious risks. The exposed position of the rider and small mass of the bike combine to cause thousands of injuries and deaths every year. Each million miles driven by motorcycles causes roughly 25 deaths, thirty times the expected deaths from cars covering the same distance. Legs and hips may be the most vulnerable parts of the body on a motorcycle, but a blow to the head is the most common fatal injury.
Traumatic brain injury is of particular concern for bikers. 12% of all emergency room visits and 26% of all hospitalizations involving a motorcycle involve a traumatic brain injury. Such an injury is often accompanied by extremely serious symptoms including memory loss, depression, seizures, paralysis, and loss of motor skills. Many victims are disabled for the rest of their lives, requiring constant care and supervision.
Along with these potentially crippling symptoms, traumatic brain injuries generally incur massive medical bills. The American College of Surgeons has estimated in its journal that such an injury tends to roughly double the final hospital bill. Due to their increased exposure and large likelihood of head injury, motorcycle accidents account for 12% of emergency medical costs despite being involved in only 6% of accidents. Families are forced into the impossible situation of assuming a major new financial burden just as one of their members is struck with a serious, perhaps even permanent, injury.
The prevalence, severity, and expense of traumatic brain injuries forces responsible bikers to take certain steps to protect themselves and their families. The first and most important step to preventing or mitigating a brain injury is to wear a helmet. Expert estimates indicate this simple act reduces the chance of a traumatic brain injury by as much as 85%. Excellent insurance is also a prerequisite and can prove immeasurably helpful to the victim’s family if the worst should occur.
The toll of a traumatic brain injury is both sudden and staggering. At the end of the day, motorcycle riders should exercise caution and wear helmets in order to minimize the risk of being involved in a serious accident, and carry insurance in the event that an accident occurs.