Wearing a helmet when you ride your bicycle could offer your best chance of reducing the risk of traumatic brain injury if you do suffer a serious accident. Unfortunately, wearing a helmet may reduce the severity of your injuries, will not eliminate them.
Traumatic brain injury can cause serious challenges that may impact your ability to work, enjoy time with friends and loved ones, and engage in the activities you usually enjoy. The symptoms can vary from person to person, depending on the site and severity of the injury.
1. Memory Loss
When most people think of traumatic brain injury, they imagine long-term memory loss: the kind of loss portrayed in many popular works of fiction. The victim usually loses his long-term memories at the beginning of the story, then slowly regains memories over time as the story progresses.
For victims with a traumatic brain injury after a bicycle accident, however, memories may never entirely return. Just as frustrating as the loss of long-term memories can be, many victims may lose normal short-term memory function.
One minute, they walk into a room with a purpose in mind, the next, they have no idea what they intended to do. They open kitchen cabinets looking for a bowl, but cannot remember where to find the bowl or even what cabinets they have already checked. They may forget what someone has said to them even moments after hearing it or struggle to put sets of instructions together. These short-term memory complications can make it difficult to function in a work environment or even to take care of normal self-care tasks.
2. Struggles With Focus and Concentration
In addition to memory challenges, many victims who suffer head injuries in bicycle accidents struggle with challenges in focus and concentration. They may have trouble keeping their minds on a specific task long enough to complete it or become distracted very easily. Many victims find it incredibly difficult to return to work in an office environment, especially if they must perform tedious tasks.
Concentration can become particularly difficult when engaged in a task they do not enjoy, but many victims even struggle to focus on activities that they do enjoy. For example, maintaining the concentration to watch a movie, read a book, or play a video game could feel impossible following a head injury.
3. Trouble With Creative Thinking Tasks
Depending on the area of the brain affected by the accident, many victims with traumatic brain injury may have trouble with creative problem-solving or other creative tasks. For example, sitting down to write a blog post or put together a marketing campaign could be more difficult than before.
Some victims may temporarily or permanently lose the ability to think creatively or to come up with unique solutions to the challenges in front of them. For many victims, this interferes significantly with their ability to take care of emergencies at work or work in a customer service environment.
4. Challenges With Emotional Regulation
When people with head injuries suffer an injury to the part of the brain that regulates emotion, they may have trouble with their emotional responses. Some people discover that they have trouble feeling emotion normally. They may feel like a wall stands between them and those normal emotions. Other people may have extreme emotional reactions: flying off the handle at a spouse or child who has performed an act that caused relatively minor inconvenience, for example.
In addition to extreme emotions or changes in emotional intensity, some people with traumatic brain injury may experience emotions seemingly out of nowhere, with no obvious stimulus. These mood swings can make it very difficult for these individuals to interact normally with others around them. They can interfere with relationships, especially if the other party fails to understand where the emotional challenges come from.
5. Increased Depression and Anxiety
Many victims with traumatic brain injury suffer from higher rates of depression and anxiety. Injuries themselves can cause problems with emotional regulation, including an impact on the chemicals that usually regulate mood. Victims can experience further difficulties associated with traumatic brain injury, making it difficult for them to move forward with their lives, increasing overall depression or anxiety levels. In extreme cases, victims who suffer from anxiety may have a hard time leaving the house or socializing, participating in normal activities, or taking care of unfamiliar tasks.
6. Personality Changes
Some people who suffer a traumatic brain injury in bicycle accidents suffer permanent personality changes related to their injuries. Sometimes, people who had relationships with them in the past feel as though they barely recognize those accident victims. The victim may no longer react the same way, have the same sense of humor, or have the same likes and dislikes. Often, this can lead to changed and even lost relationships, especially if the victim also has emotional regulation challenges.
7. Physical Changes
In addition to the cognitive and emotional symptoms associated with traumatic brain injury, some victims find themselves dealing with long-term physical effects. Head injuries can cause ringing in the ears, nausea and vomiting, or vertigo.
Most notably, head injuries can cause significant changes in sleep patterns. Some victims with head injuries sleep more often as a result of their injuries. Others suffer from ongoing insomnia, which can lead to an exacerbation of the other symptoms associated with traumatic brain injury. Bicycle accident victims may also have changes in their sensory perceptions, including the sense of taste or touch.
Even after a minor traumatic brain injury, many victims will suffer from lifelong impacts.
If you suffer a head injury in a bicycle accident due to the negligence of another party, contact an experienced bicycle accident attorney as soon after your accident as possible to gain a better understanding of how much compensation you deserve for your injuries and how to handle your claim.