Motorcycle accidents can be very traumatic due to the speeds involved and force of impact. When motorcyclists are ejected from their bikes, their heads can hit the ground. When this happens—even when helmets are worn—the brain can violently shake around inside the skull. As a result, bleeding outside and inside the brain can occur due to ruptured arteries and blood vessels.
Once blood collects, it is known as a hematoma. Blood that pools together can place pressure on the brain tissue, reducing blood flow to the brain. Bleeding on the brain, whether it is inside the brain tissue or not, can be life-threatening. This is why it is critical that motorcycle accident victims are aware of the different types of brain hemorrhages and their symptoms.
When trauma to the brain occurs within the skull but outside of the brain tissue, it is known as an extra-axial hemorrhage. There are three main types of extra-axial hemorrhage, including:
- Subarachnoid hemorrhage. Trauma and a skull fracture are often the cause of a subarachnoid hemorrhage, which occurs in the subarachnoid space (the space above the lower layer and below the middle layer of membrane surrounding the brain). The symptoms of this type of injury are a severe headache that comes on suddenly, as well as vomiting, confusion, and seizures. This type of head injury is considered a medical emergency that requires neurosurgery. Even with treatment, many victims live with chronic headaches or neurological and cognitive impairments.
- Epidural hemorrhage. When lacerations to arteries occur as a result of head trauma, bleeding between the brain’s outer layer of membrane and below the skull bone can take place. As a result, pressure can be placed on delicate brain tissue, causing an intense headache, dilated pupils, and possible unconsciousness. If surgery is conducted quickly, people with epidural hemorrhages can make a recovery.
- Subdural hemorrhage. When veins are torn from head trauma, bleeding can occur; however, bleeding from veins is much slower than arteries, so symptoms of this serious injury may not be apparent for days after a motorcycle accident. The bleeding takes place above the middle layer of membrane and below the outer layer, and the seriousness of the injury will depend on the amount of bleeding; however, subdural hemorrhages are almost always fatal.
When trauma occurs within the brain tissue, it is known as an intra-axial hemorrhage. The two main types are:
- Intraparenchymal hemorrhage. This type of brain hemorrhage is a bleed inside the brain tissue. When blood pools in the brain after a head trauma, it can cause severe brain damage that can result in a serious disability or death. The symptoms are similar to other brain hemorrhages, including a severe headache and vomiting, but this type of hemorrhage is almost always considered a medical emergency because serious brain damage can result.
- Intraventricular hemorrhage. When trauma occurs within the ventricular system of the brain, blood can pool in the ventricles. Symptoms usually include a sudden onset of headache, nausea, vomiting, altered mental state and stroke-like symptoms. An open craniotomy may be required to treat the brain injury; however, the prognosis is rarely good.
Because many of these types of hemorrhages have similar symptoms, it is best to seek emergency medical treatment following any type of serious motorcycle accident for a CT scan and MRI scan to look for bleeding in and around the brain. Only with proper diagnosis can a brain injury be accurately treated.
Treatment of brain hemorrhages will depend on the location and severity of the brain bleed, but medications and brain surgery are typically required. Unfortunately, many motorcycle accident victims who suffer brain hemorrhages will have to live with permanent disabilities.
If you or a loved one has suffered one of the types of brain hemorrhages mentioned above or any other type of head trauma as a result of another driver’s negligence, you need to seek compensation for your life-long losses. To learn about your legal rights, contact us for a free consultation at (301) 942-9118.