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Top 5 Motorcycle Injuries When an Injury Law Suit Can Be Filed
The appeal of a motorcycle is indisputable. Open air, powerful engine, and speed make biking the popular pastime it is. Whether you enjoy long, multiway rides, off-road biking, short commuting, or ripping along the highway in the evenings, motorcycle riding is unlike any other kind of transportation. However, the thrill of biking comes with a very real risk that cannot be ignored. It’s attractiveness, unfortunately, is also it’s danger.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcycle deaths are close to 30 times more frequent than other forms of transportation. On top of this, the statistics of motorcycle deaths by drivers who are drug or alcohol impaired is bewildering. To make matters worse, over 80% of all motorcycle crashes result in injury or death. Plus, if you are under 30 or over 50, you are at a higher risk of a fatal accident than any other age group. In a comprehensive study conducted by the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine, the leading injuries for motorcycle accidents included injuries of the lower and upper extremities, head injuries, and chest injuries. While many of these injuries can be mitigated with the use of safety gear, the dangers of motorcycles will always come with the thrill of the ride.
Lower extremity injuries are the most common injuries associated with motorcycles, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While these injuries are less likely to be fatal than other injuries, they vary in severity from muscle manipulations to amputations. Leg and pelvis injuries are the most common within the injuries associated with lower extremities and are followed by knee, thigh and foot injuries. The most common form of injury affecting the lower extremities is a bone fracture. The tibia and fibula, found in the lower half of the leg, are most susceptible, followed by femur and hip fractures. These larger bone fractures can be extremely dangerous due to the dangers associated with the fracture disrupting major veins and arteries and the potential for internal bleeding.
There are several reasons why upper extremity injuries are so common in motorcycle accidents. The first is because of the extreme exposure of the extremities when on a motorcycle and, therefore, the vulnerability arms and shoulders face in a crash. It is also typical human reaction to brace oneself from a fall using hands and arms, known as the crumple effect. These combined factors make upper extremity injuries extremely common in motorcycle accidents. Upper extremities injuries show up in 35% of motorcycle crashes and can vary from sprained wrists to dislocated shoulders or broken arms. The most common form of injury is called a shoulder girdle injury, which refers to trauma of the clavicle, scapula, and humerus regions. This injury is often accompanied by sever head and spinal trauma. Forearm fractures are the second most common form of upper extremity injury from a motorcycle accident.
Not only common, but also the most traumatic and fatal injury associated with motorcycle accidents is head trauma. Trauma can be characterized by facial deformity, blunt skull trauma or traumatic brain injury, including mild to severe concussion and brain damage. It is easy to see how this kind of trauma could come about due to lack of protection around the head in a motorcycle accident and the increased risk of ejection upon impact. Blunt trauma to the head, in high speed or high impact accidents, is nearly unavoidable.
Head injuries are also the most effectively preventable trauma with a helmet. Recent data in the United States shows that overall compliant use of helmets is at only 65%.
Thoracic or Chest Injuries
Another common form of motorcycle injury is trauma to the chest. Typical trauma includes fracturing of the ribs or sternum, lung puncturing or laceration, trauma to the aorta, or fluid in the heart. Chest injury generally occurs because of blunt trauma to the chest upon impact. Broken ribs or a broken sternum can puncture or harm internal organs, or repeated force to the chest area can cause severe trauma. These kinds of injuries are actually more common in older riders, potentially due to the more common usage of larger and wider bikes. Thoracic and chest trauma can also be deceptive and hard to detect immediately. In some cases, multiple issues can make it complicated to distinguish and identify injuries inside the rib cage. In other cases, trauma may not be apparent until some time after the accident, but arise suddenly and without warning.
Abrasions or Road Rash
Road rash is the result of some kind of friction applied to the epidermis, resulting in abrasions on the skin. Abrasion injuries in motorcyclists can be extreme and any part of the body that is not well-covered is susceptible to this kind of injury. Generally, road rash occurs when a rider falls from the bike and slides along the road or other environmental feature, scraping exposed skin. This type of injury can result in the need for skin grafting and multiple reconstructive surgeries. Due to the way exposed under layers of skin are affected by road rash, the area is also dangerously susceptible to infection and medical complications. Road rash is fairly easy to prevent with the use of appropriate motorcycle gear including heavy duty pants, jackets and gloves. While expensive, this equipment can be lifesaving in the event of an accident.
While many of us understand the allure of the open road and the revving of a motorcycle engine, we must also be aware of the risk we are taking on and what we may need to be prepared for. Motorcycle accident injuries can be some of the ugliest and most traumatic injuries to experience or see and may require intense and prolonged medical treatment. It can be challenging to think about much beyond a loved one suffering from the pain of an accident or how to manage daily life, but these incidents do require the assistance of legal counsel. Obtaining a lawyer is one of the most relieving actions to take in the event of this kind of trauma, so that the stress associated with the legal implications of the accident can be handled by a professional.
At Silverthorne Attorneys, our team of knowledgeable and experienced motorcycle injury lawyers are ready to assess your claim and help you pursue the compensation you deserve. For a complimentary consultation of your case, contact our team at (949) 234-6034.