Any type of traffic-related accident has the potential to cause serious injuries. However, certain types of crashes have a higher rate of specific types of injuries. For example, a rear-end collision between two cars can often cause victims to suffer from whiplash. In addition, motorcycle injuries are prone to being severe, and devastating.
Despite the fact that motorcycles offer a quick, fuel efficient way to beat traffic, driving a one takes more skill, practice and training than a regular automobile. When compared to enclosed passenger vehicles, a motorcycle offers very little protection for its driver and passengers. Because of this motorcyclists are advised to wear helmets, gloves, protective clothing and footwear whenever they are riding. It is vital that drivers of motorcycles are vigilant and learn to drive defensively to avoid motorcycle injuries from an accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTHSA) reports that over 80% of motorcycle accidents result in injury or death. Some motorcycle injuries are more common than others.
Common Motorcycle Injuries from Accidents
Head and Facial Injuries
Head and traumatic brain injuries are the leading cause of death from motorcycle injuries. Motorcyclists are not surrounded by a steel frame like other motorists and the impact of a collision often sends them flying off of their bikes. In the event of a rear-end crash, a motorcyclist can go flying directly into the pavement or into the back of another vehicle. The first part of the body to hit is often the head. Wearing a properly-fitted helmet can reduce motorcycle deaths by 30%, and reduce head and brain injuries even more. Even with a helmet, such a head trauma can cause serious injuries including the following:
- Skull fractures
- Traumatic brain injury
- Broken cheekbones or nose
- Broken jawbone
- Dental injuries
A traumatic brain injury of TBI can impact nearly every aspect of someone’s life, including memory, cognitive function, speech, and more. Often TBI’s impact the victims family as well, as dramatic changes must be made to adapt to the new way of life. Many brain injury victims are unable to continue to work, requiring full-time care and frequent medical treatments such as occupational or physical therapy.
When a motorcyclist is ejected from their bike, their immediate instinct may be to put their arms out to try to catch themselves. Often, the force of the impact is too great and their hands, wrists, or arms may shatter when they hit the ground. In addition, if a motorcycle falls on top of a rider, it can crush the bones in their legs. In some cases, the bones cannot be repaired and an amputation may be necessary, which will completely change the course of a motorcyclist’s life.
A motorcyclist risks being thrown off of his bike in the event of an accident; it is human instinct to draw one’s arms around or in front of oneself to lessen impact. This means, however, that more impact means more damage to the nerves of the arms. When a biker’s arm is landed on during impact, permanent nerve damage may occur in the arm as well as the upper body. Sturdy jackets and elbow pads may be worn to protect against motorcycle injuries.
Lower Extremity Injuries
Because a motorcycle cannot stand upright on its own, most motorcycle accidents cause the motorcycle to fall over. Accidents happen so quickly that the rider’s leg remains underneath the motorcycle, resulting in injuries to the legs, feet, ankles and knees. Soft tissue injuries, like abrasions, bruising and road rash are also common on the lower extremities.
Back, neck and spinal cord injuries are very common in motorcycle accidents. The lack of protection and the physical forces that a motorcyclist is subjected to during a collision combine to make spinal injuries very common. While some spinal injuries can heal, more often than not, the victim is faced with nerve damage, paralysis, or worse. Typically these individuals are forced to become permanently disabled and are no longer able to work or enjoy life like they used to.
Road Rash or Friction Burns
Sometimes, when a motorcycle falls over, a motorcyclist can go skidding across the pavement at a high speed. This can cause severe road rash, or friction burns, especially if they are not wearing protective clothing. This injury is not just a cut, scrape, or a simple bruise; it can also lead to more permanent damage such as skin irritations, infections, and even surface nerve damage. These burns can damage many layers of the skin and can require extensive medical care, including skin grafting. Road rash is categorized into three degrees, much like burns. First degree road rash is when the surface of the skin is red and irritated. Second degree road rash is when the top surface of the skin is broken or damaged, but the underlying tissue is intact. Third degree road rash is sever, and can affect the muscle and fat tissue under the skin if enough is scraped away.
Motorcycle accident injuries can also lead to permanent disfigurement. Broken bones, burns, and severe lacerations can all leave disfiguring evidence of the accident that caused them, including scars and loss of limbs. Additionally, disfigurement can be emotionally traumatic and leave the victim in a cycle of depression that is difficult to get out of.
Many of these motorcycle injuries require reconstructive surgery and may result in disfigurement.
Contact a Sacramento Motorcycle Accident Attorney for a Consultation
At the Sacramento Law Offices of Zappettini & Bradley we understand how severely motorcycle injuries can affect your life after a motorcycle accident. Our legal team will do everything we can to evaluate your situation, advise you of your rights, and help you through every step of the legal process. If you have been injured as a result of a motorcycle accident, please call to discuss your situation with a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer at (916)457-5022 today.