You can be the victim of a motorcycle accident in seconds – and whether you were traveling at low or high speeds, your injuries can be incredibly serious. Motorcycles aren’t equipped with protections like cars are; they don’t have crumple zones, air bags, bumpers or other safety features.
But what are the most common injuries after motorcycle accidents? Here’s what you need to know.
The Most Common Injuries After Motorcycle Accidents
Unfortunately, motorcycles don’t provide your body with any protection – and when a negligent or careless driver causes you to crash, you could be significantly hurt. Some of the most common injuries after motorcycle accidents include:
- Road rash
- Broken bones
- Head injury
- Neck, back or spinal trauma
- Internal injuries
Here’s a closer look at each.
Road Rash After a Motorcycle Crash
When human skin makes continuous contact with pavement during an accident it can result in an injury that’s referred to as road rash. Depending on the angle of a motorcycle crash and the speed of the bike a rider can experience serious road rash, since their body may skid across the pavement for a significant distance. This can result in an injury that looks much like a burn.
During skin contact with the surface of a highway or street debris can become embedded in the skin or cause lacerations that result in serious damage to muscle and tissues.
Related: Personal injury information
Broken Bones From Motorcycle Accidents
Bones that are most often broken during motorcycle accidents are ones in the arms, legs, ribs, and collarbone. In an accident motorcyclists often place their feet down in an attempt to keep the motorcycle stable or to lay it down. As a result the heavy vehicle can fall onto one of the legs of its operator and break bones in the legs and feet, and possibly fracture a hip.
The hands are especially vulnerable in that, in an effort to break a fall, a motorcyclist may reach out. This can cause broken bones in the hand and wrist, arm, and shoulder.
Head Injuries Sustained in Motorcycle Accidents
Injuries to the head can be very severe in motorcycle accidents. Though a motorcyclist may wear a helmet, when the head collides with pavement or another object it can result in a slight concussion, or even a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Mild traumatic brain injury may affect brain cells temporarily. More serious TBI, however, can result in bruising, torn brain tissues, bleeding, and other physical damage to the brain, which can cause long-term complications or death. The degree of damage can depend on the nature of the injury and the force of impact.
Wearing a safety helmet is key to helping prevent head injury. The state of California has a universal helmet law, as do 17 other states and the District of Columbia. Universal helmet laws require the use of helmets for both operators and passengers. In 2019, 99 percent of motorcyclists observed in states with universal helmet laws were wearing their helmets, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In states without these laws helmet use was at 71 percent.
Among motorcyclists in states with universal helmet laws the use of helmets that were deemed to be compliant with federal safety regulations was 89 percent, and 56 percent in states without those laws.
If involved in a crash motorcyclists who wear helmets are less likely to experience a catastrophic injury or suffer a fatality. In fact wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of a serious head injury by almost 70 percent, according to data from the CDC, and it can lessen the risk of death by about 37 percent.
Neck, Back or Spinal Trauma After a Bike Crash
When a rider or passenger falls from a motorcycle, or is ejected, a spinal injury is likely. The injury can be more severe, however, if the individual hits a stationary object, like a tree, lamppost, guardrail, or another vehicle.
A spinal injury can damage the soft tissue of the spine and result in conditions like bulging or ruptured disks, temporary or permanent paraplegia—the loss of feeling or motor control of the legs, or temporary or permanent quadriplegia, which is the loss of feeling and control of all four limbs.
Internal Injuries From Motorcycle Accidents
Because injuries to the chest, shoulders and back are common in motorcycle accidents, internal injuries are also common. Internal organs, such as the lungs, can be punctured by fractured ribs and bleed internally. Even if your organs aren’t punctured, they can be bruised, crushed or otherwise damaged. These kinds of internal injuries can have a lengthy and complicated healing process.
Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer After Sustaining Injuries in a Motorcycle Accident?
If you or someone you care about has been injured in a bike accident, we can help. Give us a call at 818-230-8380 as soon as you’re able. We’ll be happy to give you the legal advice you need.