Motorcycle riding is a popular hobby and mode of transportation in Nebraska. With its wide-open roads and long riding seasons, the state sees thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts hitting the highways each year. However, the lack of protection on a motorcycle compared to a car also leads to significantly higher injury and fatality rates in motorcycle crashes. Traumatic brain injury has unfortunately emerged as the most common motorcycle accident injury requiring hospitalization in Nebraska.
Definition and Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are caused by a violent blow or jolt to the head, resulting in the disruption of normal brain function. Motorcycle riders can suffer TBIs in accidents through direct impact of their unprotected head against a vehicle, roadway, or other object. The abrupt acceleration/deceleration forces during crashes also slam the brain against the inside of the skull, leading to tissue damage, bleeding, swelling, and other complications.
Common motorcycle accident situations leading to traumatic TBIs include:
- Collisions with cars, trucks, and other larger vehicles at intersections or while changing lanes. The biker is thrown from the motorcycle, and their head impacts another vehicle or ground.
- Losing control due to speed, road hazards, improper turning, etc., and being ejected from the bike. The helmetless head strikes the pavement.
- Flipping over the handlebars during sudden braking maneuvers. The frontal lobe impacts the ground at high speeds.
Prevalence of TBI Among Nebraska Motorcycle Accident Victims
According to the Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT), motorcyclists accounted for around 14% of all traffic accident deaths, but in states without universal helmet laws, 57% of motorcycle fatalities were due to drivers not wearing helmets. Between 2019 and 2020, the number of fatalities increased by 11%, and this figure is not likely to decrease.
The reason? Unlike passenger vehicle occupants protected by seatbelts, airbags, and crumple zones – motorcycle riders have little shielding their brains from trauma on impact. By one estimate, 98% of bikers hospitalized after accidents have suffered TBIs.
Severity and Effects of Motorcycle Accident-Induced TBIs
TBIs incurred in motorcycle crashes are often serious and life-changing for several reasons:
- Motorcycle riders tend to suffer more violent impacts at higher rates of speed compared to car collisions. This amplifies the severity of brain trauma.
- Riders are thrown farther, increasing injury severity. Ejections occur in nearly two-thirds of fatal motorcycle wrecks.
- Multiple collisions are common. Bikers get tossed into vehicles, poles, barriers, or hard surfaces post initial impact – multiplying TBI sources.
- Lack of helmet use increases the TBI risk over eightfold, according to research. Almost half of riders in Nebraska accidents die from a TBI with no helmet on.
The effects of undiagnosed or untreated TBI after a motorcycle crash include:
- Persistent headaches, dizziness, nausea
- Changes in speech, vision, coordination, balance, cognition
- Ringing ears, altered taste/smell
- Difficulty concentrating, loss of memory, slower ability to think clearly
- Severe long-term – personality changes, depression, movement disorders
These ruin the rider’s quality of life and many vocational pursuits without recovery assistance.
Additionally, alcohol use greatly increases the TBI risk and severity for injured riders. Almost half of fatally injured Nebraska motorcyclists were over the illegal alcohol limit of 0.08 BAC, according to NDOT records. Intoxication slows reaction times to avoid accidents and makes the brain more vulnerable to traumatic injury during crashes due to the initial damage from alcohol toxicity.
Riders also often wrongly assume helmets increase the risk of a neck injury during accidents if heads are stabilized as torsos move violently. However, studies by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found helmeted riders had lower overall neck trauma compared to those without helmets, who suffered more violent head impacts leading to extreme neck movement.
Treatment and Recovery Options for Motorcycle Accident TBI Victims
Recovering from a TBI starts with prompt emergency treatment and a multidisciplinary rehabilitation plan covering:
- Monitoring intracranial pressure and brain oxygen levels
- Prescription medications to relieve swelling, inflammation, and pain
- Physical therapy for muscle rehabilitation and coordinating movements
- Occupational therapy for recovering everyday abilities like self-care, household, and job-related tasks
- Speech therapy for swallowed speech, readable handwriting
- Neuropsychological testing and cognitive retraining
- Counselling for coping with TBIs mental health effects
With dedication and expert assistance, mild TBIs often fully resolve, while more severe cases can still regain stability and independence. Support groups also empower motorcycle accident survivors living with lasting TBI disabilities.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Crash in Nebraska
Being injured in a motorcycle accident can be a terrifying, overwhelming experience. As you deal with emergency medical issues, here are some steps to take for the best legal and financial outcome while recovering:
Seek Prompt Medical Care
Rushing to an emergency room or urgent care clinic should be the top priority after any collision. Traumatic brain and other invisible internal injuries often show delayed symptoms, so get checked out even for minor spills. The official medical records detailing diagnoses, treatments, and prognosis outlook are crucial for supporting injury claims later.
Report the Motorcycle Accident
Contact the police to officially document the crash. Ask any witnesses present to give statements to the police, too. The accident report indicates important factors like vehicles involved, driving conditions, citations issued, etc. Review it for accuracy regarding fault when copies are available later.
Speak to Eyewitnesses
The scene witnesses can provide third-party confirmation of what occurred, as officers may primarily get just the drivers’ versions when compiling reports. So, whenever feasible, respectfully get the contact info plus brief accounts from anyone who saw the accident unfold. They may support negligence claims against the other motorist to insurance agencies or courts down the road.
Consult an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Perhaps most vital – retain a motorcycle accident lawyer experienced specifically in bike collisions as soon as your health permits. They understand two-wheeler accident complexities, including injury mechanisms unique to riders and negligence arguments favoring them under state traffic laws. An attorney immediately gets to work investigating factors like unsafe road defects, vehicle defects contributing to the crash, whether intoxication or distractions like cellphone use played a role, exactly how negligent the other driver acted, the applicability of traffic citations to prove recklessness, etc. These facilitate negotiations with insurers and strengthen injury claims or lawsuits down the line.
Having expert counsel also maximizes access to the financial support essential for recovering from TBIs or other trauma through settlements or court damage awards. Attorneys economically quantify earning impairment, healthcare costs, and other accident harms to demand just compensation. Don’t struggle alone – let a trusted lawyer smooth matters, so you can focus your energy on healing.
If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident, contact us today. We have offices in 32 locations in 19 states, including Nebraska, Florida, and Iowa. Call now for a free consultation on (888) 477-0597.