Since motorcycles are not surrounded by steel cages like passenger vehicles, it comes as no surprise that accidents involving motorcycles tend to produce injuries that are far more serious. In addition to this, motorcycles are much smaller and lighter than other types of vehicles, which means other drivers are less likely to notice them and they can be challenging to operate safely. 5,932 fatal motorcycle accidents took place in 2021, the most in a single year since 1975. This number accounted for 14% of all vehicular fatalities that year. Motorcycle riders are also prone to more severe injuries than other drivers, including road rash, broken bones, and spinal cord damage. If you were injured or lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident caused by someone else’s negligence, call the experienced Virginia Beach motorcycle accident attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp today.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Some of the most common injuries sustained by victims of motorcycle accidents include:
Motorcycle riders are exposed to a substantial risk of serious burn injuries. Unlike other vehicles, motorcycle parts, including the exhaust system and engine, are exposed. While in use, both of these are capable of generating extreme amounts of heat. Should an accident occur, these searing hot components could ignite combustible liquids or make contact with the driver’s skin, causing severe burn injuries.
The severity of a burn sustained during a motorcycle crash will vary based on the part of the body that is affected, the temperature of the heat source, and the length of exposure. During an accident, motorcycle riders are vulnerable to first, second, and even third-degree burn injuries.
An avulsion injury, colloquially known as road rash, is a painful but common injury wherein a person’s skin is scraped off as it comes into contact with asphalt. When a rider is ejected from their bike, they can slide across the surface of the road, damaging and removing several layers of skin.
The initial contact with the asphalt often causes excruciating pain, and the friction is often enough to remove not just the top layer of skin but the underlying layers as well. Avulsion injuries usually involve exposed muscles, blood vessels, and nerves. The seriousness of the injury will depend on what part of the body is affected, what, if any, protective gear the rider was wearing, and the speed at which the collision took place.
Due to the damage they cause to the skin and tissue, avulsion injuries can lead to heavy and permanent scarring. Avulsion injuries can also lead to serious medical complications since the open wounds they create are extremely susceptible to infection, which can, in turn, significantly slow the recovery process or even lead to larger medical problems.
The impact force that is generated in a motorcycle crash can be powerful, especially if the accident involves a larger vehicle or takes place at high speed. When a rider is ejected from their motorcycle or crashes into a fixed object, the violent and unexpected stop and subsequent impact can lead to broken bones ranging from hairline fractures to compound fractures.
The impact that a broken bone can have on a motorcyclist’s day-to-day life could be considerable. A full recovery will most likely involve taking time off of work, temporarily limited mobility, and reliance on assistive appliances like wheelchairs or crutches.
Injuries to the Spinal Cord
Motorcycle accidents can also result in spinal cord injuries, which often have life-changing and profound consequences for the victim.
The spinal cord transmits motor and sensory signals between the body and the brain. It is an integral part of the nervous system. When a person’s spinal cord is damaged, it could result in major impairments in multiple bodily functions as well as permanent disability. The specific outcome of a spine injury depends on the severity and location of the injury. The higher on the spinal column the injury occurs, the more expansive the long-term consequences will be.
Were You Injured in a Motorcycle Accident?
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, the experienced motorcycle accident attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can help you put your life back together. We have more than 70 combined years of experience helping motorcycle accident victims achieve successful outcomes for their injury claims, like the $1.85 million settlement we secured for the family of a motorcycle rider who died after being struck by a negligent truck driver. If you would like to schedule a free consultation regarding your motorcycle accident, call us at (833) 997-1774 or fill out our contact form. To better serve our clients, we have offices in Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Norfolk, Chesapeake, and Hampton.