Riding a motorcycle can be thrilling but comes with serious risks. The injuries sustained after an accident are often devastating, even at low speeds.
Motorcycle riders lack the protective shields that drivers and passengers have inside large vehicles. As a result, motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to severe or even fatal injuries after a collision.
The most common accident damages involve trauma to the head, neck and spine, chest, abdomen, and extremities.
Understanding the types of injuries unique to motorcycle crashes, their severity, and factors contributing to increased risk is the first step for riders to prevent crashes from happening.
Traumatic Brain Injuries: The #1 Threat to Motorcyclists
Without question, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are the most common and catastrophic head injury among motorcyclists involved in an accident. However, helmeted riders face lower risks of suffering a TBI in a crash compared to those not wearing a motorcycle helmet.
The rotational forces applied to an unprotected head in a motorcycle collision frequently lead to extensive damage to brain tissue. TBIs encompass everything from concussions to severe injuries with bleeding and swelling of the brain.
The consequences of moderate to severe TBIs include:
- Loss of consciousness.
- Cognitive deficits like impaired memory, concentration, judgment, and problem-solving.
- Personality changes and emotional instability.
- Persistent headaches and migraines.
- Vision and hearing problems.
Even a concussion that only briefly knocks a motorcyclist unconscious can leave lasting post-concussion syndrome issues like vertigo, insomnia, mood disorders, and reduced cognitive function.
Riders who suffer traumatic brain injuries often face a lifetime of medical treatment and rehab, permanent disability, and reduced life expectancy in some cases.
Spinal Cord Injuries: Potentially Resulting in Paralysis
When a motorcyclist collides with a larger vehicle or fixed object at highway speeds, the shearing forces applied to the spine can cause traumatic spinal cord injuries.
Riders also frequently experience neck injuries that damage the delicate spinal cord tissues. Motorcyclists hospitalized after an accident may suffer spinal fractures, ligament or nerve damage, or outright cord transection.
Common spinal injuries for riders include:
- Fractured vertebrae in the neck or back.
- Ruptured discs.
- Nerve root damage causing radiating pain.
- Partial or complete paralysis if the cord is badly damaged.
After emergency spinal surgery and fixation with rods, plates, or screws, motorcyclists with spinal cord trauma face lengthy inpatient rehab to regain functionality, manage neuropathic pain, and adapt to using assistive devices or wheelchairs if paralyzed. Even with partial paralysis, a spinal injury can forever take away a rider’s independence.
Neck & Back Injuries: Resulting in Chronic Pain
Beyond spinal fractures leading to cord injuries, motorcycle mishaps frequently cause sprains, whiplash injuries, torn ligaments and muscles, herniated discs, and nerve impingements in the neck and back. When a rider is thrown from their motorcycle or impacted at high speed, the aftermath often includes excruciating chronic neck and back pain.
Repeated neck and back surgeries, steroid injections in damaged joints, radiofrequency nerve ablations, and powerful narcotic pain medications often provide little relief. For some unlucky motorcyclists, ongoing intractable neck and back pain leaves them unable to work and emotionally devastated.
Chest & Abdominal Trauma: Leading to Internal Bleeding
The human body cannot withstand the crushing force trauma experienced when a motorcycle collides with an SUV, truck, barrier, tree, pole, or other solid object. Riders who take that extreme blunt force to their chest or midsection frequently suffer life-threatening injuries, including:
- Flail chest with multiple rib fractures.
- Splenic rupture causing internal abdominal bleeding.
- Liver laceration with risk of deadly bleeding.
- Traumatic aortic rupture, which is often instantly fatal.
- Diaphragmatic hernias that trap organs.
Many motorcyclists require emergency surgery to stop internal bleeding in their chest or abdomen, along with extended ICU care. Surviving the initial impact is no guarantee that vital organs won’t later fail or die. Extensive surgical repairs also leave significant scar tissue, pain, and digestive issues.
Orthopedic Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents
When accidents separate motorcyclists from their bikes, the results often provoke catastrophic orthopedic trauma. Many injured riders suffer bone or extremity injuries, including:
- Fractured wrists, arms, shoulders and elbows.
- Traumatic amputation of fingers, hands, toes, and feet.
- Permanent nerve damage to limbs.
- Compound fractures where bones tear through the skin.
- Crushed hips and legs often requiring titanium rods or plates.
- Severed tendons preventing normal movement.
Losing limbs or function of arms and legs robs motorcyclists of their mobility and ability to perform routine tasks independently.
Road Rash Injuries: Gravel Rash Leading to Severe Scarring
That “cool” feeling of flying unencumbered on the open road turns traumatic when an out-of-control slide across asphalt or dirt occurs. Motorcyclists thrown from their bikes or dragged by a vehicle after impact experience horrific skin loss known as road rash. When unprotected skin slams across the rough pavement, friction, and heat burn away multiple layers.
Removing embedded road debris like gravel requires debriding dead tissue in surgical washouts, often to the point bones are exposed. Skin grafting and flap transplants are needed to cover extensive surface area rash injuries. The aftermath of road rash leaves motorcyclists with:
- Grotesque scarring over the back, arms, hips, and legs.
- Reduced mobility around graft sites.
- Chronic wound pain and risk of repeat skin ulceration.
- Psychological damage and self-image issues.
A motorcycle crash differs greatly from fender-benders between larger vehicles. The physical and financial damage can be exponentially more significant when an unshielded motorcyclist collides with a heavier truck or car. Certain factors dramatically tip the scales toward care and recovery.
Getting Fairly Compensated After a Motorcycle Accident
If you’ve been injured as a motorcyclist in an accident, you may wonder how to pursue injury compensation. Successfully proving another party’s fault and negligence is key to securing damages after a motorcycle crash.
Keep in mind that motorcycle accident cases face unique challenges since riders have reduced protection compared to passengers inside larger vehicles. However, experienced personal injury attorneys level the legal playing field by building strong negligence claims.
- Document details like police report on contributing circumstances, photograph accident scene factors that compromise safety, take photos of injuries, track all related medical expenses and transportation costs.
- Gather information to satisfy legal requirements for compensation – crash reconstruction analysis, witness statements on reckless driving, historical complaints signaling awareness of road hazards, state laws requiring gear use, traffic rules limiting dangerous parking, etc.
- The vulnerability of motorcycles makes riders prone to severe nerve damage, permanent disability, neck and back trauma, traumatic brain injuries – all impacting compensation demands when engaging claims. Preexisting conditions aggravated by the crash expand values further.
Document and demonstrate accident liability and losses, then consult attorneys to calculate and pursue motorcycle injury claims reflecting total harms, lost income, and hardship imposed on your life.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
When someone’s negligence leaves a motorcyclist fighting for their life, weeks may go by while families maintain a constant hospital vigil. Unfortunately, legal protections disappear as evidence degrades and witnesses scatter.
By contacting knowledgeable injury lawyers like those at Miley Legal early, motorcycle accident victims can retain trained advocates to monitor legal needs proactively while health remains the only focus. That assistance proves invaluable with lives irrevocably changed and financial realities about to hit home.
The seasoned lawyers from Miley Legal can guide your motorcycle injury claim and provide peace in the chaos. Don’t leave lost income or uninsured medical bills to chance. Contact Miley Legal online today at https://mileylegal.com/ to discuss your motorcycle crash case details.