Accidents can happen at any time on busy roadways. Car, truck, and bus drivers all experience their fair share of crashes each year; however, roadway collisions for motorcyclists can be particularly devastating. When a negligent driver causes a motorcycle accident, they often result in catastrophic injuries to the rider of the bike. Drivers need to understand just how and why these devastating accidents occur as well as what consequences their dangerous driving behaviors can have in the form of common motorcycle injuries.
Pittsburgh Motorcycle Injuries
Any vehicle accident has the potential to result in catastrophic injury; however, motorcyclists face this threat nearly every time they hit the road. This is often because by their nature motorcycles are far less “crashworthy” than closed vehicles – meaning they are generally unable to withstand the impact of a vehicle and/or protect riders from harm because the design leaves riders exposed when an accident occurs. In addition, motorcyclists and their passengers are also more vulnerable to weather hazards and road conditions. Motorcycles are also much less visible to other drivers and can be less stable than four-wheel vehicles.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2019, 5,014 motorcyclists died in motorcycle crashes and were nearly 29 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash per vehicle miles traveled. When looking at Pennsylvania specifically, in 2020, those in our state suffered 61,249 motor vehicle-related injuries according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PDOT). Of these injuries, 3,227 were directly linked to motorcycle crashes.
Some of the most common types of motorcycle injuries include:
Road Rash and Rider’s Arm
When a motorcycle accident happens, the biker can be thrown off of their bike and slide across the pavement, which can result in road rash. While you may not think something called a “rash” is concerning, road rash is much more severe than a small scrape or bruise. This is because the force with which the body moves across the pavement can result in multiple layers of skin being peeled away, sometimes even exposing muscle. Because these injuries can be incredibly severe, it’s important that motorcyclists wear helmets and protective gear each time they ride.
Additionally, motorcycle accident victims who sometimes land on their upper arms with their full weight or can have their bike fall onto them may suffer nerve damage called rider’s arm. This condition can cause reduced mobility and even paralysis in some cases.
Motorcycle accident victims are also susceptible to open wounds due to road rash, a puncture from a broken bone, or a penetrating object. Dirt, shards of metal or glass, or other debris can enter and contaminate these open wounds, leaving the rider at risk of serious infection.
Brain and Head Injuries
While it’s no secret that helmets can reduce the risk of head injury, not all such injuries are preventable even with the proper safety precautions taken. When this happens, motorcyclists are incredibly susceptible to skull fractures, concussions, and traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Motorcycle accident-related head and brain injuries can result in life-altering outcomes with long-term physical, cognitive, and/or behavioral impairment.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Motorcycle accidents can also injure a rider’s spinal cord. Trauma and injury to the back, neck, and/or spinal column can lead to devastating injuries. These often include torn ligaments, displaced vertebra, herniated discs, and nerve damage. Injury to the spinal cord is among the most severe injuries a motorcycle rider may face, as it can cause varying degrees of paralysis – including paraplegia and quadriplegia – that can be permanent.
Motorcyclists can often experience broken or crushed bones when an accident occurs. This can be due to riders being thrown off their bikes or being crushed by their bikes or another vehicle. Riders who suffer broken or crushed bones may need extensive orthopedic reconstruction. Not only that, but victims also have the potential to lose limbs or appendages in a motorcycle accident, or may require the amputation of legs or arms that cannot be saved.
Often, the face and mouth are particularly vulnerable to motorcycle injuries when bikers are involved in an accident. Victims can suffer from eye damage or vision loss, broken facial bones, loose or missing teeth, facial scarring, and other medical issues. Some of these dental and facial injuries can be disfiguring and affect the victim for life.
When to Hire a Pittsburgh Motorcycle Accident Attorney
When a motorcycle accident is caused by the negligence of another party or parties, those responsible can and should be held legally liable, the best way to ensure those at fault for an accident that caused motorcycle injuries are held accountable is to hire a Pittsburgh motorcycle accident attorney.
Although some may wonder if hiring an attorney can really help them after an accident, it’s important to remember that a lot of moving parts go into investigating motorcycle accidents and pursuing compensation for damages. In certain circumstances, it can be tough to recover damages even when it is very obvious who was at fault.
The experienced personal injury lawyers of SMT Legal can provide motorcycle accident victims and/or their families with a free consultation, handle all the necessary paperwork, and manage negotiations on the victim’s behalf. Much of this work is done to ensure sufficient evidence that establishes the other motorist’s fault, the fault of other potentially liable parties, and ensure proper inspections of all vehicles and gear are completed.
Pittsburgh Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
Motorcycle injuries can be devastating – and in some situations life-altering. In these highly stressful situations, victims and their families may not know what to do to obtain the financial compensation they need to recover finally, emotionally, and medically. Hiring experienced legal representation can help following these traumatic events. If you or someone you know has been involved in a motorcycle accident resulting in injury or death, contact the trial attorneys at SMT Legal to set up a free consultation to discuss your needs.