Every year, thousands of motorcyclists get sent to hospitals and emergency rooms with serious and life-threatening injuries. Traffic accidents pose more of a threat to motorcyclists than passenger vehicle occupants. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that motorcyclists are about 28 times more likely than people in passenger cars to suffer fatal injuries in collisions. Due to the nature of a motorcycle, riders face unique injury risks.
Motorcyclists do not have the protective metal shell, airbag or seat belt of a motor vehicle to safeguard them from harm in a crash. If a motorcyclist gets ejected from his or her bike, the victim’s body may strike the road or another object with a large amount of force. The bones of the body can only take so much force or pressure before they will crack and break. Bone fractures are painful injuries that cause temporary or permanent disability. Injured motorcyclists often experience broken legs, ankles, arms, wrists, ribs and skulls from the force of the impact in a crash.
Muscle and Ligament Damage
Aside from the possibility of a hard-tissue injury such as a broken bone, motorcyclists are at risk of soft-tissue injuries. Soft tissues refer to muscles, tendons and ligaments. In a traffic accident, a motorcycle rider’s contact with asphalt, a motor vehicle or a fixed object could strain, sprain or tear the body’s soft tissues. Soft-tissue injuries can take a long time to heal and may require physical therapy and rehabilitation to treat. Common examples include whiplash and neck injuries, disc herniation, and dislocations.
Face, Head and Brain Injuries
If a motorcycle rider’s head or skull suffers an impact in a motorcycle accident, it could cause a traumatic brain injury. A brain injury can cause long-term or permanent brain damage, as well as the death of the motorcyclist in the most severe cases. In addition, a motorcyclist could suffer injury to his or her face, mouth and teeth, potentially causing major scarring and disfigurement. Even with a motorcycle helmet on, a rider could suffer a serious head or brain injury in a wreck; however, a helmet can drastically reduce the risk.
The impact of a motorcycle crash could cause damage to a victim’s spinal cord. With no seat belt to keep a motorcyclist in place, the spinal cord is vulnerable to serious injuries, including fractures. If the damage is severe, the victim may suffer permanent paralysis, such as paraplegia or quadriplegia. Paralysis refers to the loss of feeling and function below the place of injury on the spine. Paralysis and other serious spinal cord injuries may be caused by blunt force trauma, crush injuries, spinal compression, vertebrae fractures or a severed spine.
Road Rash and Burns
Skin injuries can be much more severe in a motorcycle accident than superficial cuts and scrapes. If the motorcyclist’s body gets scraped or pulled across the pavement, his or her skin could suffer deep lacerations and severe abrasions, also known as road rash. Road rash could result in traumatic tattooing – a type of permanent scarring – if rocks and debris get embedded in the victim’s skin. Burn injuries are also a possibility, such as friction burns or thermal burns if one of the vehicles involved in the crash catches on fire.
Internal injuries can occur if a motorcyclist gets pulled beneath the tires of a motor vehicle in an accident and crushed, or if the trunk of the body strikes an object in the crash. Internal injuries may include organ damage – such as to the spleen, liver, lungs and kidneys – as well as internal bleeding. Internal injuries may not be immediately apparent, which is why a motorcyclist involved in an accident should see a doctor right away.If you suffered any type of injury in a recent motorcycle accident in Nebraska, contact an Omaha motorcycle accident attorney at Knowles Law Firm to request a free case consultation. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your bodily injury.