Image of a motorcycle helmet lying on the ground near a crashed bike

Motorcycle accidents can have devastating consequences, and getting trapped under a motorcycle after a crash is one of the worst scenarios riders can face. In 2021, there were 5,932 fatalities among motorcyclists due to crashes, with a fatality rate of 60.03 per 100,000 registered motorcycles.

That same year, South Carolina alone saw 166 motorcycle fatalities. This was a 43.1% increase from 2020, which had 116 motorcycle deaths.

These numbers highlight the prevalence and severity of motorcycle accidents and the importance of understanding the potential dangers riders face on the open road.

How Motorcycle Riders Get Trapped After Crashes

When a motorcycle is involved in a crash, the impact and physics of the accident can cause riders to become trapped under their motorcycles. Common causes of motorcycle entrapment include:

  • Toppling over. When a motorcycle crashes, it can topple over, pinning the rider underneath its weight. This mostly occurs in lowside accidents where the bike loses traction and slides sideways, causing the rider to fall under.
  • Entanglement: In some instances, riders can become entangled in debris or objects on the road after a crash. These obstacles can hinder riders’ ability to free themselves and increase the severity of their entrapment.

Consequences of Motorcycle Entrapment

The consequences of being trapped under a motorcycle after a crash can be severe and have major implications for the rider’s well-being and safety. If a rider is trapped beneath their motorcycle, they may experience:

  • Worsening injuries: Being trapped can lead to prolonged compression or restricted blood flow, worsening existing injuries sustained in the crash. The weight of the motorcycle pressing on the body can aggravate fractures, internal damage, and other injuries.
  • Risk of secondary collisions: While trapped under a motorcycle on the road, riders risk being struck by other vehicles. They are vulnerable to a secondary collision since they cannot move out of the way or protect themselves from oncoming traffic.
  • Burns and fire hazards: The combination of fuel and heat can create a dangerous fire hazard if someone is trapped and the motorcycle or a nearby vehicle catches fire. Additionally, hot motorcycle parts, like the exhaust pipe, can cause severe burns when it touches a person’s skin.

What to Do if You Are Trapped Under Your Motorcycle?

Knowing how to respond effectively is essential if you find yourself trapped under your motorcycle after a crash. Follow these actionable tips to ensure your safety and well-being in this life-threatening situation:

Stay Calm and Assess Your Condition

Stay as calm as possible so you can make the best choice for your safety. Assess your injuries and determine if you can safely move or need to wait for help. Look for leaking fuel, electrical wires, or other dangerous substances and scan the nearby area for other dangers, such as oncoming traffic, to help you decide your next action.

Call for Emergency Assistance

If possible, immediately contact emergency services to report the accident. If you cannot reach your cell phone from your trapped position or dial due to your injuries, seek help from a bystander or someone at the scene. Provide the dispatcher with accurate details, including the accident location, the number of individuals involved, and the severity of injuries. Calling 911 will initiate medical help and send police officers to the accident scene.

Safely Free Yourself from Under the Motorcycle

Evaluate your physical capabilities and the motorcycle’s condition before trying to move or lift the motorcycle off your body. If it is safe, try to push the bike away or roll out from underneath it. Enlist the help of bystanders or fellow riders to lift the motorcycle. If no one can help you, look for debris like a tree branch within your reach to push the bike up and slide out from underneath.

Managing the Situation if Unable to Free Yourself

When self-extraction is impossible, focus on staying safe and alert while awaiting assistance. Protect vulnerable body parts, such as your neck, head, and limbs, by covering your head or using extra clothing to put a barrier between yourself and the road or hot motorcycle part.

Increase your visibility by wearing reflective clothing or signaling for attention. If you are on the phone with first responders, maintain communication, providing updates on your condition and any changes.

After the Dust Settles, Reach Out to a Motorcycle Lawyer

After ensuring your immediate safety and seeking necessary medical attention, contact a motorcycle lawyer for legal assistance. In South Carolina, you can file a claim against another driver to receive damages for injuries caused by their negligence.

A Columbia motorcycle crash lawyer from Joye Law Firm can help you understand your rights after an injury accident. Our legal team will help you pursue compensation for your injuries and damages in a motorcycle accident claim or personal injury lawsuit. We will advocate for your best interests and work to ensure you receive the support you deserve.

Joye Law Firm Is Experienced in Handling Motorcycle Crash Cases

A serious crash on Folly Beach led to the amputation of a biker’s leg below the knee. While nothing could be done to save his leg, the victim knew he needed experienced and aggressive representation to fight for the compensation he deserved. He hired Joye Law Firm and we worked tirelessly on his behalf. Our attorney went to the traffic court hearing of the at-fault driver who pled guilty to a violation of traffic laws, conceding that he was responsible for the crash. After months of negotiation, the case was resolved for $2,000,000, ensuring the victim’s past and future expenses would be covered. Read more about this case here.

Seek Legal Assistance for Your Motorcycle Crash Claim

When dealing with the aftermath of a motorcycle crash, seeking legal assistance is crucial to protecting your rights. At Joye Law Firm, our skilled motorcycle crash lawyers can guide you through the legal process and help you pursue the compensation you deserve.

Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your accident claim. Let us fight for your rights and provide the guidance and support you need during this time.

About the Author

Since 1968, the South Carolina personal injury and workers’ compensation attorneys of Joye Law Firm have been committed to securing compensation for accident and injury victims. Our compassionate and dedicated lawyers have nearly 250 years of combined litigation experience, and many of them have been recognized as South Carolina Super Lawyers. For many years, our South Carolina personal injury law firm has been listed with an AV rating in the prestigious Martindale-Hubbell legal directory.

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