Riding a motorcycle is statistically more dangerous than driving a car. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that compared to auto motorists, motorcyclists are 26 times more likely to be killed in a collision and 5 times more likely to receive an injury.
It makes sense that without the protection of airbags, seatbelts, and reinforced metal surrounding them, motorcycle riders are more vulnerable to getting hurt, even in a minor accident.
But even with these statistics, the risk of a minor or major injury isn’t enough to dampen the enthusiasm of a determined motorcyclist. Riders that use caution, obey traffic laws, and wear recommended safety gear shouldn’t be discouraged from getting out on the roads. Riders who stay informed about the latest safety tips, practice safe riding, and invest in quality protective gear are less likely to be involved in a serious accident than those who don’t.
With this in mind, here are some of the most common types of motorcycle accident injuries that are sustained in a crash.
Common Types of Motorcycle Injuries
If you’ve ever witnessed a motorcycle accident as it happened or saw the aftermath of a crash on the highway, it looks absolutely catastrophic, as if no one could possibly survive. But as terrible as they appear to be, not all incidents result in fatalities
The types of motorcycle injuries a rider might experience can be anything from a minor scratch to a life-threatening emergency. But sadly, some of the most common motorcycle accident injuries are serious enough to cause life-long disabilities.
Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord is made up of a bundle of nerves that carry messages from the brain to the rest of the body. Bodily movements and sensations depend on these messages flowing freely. Vertebrae protect the spinal cord, but a traumatic injury can cause bruising, partial or complete tears to the spinal cord.
The higher up on the spinal cord an injury occurs, the more severe the symptoms will likely be. Severe symptoms include quadriplegia — the loss of function to both arms and both legs — and paraplegia, the loss of function in both legs and the lower body.
In most cases, a severe spinal cord injury will cause permanent disability, while in some cases, it can cause death.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Traumatic brain injuries happen when the head or body undergoes a violent blow or when an object goes through the skull to pierce the brain tissue. Symptoms of a TBI range from mild to severe.
Mild TBI symptoms include:
- Fatigue or drowsiness
- Feeling dazed or confused
- Memory loss
- Mood changes
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sensory problems
- Slurring or problems with speech
Moderate to severe TBI can cause a series of life-threatening symptoms, including coma and brain death.
Wearing a helmet dramatically reduces the likelihood of a traumatic brain injury, but it does not completely prevent it. In a study by the NHTSA, of 104,472 motorcyclists who were injured in an accident, 21% that did not wear a helmet suffered a TBI. Only 15% of helmeted riders ended up with a TBI. Of the riders in this group that did not survive, 54% died from a traumatic brain injury.
Internal injuries refer to any number of injuries that happen inside of the body. This includes things like broken ribs, organ injury, or internal bleeding. These types of injuries are caused by the blunt-force trauma that happens when a motorcyclist hits the road or another vehicle during a crash.
Internal injuries can also occur when a rider’s body is punctured by debris or motorcycle parts. While these are considered to be common motorcycle accident injuries, internal damages can be life-threatening. They may require immediate and long-term medical care.
The NHTSA has concluded that damage to the legs or feet represents the most common motorcycle injury. For motorcyclists, bone fractures occur more frequently than soft-tissue damage. While broken bones and other injuries to feet, ankles, calves, and knees may not be fatal, they can be serious enough to cause long-term disability.
When a motorcycle falls over in an accident, a rider’s natural reaction is to try and break that fall with their hands. Unfortunately, this can result in serious injury, like fractures to the hands, wrists, elbows, or shoulders.
Anyone who has ever skinned their knee has experienced a very mild form of road rash. The term describes serious skin abrasions that happen when a rider skids along the road during an accident.
Wearing safety gear such as leather jackets, vests, gloves, and boots can help to protect riders against road rash, but these items will not fully prevent it.
Road rash is the most common motorcycle injury, although it doesn’t always require medical intervention. However, depending on the severity of the injuries, sufferers are susceptible to serious infections and may experience high levels of pain, as well as permanent scarring.
Injuries from a motorcycle accident can cause physical and psychological effects that last a lifetime. If you’ve been in an accident, the best advice is to seek medical help immediately, even if you don’t feel any serious pain right away.
Because damage can be severe and long-lasting, when a motorcycle accident was caused by another driver, it can also be helpful to speak with a personal injury attorney who specialized in motorcycle accidents to discuss the opportunity to recover compensation for your injuries.
Since 1992, our personal injury attorneys at the Pines Salomon Injury Lawyers, APC. have been fighting for the people. Now, when those injured in automobile accidents need financial help, or for the families that need to know that the loss of a loved one could have been prevented, there is a personal injury law firm in San Diego that is on their side.
If you or a family member has been injured, call the lawyers at Pines Salomon Injury Lawyers, APC. There’s never been a better time than right now to speak to a personal injury attorney—FREE of charge. Call us at 858-551-2090 or request a free consultation online today!
SENIOR PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY & FIRM FOUNDER
Michael Pines is a former insurance company attorney who graduated from the University of California Hastings College of the Law in 1987. While he was an insurance attorney, he learned from behind the scenes how insurance companies work and how they decide how much to pay injured people. Now that he works against insurance companies, Michael’s inside knowledge has resulted in significant benefits to his clients injured in car accidents. Learn more about Michael Pines