Most traumatic brain injury stories these days focus on two main groups: young athletes and returning military veterans. Spurred by lawsuits, new research, and advocacy efforts, there seems to be a glut of information and awareness of these serious injuries affecting football players, soccer players, hockey players, and service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. This spreading of information is a good thing, because the consequences of these injuries in these contexts have gone with little notice for far too long.
However, it is important not to forget those situations that actually cause the most overall traumatic brain injuries for the public at large: accidents on the road. Our Chicago brain injury attorneys know that car, truck, and bicycle accidents are consistently the leading cause of head injuries among all demographics, but particularly for children. Of course, the main way to prevent these injuries is to prevent the accidents. That includes abiding by all of the basic rules of safe driving, including the avoidance of distractions, properly following all street signs, and use of safety equipment like seat belts and child restraints.
In the bicycle accident context, wearing a helmet remains the single most important thing that cyclists can do to avoid more serious harm resulting from a traumatic brain injury. An editorial in the News Press by a self-proclaimed “head case” makes this same point. The author explains that he has suffered four concussions in his life. One of those was caused by a fall from a bike that left him unconscious for about 18 hours.
It is only recently that medical professionals have made clear pronouncements on the effects that seemingly innocuous head injuries can have. Parts of the brain can be permanently destroyed from a few concussions-or even just one. That is why it remains important for all local bike riders to ensure that their head is protected at all times. No matter how careful one is when cycling, there is a chance that another’s negligence might result in a collision. Of course, unlike those in cars and trucks, bike riders have much less built in protection. When a bicyclists is involved in an accident it is virtually guaranteed that they will be thrown off their back. That means that head contact with a hard substance is incredibly likely. If the rider does not have a helmet, then the damage is often quite severe. Risking this harm is never worth it.
Each Illinois brain injury attorney at our firm works with victims hurt in these situations. In a perfect world, there would be no need for a helmet because everyone would travel safely and no one would get in an accident. We do not live in that world, and so basic safety precautions like helmets are necessary. However, if you are hurt in one of these accidents-whether you were wearing a helmet or not-please remember that you have legal rights. The law demands that travelers exercise proper caution when on the road. When they do not, and they cause harm to another, the law demands that they pay redress for the harm that was caused.
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