Motorcycle accidents can lead to a wide range of injuries due to the inherent vulnerability of riders compared to occupants of enclosed vehicles. The lack of protective barriers and the exposure to impact make motorcyclists more susceptible to severe injuries.
Injuries that happen in the blink of an eye can have lifelong effects on motorcyclists. They can face unexpected medical costs, physical limitations and impairments, pain and suffering, and much more.
When another driver causes a motorcycle collision, a motorcycle accident attorney can make the driver’s insurance cover the injured motorcyclist’s losses.
Below are some of the most common injuries resulting from motorcycle accidents. If you suffered injuries and losses from a crash, never wait to consult a Federal Way motorcycle accident attorney about your rights and options.
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
Traumatic brain injuries are among the most serious consequences of motorcycle accidents. Even with helmets, riders risk sustaining head injuries due to the force of impact. TBIs can range from concussions to intracranial bleeding, contusions, and diffuse axonal injuries. These injuries can lead to cognitive impairments, memory loss, mood changes, and, in severe cases, permanent disabilities.
Fractures and Broken Bones
Motorcycles expose riders to an impact with another vehicle, the pavement, or another object, so they often suffer one or more traumatic injuries. Direct trauma can easily lead to fractures and broken bones in the arms, legs, wrists, pelvis, and collarbone.
Riders often extend their limbs to protect themselves during a fall, which can lead to additional fractures. These can range from minor fractures to complex breaks that require surgeries, rehabilitation, and lengthy recovery periods.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Motorcycle accidents can result in spinal cord injuries that have life-altering consequences. These injuries can lead to partial or complete paralysis, depending on the level of the spinal cord affected.
Paraplegia (paralysis of the lower body) and quadriplegia (paralysis of all four limbs) are possible outcomes, permanently affecting a person’s mobility and independence.
When a rider slides along the road surface during an accident, road rash often occurs. This refers to abrasions and skin injuries due to friction between the skin and the road.
Road rash can vary in severity, from minor scrapes to deep abrasions that require skin grafts. Infections are also a concern with severe road rash; many victims need medical monitoring to prevent complications.
Severe motorcycle accidents can result in traumatic amputations, where limbs or extremities are severed during the collision. Amputations have profound physical, emotional, and psychological effects on the victim’s life and require ongoing medical care. Even with costly prosthetics, an amputation will forever change a motorcyclist’s personal and professional lives.
The impact of a motorcycle accident can cause internal injuries such as organ collapse or damage, internal bleeding, and damage to internal structures, such as the rib cage.
These injuries may not be immediately apparent and can lead to serious health complications if a motorcyclist does not receive immediate medical assessment and diagnosis. Internal injuries often require emergency surgery once doctors discover them.
Facial and Dental Injuries
Motorcycle accidents can lead to facial fractures, lacerations, and dental injuries due to an impact with the road, vehicle, or protective gear. These injuries may require reconstructive surgeries and ongoing dental care. Jaw fractures and similar injuries can require wiring, which prevents a motorcyclist from eating proper food for weeks or months.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Motorcycle accidents can cause muscle strains, ligament sprains, and other soft tissue injuries due to the sudden event and unnatural movements involved. These injuries can result in pain, swelling, limited mobility, and prolonged recovery times.
While many underestimate soft tissue damage, it can cause as much pain and limitations as fractures or similar injuries. Some motorcyclists require one or more surgeries to repair soft tissue injuries, with long recovery times.
Emotional and Psychological Trauma
The emotional impact of a motorcycle accident can be profound. Victims may experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and other psychological distress due to the traumatic event and the injuries they sustained. Some victims require psychological or psychiatric treatment, including medication, to overcome the mental injuries they suffer from their crashes.
Any type of injury can disrupt your life and result in financial, physical, and emotional losses. You should consult with a motorcycle accident lawyer following an injury, as you might have important legal rights that help to make you whole again. Even if you believe your injuries are minor, you might deserve compensation for your medical bills and lost income.
Legal consultations with injury attorneys are free, so you can learn whether you have a personal injury claim without risking anything.
You Can Suffer Injuries Even With Protective Gear
There are many types of protective gear available for motorcyclists. While wearing protective gear significantly reduces the risk of injury in a motorcycle accident, riders can still suffer injuries even with proper safety precautions.
