A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is common following a motorcycle accident. If your loved one has suffered a brain injury, prompt medical care and legal assistance offer the best possible outcome.
Diagnosing a Brain Injury
It is hard to predict the effects of a brain injury from a motorcycle accident. The force of impact, location of the injury, and injured persons' age and general health will play a role in the prognosis.
Some immediate symptoms that suggest a brain injury include headache, dizziness, disorientation, and confusion. Loss of consciousness often provides an indication of the seriousness of a brain injury. With a mild injury, loss of consciousness does not occur or lasts for a few seconds or minutes. With a moderate injury, loss of consciousness occurs for up to 24 hours. With a severe injury, there is a loss of consciousness for more than 24 hours.
A prompt medical evaluation is vital whenever someone has experienced head trauma. Doctors can diagnose a suspected brain injury with a physical exam that includes checking the ability to follow directions and move the eyes and limbs. Imaging tests such as a CT scan, PET scan, or an MRI can confirm which parts of the brain are affected.
Treating a Brain Injury
Immediate treatment for a brain injury includes medications and/or surgical intervention to address the bleeding, bruising, and tearing in the brain. Prompt medical treatment also prevents swelling, which can cause additional damage by pushing the uninjured parts of the brain into the skull.
Once the patient is stabilized, a care plan is developed to help him retain as much function as possible. This may include:
- Occupational therapy
- Physical therapy
- Speech and language therapy
- Psychology or psychiatric services
The rehabilitation process can take several months or even years, depending on the severity of the injury.
Lasting Effects of a TBI
Traumatic brain injuries frequently leave lasting impairments. Individuals may have disabilities involving:
- Thinking, reasoning, and memory
- Sensory processing
- Mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression
- Behavioral changes such as aggressive or inappropriate social behavior
- General personality changes
These impairments may affect an individual's ability to continue to work and/or live independently. In the most serious cases, someone with a TBI may require 24/7 nursing care.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim
If the motorcycle accident that resulted in a brain injury is attributed to another driver's negligence, the injured person can seek compensation via a personal injury claim. The settlement can include:
- Medical costs
- Anticipated future medical care related to a disability caused by the accident
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning potential related to a disability caused by the accident
- Pain and suffering
If the injured person was not wearing a helmet in accordance with Louisiana's motorcycle helmet law, he will be found partially at fault for the accident. The resulting settlement will be proportionally reduced to reflect his liability for the head injury.
In most cases, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is one year from the date of the accident. However, the case should not be settled until the injured person has reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). This is the point at which his condition has reasonably stabilized, and care providers can accurately predict future medical needs.
If your loved one has suffered a TBI after a motorcycle accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can gather evidence to prove liability, document existing damages, locate expert witnesses to predict the future costs of TBI-related disabilities, and negotiate with the at-fault driver's insurance company to obtain the highest possible settlement. Since personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, there is no upfront cost for representation throughout the process of resolving the claim.
Neblett, Beard & Arsenault has extensive experience assisting Louisiana residents who've been injured in motorcycle accidents caused by negligent drivers. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.