Motorcycle Accident Injuries Can Be Severe & Debilitating
Drivers need to share the road and watch out for motorcyclists.
Motorcycles only make up a small percentage of registered vehicles in the U.S., but they are involved in many more fatal accidents per capita. Nationwide, about 3 percent of registered vehicles are motorcycles, but riders are involved in 14 percent of traffic fatalities. Motorcycle accidents that cause serious non-fatal injuries are increasing as well. Unlike a car which encases its occupants in a protective steel/iron casing, motorcyclists are naked in the event of impact.
In the DMV, the situation is more grim as motorcycle riders comprise 18 to 22 percent of fatal crash victims.
Motorcycle accident causes
Keep in mind that other drivers don’t need to physically hit bikers to cause accidents. In many cases, they can inadvertently create situations that force the motorcyclist to crash or lay down their bike to avoid a collision. These situations often arise due to the lack of awareness and understanding among drivers about the unique characteristics and vulnerabilities of motorcycles on the road.
The Unseen: One common scenario is when a driver fails to check their blind spots or neglects to signal their intentions before changing lanes. Motorcycles have a smaller profile than cars, making them more difficult to see in blind spots. When a driver suddenly merges into the same lane as a motorcyclist without proper signaling or checking their surroundings, the motorcyclist may be left with limited time to react to avoid a collision. Many times the biker is forced to make abrupt maneuvers or lay down their bike, risking serious injuries.
Intersections: Another situation occurs at intersections, where drivers may fail to yield the right of way to motorcycles. Due to their smaller size, motorcycles can be easily overlooked by drivers who are not actively looking for them. This can result in a driver turning left in front of an oncoming motorcycle, forcing the motorcyclist to brake suddenly or take evasive action. In such cases, the biker may lose control of their bike and crash, even if there was no direct physical contact with the other vehicle.
Distracted drivers: Distracted driving also poses a significant risk to motorcyclists. Drivers who engage in activities such as texting, talking on the phone, or adjusting electronic devices while behind the wheel may not be attentive to their surroundings, including motorcycles sharing the road. A momentary lapse in attention can lead to a driver veering into the path of a motorcyclist or making sudden maneuvers that catch the biker off guard and lead to an accident.
It is crucial for drivers to recognize the responsibility they hold in sharing the road safely with motorcyclists. They should actively check their blind spots, signal their intentions early, and be vigilant at intersections. Additionally, minimizing distractions and giving motorcycles the space and respect they deserve can go a long way in preventing accidents caused by drivers indirectly forcing bikers to crash or lay down their bikes.
Knowing the risks and potential consequences of motorcycle accidents promotes safer driving practices and reduces the number of accidents and injuries on the road.
Having an understanding of common motorcycle injuries can also be beneficial for injured bikers themselves, as it can help them estimate the potential costs of medical treatment, the duration of the healing process, and the long-term effects of their injuries, making them less likely to accept a lowball settlement offer from insurance companies. Hopefully it will also force riders to take greater precautions, which could end up saving their lives.
Motorcycle accident injuries
Here are some of the most common types of motorcycle accident injuries sustained by bikers:
- Head and brain injuries: Head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBI), are among the most severe injuries motorcyclists can sustain in a crash. Even with a helmet, a rider can suffer a concussion, skull fracture, or other head injuries that can result in long-term cognitive and physical impairments. While wearing a helmet when riding is always a good idea, bikers can still suffer severe and life-altering head injuries in a crash.
- Spinal cord injuries: Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to spinal cord injuries, which can result in partial or complete paralysis. Spinal cord injuries can also lead to chronic pain, loss of sensation, and other serious health complications.
- Fractures and broken bones: In a motorcycle accident, riders may suffer fractures and broken bones in various parts of their bodies, including the arms, legs, hips, and pelvis. These injuries can be particularly severe and may require extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation.
- Road rash and other abrasions: When a motorcyclist is thrown from their bike during a crash, they may suffer road rash and other abrasions, which can range from minor to severe depending on the speed and force of impact. These injuries can be particularly painful and may require extensive wound care and treatment.
- Biker’s arm: Biker’s arm is a specific type of injury that occurs when a motorcyclist instinctively extends their arm to break a fall during an accident. The impact can cause nerve damage, fractures, and severe soft tissue injuries in the arm. Biker’s arm can result in long-term disability and may require surgical intervention and rehabilitation.
- Amputations: In some severe motorcycle accidents, amputations may occur, where a limb or body part is partially or completely severed. These injuries can have profound physical and emotional impacts on the individual, requiring extensive medical interventions, prosthetic devices, and rehabilitation to regain functionality and adapt to the loss.
- Internal injuries: In addition to external injuries, a motorcyclist may suffer internal injuries in a crash, such as damage to their internal organs, including their liver, spleen, and kidneys. These injuries can be life-threatening and may require emergency medical treatment.
- Soft tissue injuries: Motorcycle accidents can also cause significant damage to the soft tissues of the body, including muscles, tendons, cartilage, and ligaments. These injuries may result in sprains, strains, contusions, and other soft tissue trauma, leading to pain, swelling, and restricted mobility. Treatment often involves rest, physical therapy, and sometimes surgical intervention, depending on the severity of the injury.
Crash victims have legal rights.
Victims of motorcycle accidents can take steps to ensure they receive maximum compensation, such as seeking immediate medical attention and retaining the services of an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer. An attorney can help victims understand their legal rights, negotiate with insurance companies, and file a lawsuit to pursue the money they deserve for their injuries.
If you were injured or a loved one died in a D.C. area motorcycle accident, you probably have many questions. Contact the Law Offices of Stuart L. Plotnick, LLC for a free consultation and information about your case that you can trust. We have been fighting for injured motorcycle riders’ rights for 20 years.
Contact us to schedule your free consultation now. A member of our team is available to hear from you any time, day or night.