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Common Motorcycle Injuries
Motorcyclists have a word for vehicles with four or more wheels: “cages.” Climb inside, they say, and you lose your freedom. The price of freedom is high. When there’s no “cage” to shield you from the mistakes of careless drivers or other dangers thrown at you by the open road, injuries are more likely.
Statistics show that motorcyclists face a greater risk of catastrophic injury and death in accidents than their “caged” counterparts. Those who survive often face long and costly medical battles. They struggle to make a living under new physical and psychological limitations.
Belluck & Fox’s experienced New York motorcycle injury lawyers are familiar with these struggles, sensitive to these trying circumstances, and skilled at fighting for the compensation needed to rebuild lives. In fact, we have secured more than $1 billion for clients and their families over the years. And we ride motorcycles ourselves, so we understand bikers.
Schedule a free case consultation today to learn how Belluck & Fox will fight for the justice you deserve.
What to Expect After a Motorcycle Accident Injury
Despite the rebel image, motorcyclists usually aren’t the ones at fault when they are involved in accidents with other vehicles. Motorcycle accident statistics show that the drivers of other vehicles are to blame 80 percent of the time, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report from 2003.
Motorcyclists, however, are the most likely ones to pay a high price for the mistakes of others. Based on data from 2014, the NHTSA says motorcyclists are 26 times more likely than passenger-car occupants to die in a crash and nearly five times more likely to be injured. New York alone had 156 motorcycle fatalities in 2015, ranking it eighth among states.
Common motorcycle accident injuries include:
Head and neck trauma. Head injuries are the leading cause of death and disability in motorcycle accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also notes that traumatic brain injury is “frequently referred to as the ‘silent epidemic’ because the complications from TBI, such as changes affecting thinking, sensation, language, or emotions, may not be readily apparent.”
Each injury is unique, with treatment tailored to the individual. The care, typically expensive and sometimes lasting a lifetime, may include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech or language therapy, and vocational therapy. Patients also may need the help of a physiatrist, psychologist, psychiatrist, and family therapist.
It’s also worth noting that helmets saved an estimated 1,630 lives and $2.8 billion in economic costs in 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. New York state requires all operators and passengers to wear helmets and eye protection.
Broken bones and fractures. Leg and foot breaks are the most common fractures in motorcycle accidents, with limbs often pinned under the bike as the rider tries to stabilize it. The arms are at risk because of the tendency to use them as a shield. There’s a name for the latter: biker’s arm.
Severe breaks typical to motorcycle accidents can require surgery, potentially with insertion of metal rods or screws to hold bones in place. Recovery can take months, and victims can have lingering pain, nerve or blood vessel damage, and arthritis. In the worst cases, broken bones can lead to death through blood loss, blood clots, or infection.
Back and spinal cord injuries. The degree of back injury dictates the complexity, length, and effectiveness of treatment, which can include difficult and painful physical and occupational therapy as well as vocational rehabilitation. Partial or full paralysis is possible, depending on where and how severely the spinal cord is injured.
Also common are tears, sprains, and strains of muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the back, which can require lengthy and expensive treatment.
Chest injuries. These injuries often occur when the rider is slammed against the handlebars, pinned after impact, thrown against something, or run over after being thrown from the motorcycle. Protective riding gear is available, but the heart and lungs remain vulnerable. Chest injuries are the No. 2 killer of motorcyclists.
Whiplash. This injury is common but not always immediately evident, which is why it’s important for victims to seek medical treatment whether they are experiencing symptoms or not. Whiplash symptoms can range from neck pain and stiffness to headaches, dizziness, tingling or numbness in the arms, blurred vision, ringing in the ears, trouble sleeping, difficulty concentrating, problems with memory, and depression.
Most people will need a few months of treatment, which can include pain medication and exercise. However, the Mayo Clinic warns that “some people experience chronic neck pain and other ongoing complications.”
Cuts and bruises. It’s no surprise that flesh wounds are common in crashes where largely unprotected humans are tossed around like rag dolls. Medical attention is a good idea – even when it’s “just a scratch” – because a bruise or scrape can be a sign of internal injuries. And cuts might require stitches and medication to prevent infection.
Burns. That’s a gas tank the motorcyclist is straddling, with all the risk of fire and explosion it carries. The muffler also poses a severe burn risk. Along with the threat of disfigurement from scarring, severe burns can mean months of hospitalization, serious infection prevention measures, multiple skin grafts and other surgeries, psychological or psychiatric care, physical and occupational therapy, vocational rehabilitation, and sometimes death.
Abrasions (also called road rash). The most common cause of this type of injury is the rider sliding on the road. As with burns, the resulting road rash comes in degrees, from first to third, with first-degree being the least damaging and third-degree being deep and severe enough to bare fat, tissue, or worse. Treatment can range from a Band-Aid to surgery, with severe scarring and disability possible. (Savvy riders don’t leave home without protective clothing and a helmet.)
After a serious motorcycle accident, the costs of a hospital stay may seem like your biggest financial burden. But when you factor in follow-up medical treatments, which could go on for years, as well as time missed from work and potential permanent disabilities, the damages you suffer can be astronomical.
That’s why you need the excellent motorcycle accidents attorneys at Belluck & Fox on your side to help you understand your rights and all details related to motorcycle insurance law. Our dedicated legal team will enlist the help of medical, forensic, and financial experts to build a strong case for the maximum compensation you deserve. We have locations at Albany, Rochester, NYC and Woodstock.
Schedule a Free Consultation Today
Belluck & Fox’s skilled New York attorneys have more than 20 years of experience helping injured clients recover the compensation they deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation on your motorcycle accident claim, and learn how we will fight for justice for you.
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Mayo Clinic