All road accidents are scary, but motorcycle accidents are amongst the most devastating. When you think about how vulnerable motorcyclists are compared to motorists, the pieces fall into place — after all, how can one highly exposed individual on a bike possibly take on a full-sized car? It’s no wonder that motorcycle accidents tend to yield a range of horrific injuries, from classic road rash or bruising all the way through to broken limbs. This article talks you through the most common injuries in motorcycle accidents, as well as some frequently asked questions about the aftermath of a crash.
Statistics about motorcycle accidents in Texas
The Texas Department of Transportation released some harrowing statistics about motorcycle injuries and fatalities in the state. On average, a motorcyclist is killed in a crash on Texas roads every day — in 2020, despite far fewer people on the roads due to lockdowns, 482 riders died. Motorcyclists account for 12% of all traffic fatalities statewide in Texas. In addition to this, 1,856 motorcyclists were seriously injured during this period. While statistics for 2022 and beyond are yet to be released, we can only imagine that the numbers have increased due to easing restrictions and more people on the road.
The most common types of motorcycle accidents
Single-vehicle accidents: These accidents involve only the motorcycle and typically occur when the rider loses control, such as when taking a turn too quickly or hitting a road hazard.
Collisions with another vehicle: These accidents occur when a motorcycle collides with another vehicle, such as a car or truck. This can happen when the other driver fails to see the motorcycle, turns in front of it or changes lanes without signaling.
Rear-end collisions: As the name suggests, this happens when a vehicle hits a motorcycle from behind. This can happen when the other driver is distracted or not paying attention to the road.
Lane splitting accidents: Lane splitting is when a motorcyclist rides between two lanes of traffic. These accidents can occur when a vehicle changes lanes without seeing the motorcycle or when the motorcycle collides with a vehicle while passing.
Intersection accidents: These happen at intersections when a driver fails to yield to a motorcycle or when a motorcycle runs a red light or stop sign.
Injuries from motorcycle accidents
Due to the rider’s exposure and vulnerability on the road, there is a wide range of accidents that tend to be reported after motorcycle accidents. We talk through some of the most commonly reported injuries and ailments, from mild to life-threatening.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a common and potentially life-threatening injury that can occur in a motorcycle accident. The force of impact from a collision can cause the rider’s head to hit a hard surface, resulting in brain damage. TBI can range from mild concussions to severe brain damage and can have long-lasting effects on cognitive, emotional and physical function. Prompt medical evaluation and treatment are crucial to minimize the risk of long-term complications from TBI.
Spinal injuries are a common and serious type of injury that can result from motorcycle accidents. These injuries can range from mild to severe and can cause paralysis or loss of sensation and function below the point of the injury. Spinal injuries can have long-term or permanent effects on a person’s quality of life.
Whiplash is a term you’re probably familiar with when it comes to road accidents of all kinds, but it’s frighteningly common in motorbike accidents — especially if the rider is struck from behind or thrown off the bike. Whiplash is a neck injury caused by a sudden, forceful back-and-forth movement of the head, which can cause strain or sprain to the muscles and ligaments of the neck. Symptoms of whiplash can include neck pain, stiffness and headaches, and can range from mild to severe.
Lacerations are very common occurrence following motorcycle accidents, particularly to exposed areas such as the arms, legs and face. These injuries can range from minor cuts and bruises to deep wounds that may require stitches or surgery to repair.
Victims of motorcycle accidents often present with broken bones. Depending on the location and severity of the break, treatment may involve immobilization with a cast or brace, physical therapy, or surgery. Prompt medical attention is important to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment of broken bones, as delayed treatment can lead to complications and prolonged recovery time.
Amputation of limbs is a severe and life-changing injury that can occur in a motorcycle accident. It may be necessary to amputate a limb if it is severely injured or cannot be repaired. Recovery from an amputation can be a long and difficult process, involving physical therapy, prosthetic limbs and emotional support.
Internal bleeding is a potentially life-threatening complication of motorcycle accidents. It occurs when the blood vessels or organs inside the body are damaged and bleed internally. Symptoms of internal bleeding may not be apparent right away and can include abdominal pain, dizziness, low blood pressure and weakness.
Organ damage is a significant concern in motorcycle accidents, as the impact of the crash can cause internal bleeding, lacerations or ruptures to organs such as the liver, spleen or kidneys. Organ damage can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention. Symptoms of organ damage can include abdominal pain, swelling, nausea, vomiting and low blood pressure, among others.
Facial disfigurement after a motorcycle accident can have significant physical and emotional consequences. In addition to the pain and discomfort associated with the injury, it can affect a person’s self-esteem and confidence, and may require extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation. Cosmetic surgery may be an option to correct some of the physical damage, but it may not always be possible to fully restore a person’s appearance.
Road rash is a common injury that can occur when a motorcycle rider’s skin comes into contact with the pavement or other rough surfaces during an accident. It is essentially a severe abrasion that can cause skin irritation, inflammation and infection. Proper wound care and medical attention are necessary to prevent complications and promote healing.
FAQs about motorcycle accident injuries
The most common injury sustained in motorcycle accidents is to the rider's legs and feet, followed by injuries to the head and neck. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are about 27 times more likely to die in a crash than occupants of passenger cars per vehicle mile traveled. Wearing appropriate safety gear such as a helmet, protective clothing, and boots can significantly reduce the risk of injury in a motorcycle accident. Additionally, following traffic laws and riding defensively can also help prevent accidents.
Possible internal injuries from a motorcycle accident can include:
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): This can occur when the rider's head hits a hard surface, such as the pavement or another vehicle. TBIs can range from mild concussions to severe brain damage and can be life-threatening.
Spinal cord injuries: These can result from a sudden impact or jolt to the spinal column. A spinal cord injury can cause paralysis or loss of sensation and function below the point of the injury.
Organ damage: Motorcycle accidents can cause internal bleeding, lacerations, or ruptures of organs, such as the liver, spleen or kidneys. These injuries can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention.
Broken bones: A motorcycle accident can cause multiple fractures, including broken ribs, arms, legs or hips. Depending on the severity of the break, surgery may be necessary to repair the damage.
Chest injuries: A rider may suffer chest injuries from impact with the handlebars, fuel tank or other parts of the motorcycle. These injuries can cause broken ribs, collapsed lungs or damage to the heart.
It is essential to seek medical attention immediately after a motorcycle accident, even if you feel fine, as some injuries may not show symptoms right away.
The signs of internal injury can vary depending on the type and severity of the injury. Some possible signs of internal injury after a motorcycle accident may include:
- Abdominal pain or swelling
- Chest pain or pressure
- Difficulty breathing
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Pale skin or clammy skin
- Rapid heartbeat or low blood pressure
- Severe headache or blurred vision
- Tingling or numbness in the limbs
- Unconsciousness or confusion
It is important to seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of these symptoms after a motorcycle accident. Some internal injuries may not show symptoms right away, so it is essential to get a medical evaluation even if you feel fine after an accident.
Finding the best motorcycle accident injury lawyer in Texas
If you have sustained injuries in a motorcycle accident, you deserve an experimented Dallas motorcycle lawyer who knows how to fight for you. The time after a road accident can be extremely stressful, not to mention recovery from some of the aforementioned injuries can take months — and in some cases may alter your life forever. The team at Angel Reyes and Associates has more than three decades of experience handling cases just like yours. We have an innate knowledge of Texas road laws and are able to find details in cases that our competitors miss. Contact us today for more information or a free consultation to get your case on the road.