According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the most common injuries from motorcycle accidents involve the lower extremities, as well as the chest area and head, with a high frequency of damages and fractures in the legs and more severe injuries in the head and chest.
In a recent year, NHTSA reported 93,000 motorcyclists were injured in crashes. Also, motorcycle accidents account for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities, which is a rate of 23.41 deaths, versus 0.90 for passenger cars. That figure is so disproportionately high largely because of the risks from the lack of coverage and protection a motorcycle provides riders.
A Closer Look at the Most Common Injuries from Motorcycle Accidents
While several factors affect the severity of injuries sustained by motorcyclists, such as speed and the size of the motorcycle and colliding vehicle, there are common characteristics among each type of injury when it comes to motorcycle accidents. While some patients recover from motorcycle injuries, these issues more commonly require hospitalization and rehabilitation for weeks or months after the crash.
Motorcycle Injuries in the Lower Extremities
Lower-extremity injuries, or those below the waist damaging the legs or pelvis, are the most common injuries from motorcycle accidents. This is because of the rider’s positioning on a motorcycle. These injuries can be disabling, even keeping someone from walking permanently.
Road Rash Motorcycle Injuries
These severe abrasions are caused by a motorcyclist sliding across the asphalt or concrete, cutting into several layers of skin, sometimes even down to the bone, yielding an open wound that may require plastic surgery.
Rider’s Arm Motorcycle Injuries
Rider’s arm is a nerve damage condition caused by motorcyclists landing on their upper arm with their full body weight and/or bike weight. The rider’s arm could restrict mobility or even lead to paralysis.
Spinal Injuries from a Motorcycle Accident
Spinal injuries from a motorcycle accident can result in varying severities of paralysis, with quadriplegia as the most devastating as it paralyzes the victim from the neck down. Additional spinal injuries could lead to respiratory problems, incontinence, and sexual dysfunction, among other medical issues. Challenges from spinal injuries can also result in:
- Longer hospitalizations
- Longer recovery overseen by specialists and physical therapists
- Chronic pain
- The inability to return to work
Motorcycle Injuries in the Upper Extremities
Upper-extremity injuries from motorcycle accidents include those to the head, face, neck, thorax, and abdomen. Age is a factor that can affect the severity of these injuries, like broken ribs, because older riders (over 40 years old) tend to ride larger, heavier motorcycles, which can overturn more easily.
Common upper-extremity motorcycle accident injuries include damage to the:
- Thorax, where the heart, lungs, and other organs protected by the ribs are located. The lungs are more vulnerable and susceptible to collapsing and bruising or punctures from broken ribs.
- While Texas law requires motorcyclists to wear a helmet (unless they completed a state-approved training course and have at least $10,000 in insurance coverage), a helmet does not prevent all head injuries from motorcycle accidents. Skull fractures and head trauma can lead to brain damage.
- Face and neck. Common face injuries could include broken noses, jawbones, and teeth, which result in permanent scarring and disfigurement. Motorcyclists hit from behind can also suffer whiplash. Serious neck injuries can damage the spinal cord and cause partial or total paralysis.
- Internal injuries, bleeding, or infection of the abdomen, spleen, or liver are possible because of the force of a motorcycle accident. Internal injuries like these usually require surgery and long-term medical treatment.
What are the Symptoms of a Motorcycle Accident Injury?
Motorcyclists should always seek medical attention after an accident – even if they do not think they are injured. This not only ensures the safety of your physical health but it also provides evidence linking any subsequent injuries and damage to the motorcycle accident, bolstering the ability to recover compensation from the at fault party and/or their insurance company.
A few signs of a motorcycle accident injury to look out for include:
One of the most common symptoms after a motorcycle accident is headaches. It could indicate you have suffered a concussion or another sort of traumatic brain injury. Headaches are often one of the most overlooked symptoms post-accident because they could be a sign of another condition, such as a cold or migraine.
Neck and Shoulder Pain
Neck and shoulder pain could indicate more serious injuries, such as nerve damage, a muscle joint injury, tissue damage, or a spinal cord injury.
Abdominal Pain or Nausea
This may be the result of internal injuries that build up over days, weeks, or months, which could also mean there is internal bleeding or a punctured organ, which can be life-threatening.
If you or someone you care about has been injured in a motorcycle crash caused by the negligence of another driver, please seek a free consultation with a skilled Texas motorcycle accident lawyer today.