When a rider is involved in a motorcycle crash, the injuries can be far worse than what a driver of a passenger car might suffer in crash. That’s because the motorcycle does not provide the protection of a metal cage surrounding the driver.
In many cases, injuries from motorcycle accidents are fatal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motorcyclist deaths more than doubled in a decade, with 34,000 fatalities during that time period.
The CDC reports that an estimated 1,222,000 people were treated in a U.S. emergency room for non-fatal motorcycle-related injuries during a recent 10-year period. The distribution of these injuries is as follows:
- 3 percent of the injuries were to the leg or foot.
- 7 percent of the injuries were to the head or neck.
- 5 percent of the injuries were to the upper trunk.
- 8 percent of the injuries were to the arm or hand.
- 8 percent of the injuries were to the lower trunk.
- 3 percent of the injuries were categorized as “other / unknown.”
The types of injuries that are most common in motorcycle accidents can have a lasting impact on the victim’s life. They include:
- Head and neck injuries are among the worst that victims suffer in motorcycle crashes. Head injuries often involve traumatic brain injuries (TBI). A TBI is caused by a bump or blow to the head, or an injury that pierces the skull. TBIs disrupt normal brain function. They can range from a mild concussion to more serious, life-altering injuries that impair physical or cognitive functions. Helmets provide protection from TBI and other head injuries, but can’t prevent them completely. Neck and spine injuries may be involve fractures of the spine. This type of injury can lead to permanent paralysis, though some patients may recover with time and therapy.
- Leg injuries often include damage to the knees, ankles and feet. These injuries can be tricky, and may become permanently disabling if not treated properly.
- Broken bones can happen throughout the body. When a motorcycle falls over, it can result in broken legs, arms or wrists. This can require surgery along with months of healing and rehabilitation.
- Internal injuries can cause internal bleeding, which can damage organs and trigger life-threatening blood loss.
- Arm injuries can occur if the motorcyclist lands on his or her arm in the impact. This could lead to nerve damage in the arm and upper body.
- Road rash happens when a motorcyclist’s skin comes into contact with the road as a result of the accident. First-degree road rash is red skin; second-degree road rash is when the surface of the skin is broken but the skin underneath is intact; and third-degree road rash is when the accident removes the skin completely, requiring immediate medical attention.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, it’s important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your potential right to compensation for your injuries and other losses.