Motorcycle accidents can vary in severity, and everyone should understand the limitations of protective gear and the potential risks involved.
Protective gear includes helmets, gloves, jackets, pants, boots, and armor designed to absorb impact and protect against abrasions. Helmets prevent head injuries, but they may not provide complete protection against traumatic brain injuries in all situations. Even with a proper helmet, many motorcyclists sustain devastating head trauma.
Armor inserts in jackets and pants provide added protection but may not always distribute impact forces evenly or provide adequate protection against all types of collisions.
Motorcycle accidents involve forces that can far exceed the protective capabilities of gear. The impact force, speed of the collision, angle of impact, and other variables contribute to the severity of injuries. While protective gear can mitigate some of these risks, it may not fully prevent injuries in all scenarios.
Protective gear also only covers key areas of the body and may not fully shield every body part. Extremities like fingers, ankles, and wrists are vulnerable despite gear. Open-face helmets may not offer as much protection to the face and chin area as full-face helmets.
While protective gear can help prevent or reduce injuries, it may not prevent all types of injuries. For example, gear can minimize road rash and fractures but may not completely prevent internal injuries or soft tissue damage.
Motorcycle accidents can be unpredictable and involve collisions with various vehicles, objects, and road conditions. Even after the initial impact, a rider can be exposed to secondary impacts, such as hitting the ground, another vehicle, or road debris. These secondary impacts can result in injuries despite wearing protective gear.
Human bodies can still experience injuries due to the abrupt stop and forceful impact of a crash, even if the protective gear reduces the severity of direct trauma.
Psychological factors like shock, disorientation, and instinctual reactions can also contribute to injuries. Individual factors such as a rider’s age, physical condition, health history, and pre-existing injuries can influence how well protective gear can mitigate injuries.
Insurance Tactics Regarding Protective Gear
Many insurance companies reduce compensation because a motorcyclist did not wear the maximum protective gear available. However, you cannot blame injuries on the lack of protective gear. The blame for injuries should fall on negligent drivers or parties who caused the motorcycle crash.
You need an attorney handling your claim who can combat insurance claims that your lack of gear increased your injuries. This is often a major hurdle in motorcycle accident claims, but the right attorney knows how to prove your losses despite what protective gear you were – or were not – wearing during the crash.
Taking Legal Action to Seek Compensation
You might know someone else caused your accident, but no matter how obvious the liability, you cannot simply expect to receive a check in the mail. Instead, take action to obtain the compensation you need from the liable party. Two primary avenues for seeking compensation are insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits.
Insurance Claims Against Drivers or Other Parties
Filing an insurance claim against the driver responsible for the accident is a common first step in seeking compensation for your injuries.
Most states require drivers to carry liability insurance to cover damages they cause in accidents. Your attorney might also identify that another party shares liability, such as the driver’s employer, if they were on the job. You might have to file multiple insurance claims in such situations.
Here’s how the insurance claim process typically works:
- Investigation and evaluation – The insurance company will investigate the accident, review the evidence, and assess your damages. They may request medical records, bills, and other documentation. Your lawyer will also investigate and gather evidence to support your claims of liability and damages.
- Settlement negotiation – The insurance company may offer a settlement to cover your damages. However, their initial offer may not adequately address all your losses. Always seek legal counsel before accepting any settlement to ensure it’s fair. Your lawyer can negotiate for the higher amount you deserve.
- Accept or reject the settlement – You may accept or reject the settlement offer. If you accept, you waive your right to pursue further legal action for the same accident. If the offer is insufficient, negotiations may continue, or you may explore other legal avenues.
Personal Injury Lawsuits
If negotiations with the insurance company don’t result in a fair settlement, your lawyer can file a personal injury lawsuit to escalate the matter. This involves taking legal action against the driver who is at-fault to seek compensation through the court system. While most cases still settle during litigation, some make it to a jury trial for a resolution.
Always Seek a Free Consultation WIth a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
You need a lawyer to assess your best options according to the severity of your injuries, the extent of your damages, and the willingness of the insurance company to offer a fair settlement. Never wait to hire a personal injury lawyer so you can obtain the full financial recovery.