What you’ll learn from this article:
- Motorcycles pose a high risk of head injuries, especially in states without universal helmet laws like Kentucky.
- Wearing a helmet can reduce the severity of head injuries, but it doesn’t guarantee protection against skull fractures.
- Victims of motorcycle accidents with head injuries, including skull fractures, may be eligible for compensation through legal action.
Motorcycles may bring people a lot of joy, but they are also very dangerous. Because Kentucky doesn’t have a universal helmet law, many Kentucky motorcyclists choose to ride without one. This results in hundreds of head injuries and many fatalities in Kentucky every year.
There is no doubt about it: just like seat belts, helmets save lives.
Unfortunately, wearing a helmet does not prevent the risk of head injuries. But helmets nearly guarantee that such an injury will be less severe. If safety were the only factor, wearing a helmet would be automatic.
Regardless if you are wearing a helmet or not, if you have experienced a head injury in a motorcycle crash and have not yet sought out medical care, please do so right away! Head injuries are serious and quick attention can make a meaningful difference.
What is a Skull Fracture?
The brain can be injured regardless of whether your skull is fractured, but such fractures bring their own set of problems. A skull fracture is defined as an injury that involves a break or a crack in the cranial bone (aka the skull).
There are a few different kinds of skull fractures: Closed, Open, Depressed, and Basal.
A closed fracture occurs when the skull bone is broken, but the skin on the head is not cut, bleeding, or in any way open.
An open fracture, also called a compound fracture of the skull, is the name for an injury where the broken bone protrudes from the skin.
A depressed skull fracture happens when the damaged skull sinks inward, often extending into the brain cavity.
A basal fracture occurs at any point along the base of the skull, which means this fracture shows up near the spine, nose, eyes, or ears.
Other Types of Head Injuries from a Motorcycle Accident
Skull fractures are not the only head injuries in a bike crash.
Other head injuries may include:
- Contusion (bruise)
- Hematoma (bleeding between the skull and brain)
- Coup and contrecoup injury
- Diffuse axonal injury
- Subdural hematoma
- Epidural hematoma
- Subarachnoid hemorrhage
- Cerebral edema
- Second impact syndrome
- Post-concussion syndrome
Symptoms of a Head Injury from Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accident victims should always seek medical attention if there is any risk of a head injury. Even if you feel like you can walk away from the accident unharmed, you may have injuries that you don’t immediately feel. The old adage is true: it’s better to be safe than sorry.
How do you know if you cracked your skull? Pay attention to these symptoms, but most importantly, check with a doctor:
- Bruising, especially behind the ears or under the eyes
- Change in your pupils
- Slurred speech
- Loss of consciousness
- Severe headache
- Neurological symptoms
- Additional symptoms as diagnosed by a medical provider
Can You Sue for Damages Related to a Head Injury?
In Kentucky, accident victims can sue negligent parties who were responsible for their injuries and losses. That includes any injuries related to a motorcycle wreck. Motorcyclists are often missed by drivers that are instinctively on the lookout for cars and trucks. We have represented many people who were lawfully riding in their lane only to have someone pull directly into their path. This often causes the motorcyclist to “lay” the bike down in hopes of minimizing the impact.
A motorcycle accident attorney can help you determine your best course of action, which may include:
- Negotiating with insurance companies for a more substantial payout
- Filing a lawsuit against one or more negligent parties
- Suing a city for failing to maintain safe roads or proper signage
- Seeking damages for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering
- Holding vehicle manufacturers accountable for defects
- Advising you on legal options and strategy
- Reviewing police reports and conducting an investigation
- Determining all liable parties
- Maximizing compensation for injuries/damages
Can a Motorcyclist Sue if They Weren’t Wearing a Helmet in Kentucky?
The law in Kentucky mandates that motorcyclists under the age of 21 must wear a helmet. Otherwise, helmet use is recommended but ultimately optional.
Riding without a helmet is not illegal and you can pursue a claim regardless of whether you wear one.
However, riding without a helmet can negatively affect your case if the injury is to your head. This is so because your decision not to wear a helmet means that you could bear some responsibility for your injuries. Kentucky uses a comparative negligence approach to personal injury claims, which means that fault can be divided between two or more parties. The Defense will certainly argue that any injury to the head could have been avoided by use of a helmet. The same is true for unseatbelted occupants of cars and trucks.
This is one of the most important reasons that you should work with a motorcycle accident attorney. Your attorney can advocate on your behalf, demonstrating to the insurance company, a judge, or even a jury that the other party’s negligence far outweighs the fact that you weren’t wearing a helmet. A good lawyer will know how to use the facts and law to enhance the percentage assessed to the other party.
What are some of the potential damages in a motorcycle accident claim?
You can seek compensation for both monetary and non-monetary damages after a motorcycle accident.
- Medical expenses
- Emergency transportation costs
- Rehabilitation costs
- Therapy expenses
- Missed work
- Lost capacity to work
- Permanent disability
- Pain and suffering
McCoy & Sparks – Premier Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
At McCoy & Sparks, we stand with motorcycle accident victims.
Contact the motorcycle accident attorneys at McCoy & Sparks for a free consultation. We will talk about your case, review your unique circumstances, and share our legal recommendations for the best next steps.
And don’t forget: we don’t get paid unless we earn you a settlement or court award. There is no risk when it comes to working with us.
We help Kentucky’s motorcycle accident victims get the compensation that will put them on the path to recovery. Schedule a free consultation today.