Motorcycle accidents can lead to disastrous outcomes for everyone involved. Unlike car accidents where victims are trapped inside a combination of plastic and metal, motorcyclists have absolutely no exterior protection.
As a result, victims’ bodies can collide directly with other vehicles, surrounding objects, and even the road. This can lead to a wide range of long-term and permanent injuries and even death. Keep reading to learn about the most common injuries in motorcycle accidents.
Motorcycle Accident Injury Statistics
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) maintains traffic safety facts and information for a variety of motor vehicles, including motorcycles.
By examining their data, more information about motorcycle accidents and injuries can be analyzed, to better understand the risk for riders. The most recent data is from 2019, and includes some important statistics to consider, including:
- Total Injuries and Fatalities — In 2019, there were 5,014 motorcycle fatalities, and approximately 84,000 injuries.
- Riders and Passengers Killed — Of the fatalities in 2019, 94% were riders, and only 6% were passengers.
- Weather Conditions — At the times of motorcycle crashes, the weather was clear or cloudy 97% of the time.
- Where Accidents Took Place — 91% of the crashes were on non-interstate roads, with 66% being at non-intersection locations and 61% occurring in urban areas.
- Alcohol and Drug Use — 29% of the motorcycle riders killed in 2019 had a blood alcohol content over the legal limit, while a further 7% had elevated blood alcohol that was not yet at or over that limit.
- Speeding and Reckless Driving — Speeding accounted for 33% of the crashes which resulted in a fatality, with 21-24-year-olds having the highest rate of accidents.
Many of the motorcyclists killed lost their lives in states where there are no helmet laws, and 30% of fatalities had no valid motorcycle license at the time of the accident.
I’ve Been Injured in a Motorcycle Accident. What Should I Do?
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, there are some things you will want to do. These include:
- Get a medical assessment as soon as possible
- Exchange information with the other party
- Get a copy of the police report
- Collect evidence from the scene
- Take pictures of the accident scene
- Speak with witnesses
- Speak with an attorney
Those who are fortunate enough to survive a motorcycle accident may be afflicted with pressing medical issues that can keep them inactive for a very long time, which is why many victims seek counsel from a motorcycle injury attorney who can help them receive financial compensation.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Below are seven of the most common motorcycle accident injuries, but this is not an exhaustive list. If you’ve been hurt in an accident with one of the following injuries, or something else entirely, contact our South Carolina injury attorneys today for a consultation.
1. Head Injuries
Even victims who wear a helmet can be afflicted with massive head injuries. At high speeds, a motorcycle victim can collide directly into a vehicle, building, or structure. This can almost certainly result in a direct head collision against an object or surface.
Some head injuries are not life-threatening and can be treated in the hospital. Other serious brain injuries, known as traumatic brain injuries, can have long-lasting side effects.
Symptoms of a traumatic brain injury can include:
- Difficulty thinking
- Sleep apnea
- Chronic headaches
- Sudden mood swings (anger, depression, etc)
- Issues with speech
Shockingly, many major brain injuries can go unnoticed for quite some time. This makes it all the more important to visit a hospital immediately after your accident and receive all of the medical care prescribed to you, including follow-up treatment.
2. Road Rash
Another unfortunate outcome of being involved in a motorcycle accident is receiving road rash. No matter what speed you’re traveling at, your motorcycle can collide with another vehicle and cause your body to slide on the road.
The road can scrape through the toughest clothes and penetrate the skin underneath causing abrasions, burns, and severe bruises. Severe cases of road rash can also develop into permanent injuries, such as nerve damage, infections, and skin irritation.
3. Broken Bones
Motorcycles don’t provide nearly as much external coverage to riders, making collisions all the more consequential. Being thrown from a motorcycle can result in broken bone injuries such as:
- Fractured skull
- Fractured ribs
- Broken collarbone
- Broken arms and legs
- Broken neck
A motorcyclist can also sustain broken bones during a direct impact with another motorist. Broken bones can take time to heal. Depending on your profession, you may be forced to stay in the hospital and at home until you fully recover.
This can lead to lost wages and you could even lose your job under some circumstances.
4. Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are unfortunately the standard in motorcycle accidents. The reason why is very simple. In a car accident, a victim could very easily sustain a neck or spinal cord injury.
However, due to safety precautions such as an airbag and seatbelt, the severity of these injuries may be mild and disappear over time. In a motorcycle, no such devices exist.
This means that the victim’s neck can be directly struck, disjointed, or hyperextended without any protection. Spinal cord injuries as the result of motorcycle accidents are usually very severe.
Since the spinal cord plays an integral role in the body’s nervous system, motorcycle crash victims may have to undergo long periods of hospitalization and rehabilitation to resume their normal life.
5. Muscle Damage
Road rash can contribute to the rapid deterioration of muscle tissue and mass. This usually only happens in severe motorcycle accidents where the victim was either driving or was thrown at a very high speed.
Roads are on a flat angle and can’t break a person’s fall. This means a victim will slide on the ground until they come to a gradual halt. What’s left behind on the street is muscle tissue that’s necessary for basic human functions.
Although muscles are designed to repair themselves, recovery from this type of trauma can take several months. During this time, you could be forced to handle expensive medical costs without access to your normal wages.
6. Lower Body Injuries
Lower body injuries are very common in motorcycle-related injuries. As a person is thrown from a motorcycle, the legs can be damaged if they attempt to catch themselves. According to a study from the NHTSA, lower body injuries are the most common injuries sustained in motorcycle crashes.
In fact, lower body bone injuries were much more common in these instances than soft tissue damage. Needless to say, injuries to the lower body can disrupt a person’s ability to walk and live a normal life.
7. Internal Injuries
Motorcycle accidents can lead to blunt-force trauma. This is known as a force so strong that it doesn’t penetrate the skin. Instead, organs are damaged and bleeding can take place.
Internal injuries are difficult to self-diagnose. You may notice that you’re not feeling well but may not understand that you’re bleeding in your stomach or liver. Internal injuries can also be caused by penetration trauma.
For example, broken glass can penetrate the skin and damage your lungs, stomach, and arteries. This can lead to complications that require surgery and long-term medical care.
How to Protect Yourself From Common Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents
Protecting yourself from motorcycle accident injuries is very important. However, it’s important to remember that even the best prevention might not be enough to avoid all accidents.
Negligent drivers can still cause problems for you, and can put you at risk. To reduce that risk, make sure you properly maintain your motorcycle, ride during good weather, and wear bright colors, so you can be seen more easily. Also remember to dress in protective gear, to lessen your chances of injury in an accident.
Find a South Carolina Motorcycle Accident Attorney
As you can see, motorcycle accidents can be quite serious. If you have been injured in a recent accident, then you should contact us by dialing (864) 573-9688 to speak to a member of our team.