Most Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Motorcycle riders are more directly exposed to hazards on the road, and when accidents do happen, they do not have the protective metal shell of a car to shield them from impact. Bikers who wind up in traffic accidents, especially accidents involving passenger cars and other larger vehicles, commonly suffer serious, catastrophic injuries. Even a lesser injury can lead to long-term pain, limitations on movement, and a variety of debilitating conditions. Read on for a discussion of the most common motorcycle accident injuries in California. If you’ve been hurt in a motorcycle accident in the Bay Area, call the experienced San Francisco motorcycle accident attorney William E. Weiss for advice and representation.
Traumatic Brain Injury and Skull Fracture
Any motorcycle crash in which the rider is thrown from their bike is likely to result in a head injury. Although motorcycle riders are required by California law to wear a DOT-compliant helmet, many bikers choose not to, or they wear helmets that are already damaged or are otherwise unfit to protect a head. Regardless, head injuries are even possible when wearing a helmet.
When a biker is thrown from their bike, they tend to slam their head against the ground. That trauma can cause bruising to the head or even skull fractures, depending upon the speed of impact. Additionally, the trauma can cause the brain to rattle around inside the skull. When the brain experiences a bruise or bleed, serious complications can arise.
Spinal Cord Injury
Bikers who are struck by vehicles or who fall from their motorcycles often experience trauma to the neck, back, or spine. Bikers may also be thrown in twisting motions, which can harm the spine as well, or the spinal cord can be damaged as riders tumble and slide on the asphalt after being thrown from their bike. Spinal tears or fractures can cause lasting, debilitating damage including interruption of the nervous system, paralysis, and other disabling conditions. In extreme circumstances, spinal cord damage can lead to coma or death.
Whiplash is a neck injury that occurs when the head and torso are flung in different directions. Whiplash often occurs in traffic accidents when an impact sends the head moving in one direction while the torso remains behind; the “whipping” motion of the head and neck can lead to spinal cord damage as well as nerve tears, muscle strains, and other injuries. Whiplash often results in headaches, neck pain, and shoulder pain, and in more extreme circumstances can lead to chronic pain and limited mobility for weeks or months following a crash.
Organ Damage and Internal Bleeding
A forceful impact with another vehicle, an object, or the street can do significant damage to a biker’s internal organs. Many accidents result in damage to the lungs, kidneys, stomach, and other organs. Impact can also cause internal bleeding. Thirteen percent of male bikers in rear-end impacts get serious groin injuries as they move forward into the gas tank and smash their testicles. Women can also get injured in this way.
Organ damage and internal bleeding are especially dangerous because they can be hard to detect at first. With no external signs of injury, an accident victim might not realize the severity of their condition. It’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible after an accident to avoid worsening a serious internal injury. Broken ribs can splinter into the interior chest and puncture the lungs causing air to leak out into the chest. This is called pneumothorax and can cause death. Also splintered, fractured ribs can result in internal bleeding in the chest. This is called hemothorax. Emergency personnel in the ER have to install a tube in the chest to drain out blood.
Severe Cuts, Scrapes and Lacerations (Road Rash)
We encourage bikers to wear leather or other sturdy clothing when riding. An accident can send a motorcycle rider skidding across the road, thrashing exposed skin on the legs, hands, arms, and even face, should the rider be helmetless. Road rash can leave behind long-term or even permanent scars. If you suffer from severe scrapes, burns, and other injuries after an accident caused by a negligent driver, you can recover for the pain and suffering you endure as well as for the psychological harm disfigurement can cause. Skin loss can be so severe that it is the equivalent of third-degree burns. At that level skin grafting is required.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle crash or if your rights as a motorcycle rider have been infringed in San Francisco or surrounding areas, contact William E. Weiss for a free consultation at 415-362-6765 ext. 157 or preferably my cell at 415-235-7060. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.