While there’s nothing like riding a motorcycle and feeling the rush of wind and the heartbeat and rhythm of the bike, this mode of transportation can come with significant risks. Understanding the causes of motorcycle accidents and the injuries that can result from such accidents is crucial for anyone who rides.
Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents can occur due to a variety of reasons. Some of the most common include reckless driving, lack of visibility, and sharing roadways with larger vehicles.
Reckless driving refers not only to motorcyclists who speed or perform dangerous maneuvers, but also to car drivers who fail to respect motorcycle's right-of-way. Drivers of other vehicles can also be reckless by:
Failing to respect the rules of the road
Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Tailgating motorcyclists or other vehicles
Driving while drowsy or distracted
Lack of visibility is another major problem. Motorcycles are smaller than cars and trucks, making them more difficult for other drivers to spot. Additionally, poor weather conditions can further reduce visibility.
Sharing roadways with larger vehicles can be particularly dangerous for motorcyclists. Larger vehicles, like trucks and buses, have blind spots where motorcycles may go unseen. Also, the sheer size and weight of these vehicles can cause severe damage in a collision.
Why Motorcycle Accidents Can Be So Severe
Motorcycles offer less protection than cars. Unlike cars and trucks, these vehicles lack:
a protective metal frame.
This means that in an accident, the rider's body often takes the brunt of the impact. As such, motorcycle accidents can result in more severe injuries than other types of vehicular accidents.
Common Injuries Suffered in Motorcycle Accidents
Here are some common injuries that motorcycle accident victims may suffer:
Road rash. This injury occurs when a rider slides across the pavement, causing the skin to scrape off. It can lead to severe pain, scarring, and even infection. In severe cases, road rash can also lead to muscle injuries and damage.
Broken bones. The impact of a motorcycle crash can easily break bones. The most commonly broken bones include the legs, arms, and collarbones.
Spinal cord injuries. These can result in partial or complete paralysis, significantly impacting a victim's quality of life.
Concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Even with a helmet, riders can still suffer serious brain injuries in an accident. These can lead to cognitive impairment, memory loss, and behavioral changes.
Abdominal injuries. Motorcyclists can often suffer chest injuries, such as lung lacerations, rib fractures, heart lacerations, and other vascular injuries. In such accidents, riders can also sustain injuries that lead to internal bleeding.
Burn injuries. If the gas tank leaks or spills during an accident, a ride can sustain burns if the leak ignites.
Hand and arm injuries. During the crash, you may throw out your arm to try to break your fall instinctually, which can lead to arm, wrist, and hand injuries. A common injury, known as Bikers’ Arm, involves sustaining nerve damage after landing on your arm in an accident. This injury can lead to paralysis.
Damages in Motorcycle Accidents
Each of these injuries can drastically alter a victim's life, potentially causing permanent physical disability. Motorcycle accident injuries can also impact a person’s financial health.
Should you bring a motorcycle claim forward, you can damages to compensate you for the following types of financial losses:
Medical expenses, which can include hospital bills, prescription medication costs, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and future medical expenses related to the accident.
Property damage, which covers the cost to repair or replace your motorcycle and any other personal property damaged in the accident.
Lost wages, which aim to compensate you for the income you lost because of workplace injuries
Loss of earning capacities, which compensates you if your injuries are so severe that they affect your ability to work in the future.
Pain and suffering, which refers to the physical pain and discomfort that result from the accident and the injuries sustained, can also be compensated for.
Loss of consortium, which compensates for losses related to deprivation of the benefits of a family relationship. This type of claim is usually brought by the spouse of the injured person, but in some cases, it may also be brought by children or parents of the injured party. It's intended to compensate for the loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, moral support, sexual relations, and the ability to have children.
Preventing motorcycle accidents and their resulting injuries involves a combination of safe riding practices and protective gear. Here are a few safety tips for motorcyclists:
Always wear a helmet and other protective clothing, such as a leather jacket, long pants, and boots.
Use your lights and signals to increase visibility.
Always obey traffic laws.
Be extra cautious around larger vehicles and in poor weather conditions.
What to Do If You're Involved in a Motorcycle Accident
If you're involved in a motorcycle accident, seek immediate medical attention, even if you think you’re uninjured. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent.
You should also document the accident as much as possible, including photographs of the scene and your injuries. Finally, consider consulting with a legal professional to understand your rights and potential compensation.
Trusted Counsel for Those Injured in Motorcycle Crashes
At the Law Offices of Charles R. Gueli, we offer compassionate counsel to those injured in negligence-related vehicular crashes. Should you or a loved one be injured in such an accident, our firm can help you understand your legal rights and options, calculate your damages, and pursue a claim.
Learn more about how our attorney can help you by calling (516) 628-6402.