Over the years, we’ve represented hundreds of victims of motor vehicle accidents. We’ve seen that while any wreck can cause serious injury, motorcycle accidents typically result in severe, permanent injuries. Not only do motorcyclists have less protection than drivers and passengers in cars resulting in more direct trauma, but riders can also more easily be ejected from their bikes, resulting in the potential for secondary injuries.
The Risks of Riding
According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are 29 times more likely to be killed and 5 times more likely to be injured in a motor vehicle accident than people in passenger cars.
Typical injuries include road rash, bone fractures, and damage to internal organs by blunt-force or penetrating trauma. These injuries may require painful rehabilitation and time away from work or loved ones, but with proper medical attention, most riders recover and return to their former lives.
Unfortunately, a motorcycle accident can also result in injuries from which a rider will never walk away. An impact to the spinal cord or brain can cause permanent damage and drastically affect a rider’s quality of life.
Spinal Cord Injury
A spinal cord injury (SCI) can leave a rider unable to walk, work or live independently. 27% of SCIs following motorcycle crashes center on the cervical region, the seven vertebrae of the neck. Injury to this part of the spine can result in quadriplegia or full paralysis.
The remaining SCIs involve damage to the thoracic and lumbar regions, the upper and lower back. Trauma to these areas can cause paraplegia, or paralysis from the waist down.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) rarely robs victims of their ability to walk. Nonetheless, it can be devastating to the rider and his or her family. TBI occurs when a jolt to the head results in brain damage. This jolt could be caused by impact with another object or whiplash.
After examining data on more than 100,000 crashes, the NHTSA found that 15% of helmeted and 21% of unhelmeted motorcyclists who received medical attention for their injuries had suffered TBI as a result of their accident. TBI also accounted for 54% of riders who did not survive.
Riders who do survive TBI may struggle with a range of consequences that alter their behavior and physical abilities. Many have trouble concentrating and remembering. Others face challenges related to anxiety, depression, or PTSD. It’s also common for survivors to suffer persistent headaches, dizziness, seizures, or nerve damage that affects their sensory perception.
When It’s Not the Rider’s Fault
Some motor vehicle accidents are unavoidable, but most can be prevented by taking appropriate safety precautions. The motorcyclists we represent — and have represented in the past — are some of the safest motor vehicle operators we represent.
Most motorcycle crashes are caused by other drivers’ carelessness. In two-thirds of motorcycle accidents involving another vehicle, the accident was caused by the other driver violating the rider’s right of way.
When a driver causes an accident by violating a motorcyclist’s right of way, speeding through a red light, or because he or she was distracted, that driver should be held responsible for his or her negligence in causing the rider’s injuries.
Need For a Skilled Trial Lawyer
If you’ve been hurt in a motorcycle accident caused by another driver’s negligence, it’s crucial you seek the help of a top-notch trial lawyer — someone with the experience, proven results, and dedication to take your case to trial, if necessary, to ensure you receive the full measure of justice for the damages you and your family have experienced. We would be happy to discuss a potential case with you.
For a Free Consultation with one of Passen & Powell’s top-rated personal injury lawyers, call us at 312-527-4500.