The Most Common injuries Sustained From Motorcycle Accidents
As the weather warms, you may be dusting off your motorcycle seat. Motorcycles offer a sense of freedom other vehicles simply cannot match. However, before you head out onto the roads this year, you should understand the risks. Learn what causes most motorcycle accidents, so you can better avoid them and know who to call if the unthinkable happens.
What Causes Most Motorcycle Accidents?
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), most vehicles on U.S. roads are not motorcycles. Motorcycles make up only 3% of all registered vehicles and comprise only 0.6% of all vehicle miles traveled in the country.
Looking at the same NSC statistics, 5,579 motorcyclists were killed in a traffic fatality in 2020. Comprising 14% of traffic deaths, motorcyclists are overrepresented in fatalities compared to their numbers on the road.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 55% of motorcycle fatalities resulted from a collision with another motor vehicle in transport. Most of these collisions involved the motorcycle being struck head-on from the front rather than behind. These motorcycle collision deaths involved the following types of vehicles:
- Collision with a fixed vehicle: 25%
- Collision with a passenger car: 18%
- Collision with a light truck: 14%
- Collision with a large truck: 5%
The NHTSA figures show that in 42% of motorcycle crashes involving another vehicle, the other vehicle turned left while the motorcycle was passing, going straight, or overtaking other vehicles.
Speed played less of a role than you might expect. Again according to the NHTSA, only 34% of motorcyclists involved in a fatal accident in 2020 were speeding. However, alcohol played a significant role in nighttime motorcycle accidents. In these accidents, motorcycle riders were three times more likely to be alcohol-impaired than those killed during the day.
Helmets are one of the main ways to prevent the unnecessary loss of motorcyclists' lives. The NHTSA estimates that if all motorcycle riders had worn helmets in 2017, these helmets would have saved approximately 749 lives in addition to the 1,872 lives already saved by helmets. California has helmet laws, but even if you ride in a state without helmet laws, a helmet could save your life.
5 Common Types of Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Injuries from motorcycle accidents tend to be severe and can be catastrophic. A motorcycle rider is relatively unprotected compared to a car, truck, or SUV driver. Motorcycle accident injuries can be severe and sometimes fatal. The types of injuries associated with motorcycle crashes include brain injuries, broken bones, and internal bleeding.
Motorcycle accidents can result in a variety of injuries, including the following:
- Head injury
- Skin injury
- Spinal injury
- Road rash
- Permanent disability
- Trauma to the brain
Any of these injuries can land a motorcycle rider in the hospital and lead to extensive medical bills. The risk of injury during a motorcycle accident is significant for both motorcycle riders and passengers. The following are five common injuries from motorcycle accidents.
1. Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and general head injuries are common in fatal motorcycle accidents. A TBI is usually the result of a harsh jolt or blow to the head, and it can affect your brain temporarily if it is mild or permanently if it is severe. In many cases, brain injuries from motorcycle accidents can be fatal. Researchers estimate that wearing motorcycle helmets helps reduce the risk of head injury by 69%.
2. Spinal Cord Injuries
A spinal cord injury can result from a traumatic blow to the motorcyclist's back or spine. This blow can crush, dislocate, fracture, or compress vertebrae in the spine. Sometimes additional damage occurs in the days and weeks following the accident. This damage can be caused by inflammation, fluid accumulation, bleeding, and swelling around your spinal cord.
Motorcycle and motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of these injuries. These accidents account for nearly half of all annual spinal cord injuries.
A spinal cord injury may impact other areas of your body. The following areas are often affected after a motorcycle injury that damages the spinal cord:
- Bladder control
- Bone density
- Bowel control
- Circulatory control
- Fitness and wellness
- Muscle tone
- Pressure injuries
- Respiratory system
- Sexual health
If you have experienced these issues following a spinal injury from a motorcycle crash, a personal injury lawyer may be able to help you claim compensation for your suffering.
3. Internal Bleeding and Organ Damage
Blunt or penetrating trauma can cause internal bleeding. A motorcyclist can suffer from either type of trauma during a serious motorcycle accident. Blunt trauma can occur when your body collides with something else at high speed. For a motorcyclist or their passenger, this could be a collision with the road, a moving vehicle, or a stationary object, such as a tree or road sign.
Penetrating trauma happens when a foreign object penetrates your body. This could occur if a piece of debris caused by the accident becomes lodged inside the motorcycle rider.
Trauma can damage almost any organ in your body and lead to internal bleeding. The most serious traumatic internal bleeding injuries stem from the following:
- Head trauma with bleeding
- Bleeding around the heart
- Bleeding around the lungs
- Tears in large blood vessels
- Trauma to the abdomen
These injuries are why it's vital to seek prompt medical care following a motorcycle accident, even if your injuries do not immediately appear serious.
4. Bone Fractures
A bone fracture is a medical term for a broken bone. These fractures are often caused by traumas related to motor vehicle accidents, such as motorcycle crashes. When a motorcycle accident occurs, your body may impact another object traumatically. This can cause damage to your bones, resulting in a fracture.
Depending on where the force impacts your body, you could receive the following fracture types in a motorcycle accident:
- Broken collarbones
- Shoulder fractures
- Elbow fractures
- Rib fractures
- Arm fractures
- Facial fractures
An experienced attorney can help you recover compensation following a motorcycle accident.
Motorcycle riders may experience whiplash following a crash. Whiplash affects the victim's neck after a forceful back-and-forth neck movement happens during an accident. This movement is named after the quick motion of the cracking of a whip, which the victim's neck mimics. Whiplash is often caused by rear-end accidents but does have other causes too.
Symptoms of whiplash following a motorcycle accident may include the following:
- Neck pain
- Loss of range of motion in the neck
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
If you think you're experiencing whiplash following a motorcycle crash, a lawyer can help you recover compensation for your medical bills and other damages.
We Help Motorcycle Accident Victims Get the Justice They're Owed
Motorcycle accidents can cause serious harm. You may be entitled to compensation if you or your loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident due to another party's negligent actions. The motorcycle accident attorneys at Daniels Law can assess your case and inform you of your legal options.
Contact us today for your consultation.