The injuries sustained by victims of motorcycle accidents can range from minor wounds to fatalities. While a car or truck passenger has some protection in the vehicle and its safety features, a motorcyclist only has their helmet and protective gear. In an accident, a motorcyclist can be thrown or dragged without anything between their bodies and the road. This often leads to severe and life-changing injuries. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact one of our experienced motorcycle accident attorneys online or at 302.655.2599 to find out how we can help you.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
In this article, we take a look at some of the most common injuries in motorcycle accidents in Delaware and across the country.
Broken Bones or Fractures
Broken or fractured bones are common in any vehicle accident and are very common in motorcycle accidents. When a motorcyclist has to stop suddenly, the rider can be ejected, or thrown, from their motorcycle, and is often launched through the air. Inexperienced riders are even more likely to be thrown over the handlebars of their motorcycle in this kind of brake dive.
A rider who suffers a broken leg, arm, elbow, ribs, or other bones requires medical treatment and sometimes orthopedic surgery. Casts are typically worn for at least 6 weeks during which the recovering victim may be unable to work their usual job. Follow-up appointments and physical therapy may also interrupt a victim’s normal working hours.
Another common fracture in a motorcycle injury is a skull fracture, particularly if the rider was not wearing a helmet. A skull fracture is a serious, and sometimes fatal, head injury.
Head trauma or Brain Injury
Head trauma can happen when a motorcyclist suffers the impact of a crash or ejection on their head or face. It can cause a skull fracture, traumatic brain injury (T.B.I.), concussion, brain hemorrhage (bleeding), seizures, and paralysis. Many of these injuries can lead to long periods of treatment, hospitalization, and life-altering physical or emotional changes. If you have been in a motorcycle crash and you have suffered a head injury or have symptoms of a head trauma, such as a headache, nausea or vomiting, dilated pupils, or seizures, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Lacerations in a motorcycle accident are often seen on the face, arms, or torso of a motorcyclist. If the rider is wearing protective gear, it can protect the upper and lower body but a rider’s face is usually always exposed. Lacerations will require a visit to the emergency room for stitches, at least, and may require surgery and hospitalization. They also carry an increased risk of infection which can lead to further complications. Even after medical treatment, lacerations can cause permanent scarring and disfigurement. Lacerations to the face are particularly sensitive and may cause significant mental anxiety for a victim, on top of the physical harm that they have suffered.
Road Rash and Abrasions
Road rash is suffered by motorcyclists when their skin is scraped off as they are thrown across the surface of the road. It is a severe type of abrasion or friction burn. Road rash can happen even when a rider is traveling at low speeds, and are often suffered by bicyclists too. Wearing protective gear can reduce the risk and intensity of road rash.
Like burns, road rash is graded by severity. First-degree road rash, or minor abrasions, can heal within a few weeks but severe, third-degree road rash completely strips the skin exposing the underlying fat and tissue, and may require skin grafts, cause nerve damage, and leave permanent scarring. Any road rash is painful and, like all open wounds, carries a risk of infection.
A burn is a very painful and treatment-intensive injury. Burns should be treated immediately at the scene of an accident, with follow-up in the emergency room and beyond, as medically indicated. Burns can lead to scarring, disfigurement, and infection. They can also cause emotional distress for a victim, both from the initial pain and trauma of the accident and the long-term effects of disfigurement.
Internal Organ Damage and Bleeding
Not all injuries are immediately visible. Many major motorcycle injuries are internal, such as a lacerated spleen, liver injury, or punctured lung. A motorcyclist who has been involved in an accident should always be assessed for internal injuries. An impact to the abdomen, often suffered in a motorcycle accident, will frequently lead to such injuries.
Internal organ damage can require immediate surgery, hospitalization, and a lengthy recovery period. During this time, a victim will miss work and incur many medical expenses from surgeon fees to prescription medications, and should be compensated for these losses.
When someone loses a limb in a motorcycle accident, or it has to be amputated as a result of the injuries sustained in the accident, the victim’s life is changed forever. In the immediate accident aftermath, they will require surgery, hospitalization, physical therapy, and, perhaps, counseling. As they leave hospital and return to their everyday life, they may require modifications to their home or vehicle, and may not be able to return to their job because of their injuries.
Back and Neck injuries
Injuries to the back, neck, and spinal cord are very common in vehicle accidents. A spinal cord injury can be particularly devastating as it is associated with nerve damage, paralysis, incontinence, respiratory problems, and sexual dysfunction. A seemingly minor back injury sustained in a motorcycle accident should not be ignored. Many victims complain of minor back and neck issues after an accident that develop into severe or chronic issues.
Mental or Emotional Trauma
A motorcycle accident is a very traumatic event, and the mental distress that can be caused by an accident should not be discounted. In addition, a victim’s injuries, such as amputation, disfigurement, burns, and scarring, can be a lifelong problem, physically and mentally. Victims may suffer depression, anxiety, PTSD, or other psychological trauma. If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, you may need to seek professional help for your mental as well as your physical injuries.
What Should You Do If You Are Injured In a Motorcycle Accident?
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, the first and most important thing to remember is to seek medical help. Call 911 for an ambulance if you need emergency assistance, or go to the emergency room or your regular provider for evaluation. Keep a copy of your medical reports, discharge paperwork, and medical bills.
If you are able at the time of the accident, you should take photos and/or videos of the road and weather conditions, vehicle positions, and other relevant information. Your smartphone is also an easy way to record insurance information, vehicle registration, witness contact details, and other evidence and information that may be helpful to your claim.
Finally, call a reliable motorcycle accident attorney like the attorneys at Morris James. An attorney will explain your right to compensation after a motorcycle accident and help you get the maximum compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Will You Get Compensation For Your Injuries in a Motorcycle Accident?
An innocent victim of a motorcycle accident deserves compensation for all of the injuries and losses that they sustain in an accident, and by law they are entitled to recover the damages caused by someone else’s negligence. These damages would include past medical expenses, future medical care, lost wages and benefits, home and vehicle modifications, damage to your motorcycle, and an amount to compensate you for your physical pain and mental trauma (known as “pain and suffering.”) Unfortunately, an insurance company is a for profit business that is incentivized to minimize losses and maximize profits. This means that an injured victim typically has to fight for the full and fair compensation that they deserve and are legally entitled to after a motorcycle accident.
Do You Need a Lawyer For a Motorcycle Accident?
When you are dealing with powerful insurance companies after a motorcycle accident, it is easy to accept a lowball settlement offer that seems like a lot of money but does not in reality cover all of your expenses and losses into the future. An experienced personal injury lawyer, like the motorcycle accident attorneys at Morris James, helps to protect you from accepting such an unreasonable offer and fights to get you the compensation that you deserve.
At Morris James, our attorneys have been standing up for victims since we opened our doors in 1932. If you have other questions about motorcycle accidents, you may find answers in our Motorcycle and Ebike Accident FAQs. You can also contact us online or call us at 302.655.2599 to learn more.