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Motorcycle Accidents and Brain Anatomy: How Do I Really Know If I Have Permanent Brain Damage From The Accident?

The number of motorcycles on the road have increased creating more motorcycle accidents than ever before. These motorcycle accidents are not what you would consider run of the mill accidents as a motorcycle driver has less protection during a crash. These types of accidents are catastrophic or even fatal. Victims of motorcycle accidents often have their lives changed forever due to traumatic brain injury (TBI), especially if they are not wearing a helmet. Serious head injuries and long-term disabilities from crashes are creating huge medical costs. Because Personal injury cases of this type can be very complex, you need experienced Motorcycle accident attorneys to handle them successfully. Be wary when an insurance company representing the other driver contacts you and asks you to give them a statement on how the accident occurred. A recorded statement could damage your position. The best thing to do is not to speak with the other driver's insurance company. You need help from an experienced Motorcycle accident attorney. The Motorcycle accident attorneys at the Chester Law Group in Ohio understand the serious injuries sustained from motorcycle accidents along with the unique safety issues. The Chester Law Group can be contacted at 800-218-4243 or visit their website at http://www.chesterlaw.com.

Traumatic Brain Injury

The signs and symptoms of traumatic brain injury ultimately depend on which structures are damaged in the brain. If multiple areas of the brain are injured, you will see many different symptoms. Brain symptoms that are common in motorcycle accidents include:

  • Anxiety and/or depression
  • Blurry vision
  • Behavioral changes such as sudden urges, irritability, inappropriate laughter
  • Problems concentrating
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Abnormal body movements and/or lack of proper balance
  • Difficulty finding words or understanding speech
  • Memory loss
  • Seizures
  • Sleep problems

The brain is the main part of the central nervous system and controls all body functions. It is surrounded by the cranium or skull (bone) for protection. The brain is largely made up of fat so it is a soft organ that is surrounded by 3 membranes known as the dura mater, arachnoid and pia mater. These 3 membranes hold the brain together like a plastic wrap. Between the arachnoid and pia is the arachnoid space which contains blood vessels that carry blood to and from heart. Injury to these vessels due to trauma can cause blood clots to form putting pressure on the delicate brain tissue. This can occur in an accident because your brain continues to move forward and crashes into the membranes and skull and then crashes backwards on your skull.

The lower part of the brain known as the brain stem passes through a hole at the base of the skull and is continuous with the spinal column. This is actually the back of your neck. Many injuries occur here with serious repercussions. The brain stem is a major fiber tract that carries signals to and from all parts of the body. The brain stem also regulates consciousness, fatigue, heart rate, and blood pressure. Damage to the brain stem can cause loss of consciousness which indicates you have a concussion. Behind the brain stem is the cerebellum (means little brain) which is responsible for balance in gravity so that you can walk upright without falling over. Damage here will make it difficult for you to walk without falling over.

The largest part of the brain is the cerebral cortex (cortex means outer part) and is divided into two parts. One part is the left brain and the other is the right brain. The left brain controls the right side of the body and the right brain controls the left side of the body. The left brain is primarily involved with language and the right brain regulates nonverbal language, spatial skills such a math, music and art. If you have damage to the left brain you would see problems with speech and movement on the right side of the body. If you have right brain damage, you would expect to see problems with left arm and leg movement and deficits in your ability to handle music, math and art. These are just examples of general brain function in terms of left versus right brain. However, the cortex is further broken up into functional areas known as lobes. Follow the list below.

  • You have a left and right prefrontal lobe. This is behind your forehead. This is responsible for social behaviors and complex abstract thoughts. Damage here can bring about inappropriate social behaviors such as urinating in public for one. You can also experience a lack in emotional control.
  • Next you have the left and right frontal lobes and these lobes are directly behind the prefrontal lobes. There are many behaviors associated here but certainly the frontal eye fields are worth mentioning. This is your mind's eye. You have the ability to see images in your brain like a photograph. This is important for understanding complex thoughts and integrating them. Damage here is devastating to intellectual activities and imaging. This area is also responsible for motor output of the brain that controls all your body's movement.
  • Next we have the left and right temporal lobes which are at ear level and just below the frontal lobes. This area is responsible for memory control, speech and speech comprehension (language). If this area is damaged you will have any number of problems with speech.
  • The left and right parietal lobes are located on the top of the head and behind the Frontal lobes and is the sensory input area for the entire body. Damage here would look like a sensory neglect. You might experience loss of pain, temperature and flutter vibration. In other words, no sensations coming from your body will be received by the cortex.
  • Next we have the left and right occipital lobes which are found at the back of the head and are responsible for visual information coming from the eyes and local processing to make sense out of what your are seeing.

There are other areas of the brain underneath the cortex that serve very important function that can be damaged with traumatic brain injury. These include the Thalamus, Hypothalamus, Pons and Medulla. These are too involved to discuss here. I think this should give you some idea of how complex the brain is and depending on where your injury is there can be many behavior deficits involved. You could have diffuse damage (pretty much all over) or have focal damage which is found in a specific region. Whether your motorcycle accident is minor or severe, if you are experiencing the symptoms listed above you need to get a brain scan and as soon as possible. A CT scan can only be done effectively within 72 hours of the trauma. After that you need a MRI and/or Pet scan done. This the only way to see inside the complex brain structure and get you on your way to rehabilitation.

Brain tissue has some ability to repair itself if the damage is not severe but it cannot replace itself. Minor damage can heal while severe damage tends to become progressive and get worse with time. There are reports that estimate that over a lifetime, it can cost on average between $600,000 and $1,875,000 to care for a survivor of severe traumatic brain injury. Of course, the medical bills can be much higher for catastrophic brain injury.

If you have been seriously hurt in a motorcycle accident and experienced traumatic brain injury and are experiencing brain dysfunction, you may be entitled to financial compensation for pain and suffering, medical bills and lost wages. These types of accidents often involve long-term medical costs and rehabilitation so you need to consider continued medical care and loss of your ability to earn wages in the future. The Chester Law Group is a Personal injury law firm experienced in motorcycle accidents involving traumatic brain injury and can guide you through the Personal injury claim process. Also, remember that it is important that you consult with an attorney before you attend a Defense Medical Exam (DME) and don't ask a doctor for advice. Your Personal injury lawyer will advise you every step of the way. Call the attorneys at Chester Law Group today to get the help you want from people that you can trust at 800-218-4243 or visit their website at www.ChesterLaw.com.

- Susan Ardizzoni Ph.D.

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