Motorcyclists are some of the most vulnerable motorists on the road. Without the body of a vehicle to protect them if they are involved in an accident, injuries sustained by a motorcyclist are often severe, if not deadly. This article discusses some of the most common motorcycle accident injuries.
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
A traumatic brain injury is a type of acquired brain injury that occurs when the brain is suddenly traumatized. A TBI can occur when an object hits the head with force, when the head is shaken violently back and forth, or when the skull and the brain are punctured by an object.
TBIs are some of the most serious injuries among motorcyclists involved in a crash, and are more common when the motorcyclist was not wearing a helmet at the time of collision.
According to a data set provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that looked at the rate of severe facial and head injuries among motorcyclists, 6.6 percent of unhelmeted motorcyclists sustained a moderate to severe facial or head injury, whereas 5.1 percent of helmeted motorcyclist sustained this type of injury. Furthermore, 15 percent of hospital-treated motorcyclists suffered a TBI, and TBI severity varied by helmet use. More than 7 percent of non-helmeted, hospital-treated motorcyclists sustained a severe TBI.
A TBI can affect cognitive abilities, physical abilities, and emotions. While some TBIs may improve with surgeries, other treatments, or time, most will affect the individual for the rest of his or her life.
Road rash, or road burn, is a type of friction burn on the skin that is caused when a motorcyclist’s skin is dragged along the surface of the road. These injuries are common when a motorcyclist is knocked off the bike and travels along the roadway before coming to a stop. Road rash can affect any part of the body, and often is seen on the hands, arm, back, legs, or even the face.
Road rash is a very painful type of motorcycle accident injury. However, road rash is rarely fatal, though complications such as infection may arise. Sometimes, surgical interventions such as skin grafts may be needed to treat the affected area. When road rash is particularly severe, it can lead to permanent scarring.
When a motorcyclist is involved in a crash, it is not unlikely for his or her bones to be affected. Hitting the ground hard or at the wrong angle, making contact with another object, or having part of the body forced into an unnatural position can easily break a bone. A broken bone can occur anywhere in the body, but the upper and lower extremities are perhaps most at risk. Broken ribs are quite common in a motorcycle accident.
Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord is one of the most sensitive and important parts of the body. When injured, the results can be catastrophic, and permanent or partial paralysis may occur.
An injury to the spinal cord occurs when the spinal column – the collection of vertebrae that compose the spine and protect the spinal cord – is disturbed. This can happen if a motorcyclist lands on his or her neck or back, if an object pierces the motorcyclist’s back, or if the motorcyclist is crushed between two objects.
A spinal cord injury can result in partial or complete paralysis. If the spinal cord is completely severed, complete paralysis from the injury site down will likely occur. If the cord is only partially severed, partial paralysis from the injury site down is more likely. Currently, there is no way to correct a spinal cord injury, although, according to the Mayo Clinic, scientists are optimistic that advances in research will one day make recovery possible.
When the body is hit with enough force or a broken bone injury is severe, the internal organs of the body may be damaged or punctured. In turn, this can result in internal bleeding. Internal bleeding can occur in many different areas of the body (organs, tissues, head, chest, etc.), can be very painful, and is extremely dangerous.
Part of the reason that internal injuries are so dangerous is the fact that the bleeding is not visible to the naked eye. If not treated, it is possible for a person to die as a result of an internal injury.
Motorcycle Crash Statistics You Need to Know
Being involved in a motorcycle crash is one of the most tragic things that can happen to a person, especially when injuries sustained are serious. According to the South Carolina Department of Public Transportation, motorcycle crash statistics include these following facts:
- In a single year, motorcycle fatalities accounted for 10 percent of total traffic fatalities, but only 1.7 percent of total crashes.
- The average age for motorcycle fatalities in the state is 41.
- In a single year, hospital and emergency room charges for motorcycle accident injuries totaled more than $73 million.
- Among motorcyclists who died, 74 percent had a traumatic brain injury.
Motorcycle Safety Tips
In order to avoid the most common motorcycle accident injuries, it is imperative that you following these motorcycle safety tips and always ride as carefully as possible.
- Follow the law and the speed limit.
- Do not lane split.
- Always wear a helmet.
- Do not ride while distracted.
- Always ride sober.
- Pay attention to your surroundings.
- Wear the right gear.
- Check your bike to make sure all working parts are function as they should before riding.
- Avoid riding in bad conditions if possible.
How a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Can Help You
Motorcycle accidents are not always preventable in South Carolina. When one occurs, seeking representation from an experienced motorcycle attorney who has your best interests at heart can be the key to recovering your full compensation amount. If you have been injured in a motorcycle crash, the attorneys at Joye Law Firm can help you to understand what you need to do next. Because we work on a contingency fee basis, you will never be asked to pay up front, and will not owe us a dime in attorney’s fees unless your case is successful. To learn more, call our offices today or contact us online.