On This page
    motorcycle helmet on the road after a car crash

    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 a similar accident. That’s because the motorcycles do not provide the protection of a metal cage surrounding the driver.

    In many cases, injuries from motorcycle accidents are fatal. According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, more than 166 motorcyclists died on South Carolina roads in 2021, with more than 423 suffering injuries that landed them in the emergency department.

    Most Common Motorcycle Injuries

    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

    Injuries to the head and neck are among the worst injuries that victims suffer in motorcycle crashes. Head injuries from motorcycle crashes often involve 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 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. 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.

    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.

    Leg injuries

    Injuries to lower extremities including legs, ankles, knees, and feet are common in motorcycle wrecks due to the exposed nature of the riders’ legs. Although leg injuries are typically not fatal, they can cause intense pain and lead to long-term disability and expensive medical treatment. Recovery from a lower limb injury may entail surgeries and extensive physical therapy over several months. In the aftermath, injured riders could be left with a limp or partial to complete paralysis, impacting their quality of life.


    Broken bones

    Broken bones can happen throughout the body. When a motorcycle falls over, it can result in broken legs, arms, or wrists. 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. This can require surgical intervention, involving the placement of rods, pins, screws, or other hardware along with months of healing and rehabilitation.

    Internal Injuries

    Internal injuries can cause internal bleeding, which can damage organs and trigger life-threatening blood loss. 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 an internal injury is not treated, a person could die.

    Arm Injuries

    Arm injuries can occur if the motorcyclist lands on his or her arm in the impact. These injuries are common as motorcyclists are often ejected from their vehicles and launched into the air during a crash. This could lead to nerve damage in the arm and upper body. Shoulder injuries including torn rotator cuffs are also common.

    Road Rash From A Motorcycle Wreck

    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. 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.

    Experience Representing Motorcycle Injury Victims

    Accidents involving motorcycles pose unique challenges in personal injury cases. Insurance companies representing motorcycle accident victims can employ various tactics to delay, deny, or diminish rightful claims, aiming to minimize compensation and maintain profits. Without the guidance of a seasoned motorcycle accident attorney, victims may face injustice twice over.

    At Joye Law Firm, we have navigated these difficult cases and have helped our clients get the maximum compensation available since 1968. Our extensive track record in successfully litigating motorcycle accident cases proves we are willing to stand up for clients and fight for their rightful compensation. Here are a few recent results we have obtained for injured bikers:

    While every case is different, and past results are in no way intended to guarantee that a similar result can be obtained in another case, past results obtained by a law firm are an indication of the firm’s experience when it comes to serious injury and wrongful death cases. For more details about the results obtained for previous Joye Law Firm clients, please view our results and case studies.

    Motorcycle Safety Tips

    To avoid the most common motorcycle accident injuries, it is imperative that you follow 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 functioning 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. Joye Law Firm has been providing sound legal assistance to our community since 1968 when our doors opened in North Charleston. Since then we have opened additional offices in Columbia, Myrtle Beach, Summerville, and Clinton to best meet the needs of injured South Carolinians. Our attorneys have experience negotiating with insurance companies and are dedicated to helping our clients get the full compensation they deserve.

    If you have been injured in a motorcycle crash, the attorneys at Joye Law Firm can help you understand what you need to do next. Because we work on a contingency fee basis, you will never be asked to pay upfront, 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.

    Contact Us
    Paul Teutul Sr and Attorney Ken Harrell