Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are always serious and often deadly. It’s very important that people take all the precautions that they can to prevent them. Although road accidents are not the only reason why people suffer from TBIs, it’s the most common cause by far. As per the NHTSA, motorcyclists, cyclists, and skaters are at the highest risk of suffering traumatic brain injuries in automotive accidents.
Helmets are seen as the best possible precaution that riders can take to protect themselves against potential TBIs on the road, but are they really that effective? Can wearing a helmet really be enough to prevent traumatic brain injuries? Are all helmets equally protective? Let’s answer those questions and more next.
Can Helmets Prevent Traumatic Brain Injuries?
Yes, helmets can indeed prevent traumatic brain injuries because that’s precisely what they are designed and engineered to do. How effective a helmet turns out to be in protecting the wearer’s head will depend on variables such as:
- The kind of impact received.
- The force of the impact.
- The number of impacts, if applicable.
- The location(s) of the impact(s).
- The type of helmet they were wearing.
- The construction, rating, and design of the helmet.
- The kind of vehicle(s) involved in the accident.
It must be understood that even the best full-face helmet in the world cannot guarantee full protection against TBIs in every potential scenario, but they will always and invariably lessen the impact. Therefore, adequately certified helmets will always lower your chances of suffering brain trauma while riding.
What Kind of Helmets are Most Effective in Preventing TBIs?
Full-face helmets that meet the applicable US road safety codes are most effective in protecting the head against traumatic brain injuries. The helmets protect our entire head from external traumas and cushion the skull against jarring effects. Even in extreme accidents, full face helmets can and regularly do save people from permanent brain damage and death.
Broken chins and jaws are also common injuries along with TBIs because the jutting jawbone is the most vulnerable section of a human head. In fact, shattered jawbones and broken teeth can themselves lead to deadly penetrating TBIs. This happens when bone shards and/or broken teeth get lodged into the brain during the impact(s). The protective chin strap and chin bar you will find built into full face helmets also provide advanced protection against chin and jaw injuries.
What Kind of Helmets are Least Effective in Preventing TBIs?
As far as helmet design is concerned, half helmets commonly worn by cyclists and skaters provide only minimal protection against head trauma. As any bicycle accident injury lawyer will tell you based on their client list, cyclists are highly vulnerable to head trauma because they usually wear half helmets. Nevertheless, they can still provide decent protection against low impact accidents.
On the other hand, a helmet that does not conform to the US standards for road safety will prove to be least effective in preventing TBIs, even in low impact accidents. If a helmet does not have the necessary safety certifications, it means that the design, construction, and materials have not been tested against expected low/high impact situations. A genuine helmet safety standard certification guarantees that its design and construction has indeed been tested in a wide range of potential, low/high impact scenarios. Uncertified helmets must be avoided because they cannot provide the level of protection that helmets are expected to.
How to Know If a Helmet Managed to Protect You Against TBI
Wearing the right kind of helmet, being cautious on the road, and obeying traffic rules can drastically reduce your chances of ever receiving a traumatic brain injury. Unfortunately, it’s also true that even the safest riding practices cannot completely rule out your chance of getting hit on the road. Sometimes, they happen simply because someone else was reckless on the road.
Helmets will always soften the blow, but that may not always be enough to completely protect the accident victim from suffering brain trauma. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to see a doctor immediately after the accident. Even if a TBI was previously ruled out but you started experiencing typical symptoms later, follow up on that with additional checkups. The symptoms will vary, but there are a few common ones to be wary of such as:
- Headaches, nausea, and sudden loss of consciousness.
- Impaired speech, vision, hearing, and balance.
- Impaired senses which include but are not limited to the sense of smell, touch, and taste.
- Abnormal brain fog, confusion, and loss of memory.
- Impaired motor coordination.
- Depression, anxiety, insomnia, mood swings, and personality changes.
Do not hesitate to consult with a physician as soon as you notice any of the above. Keep an eye on your overall health for at least a few weeks from the day of the accident to detect late symptoms as soon as they appear. Timely medical intervention can save your brain from permanent damage. Also, save all your medical documents as they will be crucial for insurance and compensation claims.
What are Your Legal Options if You have TBI?
If you or someone close to you is exhibiting any of the usual symptoms of long-term TBI, know that there are legal options at your disposal. You have the right to claim compensation for the harm caused. Reach out and consult with our top personal injury attorneys free of charge. In fact, we at Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys do not charge our clients unless we actually win the case for them.
It’s a sad fact that TBIs in road accidents often lead to death, but it would still be an instance of wrongful death. In such situations, the deceased’s surviving family members could be entitled to even greater compensations for their grievous loss. Consult with our wrongful death and car accident attorneys to know more about the processes involved and the potential of your case.