Motorcycle accidents are by far one of the most tragic a person can suffer, and the injuries are often catastrophic – if not fatal. Common injuries include everything from multiple fractures to amputations, road rash, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and more. While all of these are possible, the most common would be road rash. And if the victim was not wearing a helmet, then a traumatic brain injury would be the second most common.
Identifying the Most Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries – 5 Injuries Seen the Most in These Crashes
While any type of injury can occur, there are five that are typical for almost all motorcycle accidents – even those at low speeds. A rider is not protected by a vehicle and all the safety features of modern cars. Instead, their entire body is exposed to the road, elements, and other vehicles on the road with them – which dramatically increases the risk for fatal injuries.
1. Head Injuries – Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries, also known as TBIs, are by far one of the most common injuries seen in motorcycle accident cases. Head injuries on a bike can range from minor concussions to severe, penetrating trauma. If the rider is wearing a helmet, they may suffer a minor TBI. But without that helmet, they are looking at much more serious injuries – and possibly fatal ones.
Helmets do save the lives of riders, and those who do not wear them are more likely to suffer permanent brain injuries as a result. Unfortunately, not all states require that a person wear a motorcycle helmet. Pennsylvania does require that anyone operating a motorcycle wear a helmet unless they are over 21 years of age. Therefore, individuals over the age of 21 are allowed to ride their bike without any helmet – as long as they have two years of riding experience.
2. Road Rash
Road rash is very common in motorcycle accidents, and by far the one you see in almost all accidents. While most riders wear protective gear, depending on their speed, that gear may still not protect against road rash.
Road rash happens when the rider’s body slides across the pavement, which allows the surface to rub harshly against the skin and remove multiple layers – sometimes down to the bone. Sometimes, road rash is minor, other times, a victim may need skin grafts, plastic surgery, or amputation.
These are not cuts and scrapes; instead, these are very deep wounds with a high risk of infection due to the exposure. Typically, victims will have road rash on their limbs, but they can also experience it on their torso and face if they are not wearing protective gear.
3. Muscle Injury and Permanent Tissue Damage
Muscle and tissue damage are another common injury with motorcycle accidents. While wearing protection can help prevent serious tissue damage, there is no guarantee. Some muscles that can be damaged, even with protective gear on, include areas like the eardrum.
4. Permanent Nerve Damage to the Arms
Out of human instinct, when a person is thrown from their motorcycle, they put their hands out in front of themselves to protect them. Unfortunately, in a high-speed impact, this can lead to permanent nerve and tissue damage. Also, a biker’s arm is at high risk for amputation because it is exposed to all elements. It may become crushed under debris, the bike itself, or the damage from the impact is too severe to salvage the nerves and tissue.
5. Paralysis and Spinal Cord Damage
There is little a rider can do to protect themselves from spinal cord damage and paralysis. When the rider is exposed to everything, being tossed from their motorcycle increases the chances of a serious injury to their spinal cord. While some of these injuries are recoverable, most result in permanent damage. In some instances, depending on where the damage occurred, the rider may encounter permanent paralysis.
Other times, the rider may have a loss of sensation on one side of the body, develop an inability to walk, or need extensive surgery and rehabilitation therapy to regain movement in areas of the body.
Motorcycle Accident Cases Often Involve High Value Settlements
Motorcycle injury cases, as you can tell from these common injuries, often result in catastrophic, long-term conditions. Most victims lucky enough to survive a motorcycle accident will have years of reconstructive surgery, corrective procedures, and physical therapy. Many are permanently disabled, which means they cannot return to work, provide for their loved ones, or even enjoy their life as they once did before.
Some of the compensation victims and their loved ones receive in these types of cases include:
- Medical Costs – Any medical expenses from the accident, including surgeries, emergency room visits, follow-up doctor’s appointments, and physical therapy are all covered. Future medical costs, if the victim requires long-term medical care, is also part of this category.
- Lost Wages and Loss of Earning Capacity – Any time taken off work to recover from the initial accident, wages lost while leaving work for doctor’s visits or even going to court for an injury case are compensable. Also, if the victim is permanently disabled and cannot work or cannot return to a similar income after recovery, they can seek compensation for that change or permanent loss of earning capacity.
- Pain and Suffering – The severity of the injuries from a motorcycle accident often lead to long-term physical pain, emotional trauma, and mental anguish. While no dollar amount can make up for these traumatic experiences, pain and suffering damages are still included in the compensation value and are often based on the severity of the injury. An injury with permanent disability, for example, would receive higher compensation than one where a person recovers.
If you or a loved one suffered a catastrophic motorcycle accident, speak with an attorney immediately about your case. You want an attorney that has experience with motorcycle accidents, and someone who will fight against insurance claims’ adjusters trying to limit your compensation. Contact attorney Jeffrey H. Penneys, Esq. today to discuss your case.
You can call him toll-free at the office or on his cell. You can also ask for more information by completing his online contact form. Learn more on how we can help you.
Call us today if you or a loved one suffered a catastrophic motorcycle acciden. Speak with a highly skilled attorney immediately. Let us help you!