Traumatic Brain Injury: One of the most serious injuries related to Bicycle and Motorcycle Accidents

June 3, 2013

Traumatic Brain Injury in Rhode IslandTraumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is called the “silent epidemic” because it is not well recognized or often well diagnosed but, yet it is estimated to affect approximately 1,500,000 Americans as well as thousands of Rhode Island, Massachusetts and California Residents every year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this results in tens of thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations every year in the U.S. Even cases which are deemed “mild” (clinically defined as a loss of consciousness for anything less than 30 minutes) can have serious long term side effects like memory loss and loss of other cognitive functions.

Why is head trauma one of the most common injuries sustained by bike riders and motorcyclists?

When a person riding a bicycle or motorcycle is struck by a larger motor vehicle such as an automobile, truck or sport utility vehicle, one of the most common scenarios is an ejectment of the biker and a collision of their body with either the vehicle, the pavement or some other fixed object.  Unfortunately, this impact is sustained by the head in many of these instances.  The dynamic from there is that the brain impacts with the skull even in cases where the skull is not fractured.  While helmets lessen the effect of this type of blow to the head, they don’t always prevent concussions.  In fact, recent studies by the U.S. Product Safety Commission indicate that bike-related concussions have actually increased significantly in the past 10 years despite an increased use of bike helmets.  In the case of motorcyclists, the helmets approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation, provide a significantly higher rate of protection, however, given the rates of speed and potential for a higher velocity head impact, the incidence of TBI in motorcycle accident cases is even higher.

How does a personal injury attorney obtain evidence of TBI?

If TBI causes major loss of neurological functioning such as loss of speech or movement, this can be easily demonstrated to a jury.  Photographs of the injury or property damage caused by head impact such as blood stains or a shattered windshield are also very powerful, persuasive tools.  However, trying to determine whether or not a client has sustained a mild to moderate brain injury following a bike or motorcycle collision can sometimes be more difficult.  The most common form of medical evidence usually comes in neuropsychological testing to analyze and confirm functional deficits.  This is usually done through an expert retained by the lawyer who will also review the emergency and other records including any diagnostic studies such as head MRI s and heat CT scans. If you were involved in a motorcycle accident in MA, RI or California please contact a personal injury Attorney in your state.

Why is it important to seek prompt medical attention and to promptly seek legal assistance following a bike or motorcycle head injury?

A brain injury can cause serious long-term consequences.  This can include the inability to remember things or solve problems, depression, inability to control one’s temper or manage stressful situations and many other emotional distress related symptoms.  This can affect a person’s ability to work and earn income as well as their relationships with children, spouses or other persons.   This is why it is crucial to  seek prompt diagnosis and treatment for head trauma.  If the trauma was caused by a bike or motorcycle accident that was not the fault of the injured party, it is also crucially important to consult with and retain a personal injury attorney promptly following the injury so that they can begin to assist the person with seeking medical help, documenting the incident with photographs of the injury or having the accident or involved vehicles inspected and photos taken, and in compiling all of this evidence for later use to maximize the value of any settlement or jury award.  The longer one waits to seek either medical help or legal help the greater the chances that they will not completely determine the extent of the injury or the amount of money that is reasonable and necessary to compensate the victim for their loss.


Faul M, Xu L, Wald MM, Coronado VG. Traumatic Brain Injury in the United States: Emergency Department Visits, Hospitalizations and Deaths 2002–2006. Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control; 2010
Author:  Steven M. Sweat is a personal injury attorney in Los Angeles, California.  He has successfully prosecuted hundreds of bike accident claims and motorcycle collision cases over the past 17 years.
This article was  reprinted with permission by Attorney David Slepkow  401-437-1100 who is licensed to practice law in Rhode Island (RI) and Massachusetts (MA)
Legal Notice per Rules of Professional Responsibility: The Rhode Island Supreme Court and Mass. Supreme Judicial Court license all lawyers and attorneys in the general practice of law, but does not license or certify any lawyer / attorney as an expert or specialist in any field of practice. While this firm maintains joint responsibility, most cases of this type are referred to other attorneys for principle responsibility.