Many bikers find the danger associated with riding a motorcycle part of the thrill and excitement. The wind rushes around them directly, rather than simply slipping by outside the window of a car. Unfortunately, motorcycles do not protect the rider. In an accident, motorcycle riders can suffer severe injuries and can do little to prevent them.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Helmet use can substantially reduce the risk of traumatic brain injury or injuries to the face and neck in an accident. Many motorcycle accident victims, however, still suffer severe traumatic brain injuries. Traumatic brain injury may cause significant physical, mental, and emotional suffering for the victim.
It may cause:
- Challenges in focus and concentration
- Problems with emotional regulation
- Mood swings
- Short-term memory problems
- Long-term memory problems
- Tunnel vision
- Sleep disturbances
Some victims with traumatic brain injury also discover that they have significant personality changes. Some of these changes may resolve over time, but others may represent a lifelong complication or change.
These symptoms can make it difficult for victims to go back to work, especially if they cannot focus on the task at hand. They can also interfere with relationships or even, in some cases, leave the victim requiring round-the-clock care. Some victims with traumatic brain injuries do note improvements over time. Even victims with minor traumatic brain injury often report symptoms, including headaches or memory problems, more than a year after the initial accident.
Injuries to the Face
Some motorcycle accident victims end up flying face-first toward the pavement or an obstacle. They can experience road rash, broken teeth, and even broken bones in the face. Some facial injuries require substantial reconstruction, including plastic surgery. The victim may also have severe scarring, which can permanently impact appearance and self-esteem. Many victims with facial injuries go through extreme social isolation, especially as they learn how to cope with those injuries.
Back and Neck Injuries
Injuries to the back and neck can cause severe complications for many motorcycle accident victims. Neck and back injuries often involve significant, ongoing pain. Back pain can get stronger when sitting, standing, or moving around the room, making it very difficult to complete typical job tasks. Many victims may also suffer direct damage to the spinal cord during their motorcycle accidents. In the case of complete spinal cord injury, this could mean lifelong paralysis.
Even in the case of incomplete spinal cord injury (when the spinal cord suffers damage but does not sever completely), victims may face significantly decreased mobility following the accident. Victims with incomplete spinal cord injury may notice some healing in the months following the accident, leading to regaining some mobility. But, for victims with complete spinal cord injuries, permanent paralysis may become a way of life.
Many victims with back and neck injuries find that their injuries interfere with their ability to hold a job or to engage in normal leisure tasks. Often, victims turn to surgery to get some relief from their pain. Frequently, however, surgical methods lead to a decrease in overall mobility that can cause even more detrimental effects on the victim.
Motorcycle accident victims often suffer amputations for one of two reasons. Sometimes, amputation occurs at the accident: the force of the accident may pull the victim’s limb from their body or cause such severe damage to the limb that doctors must amputate it immediately. Other times, victims may suffer severe crushing damage to the limb during the accident that eliminates blood flow to the affected area. Over time, that tissue may die. To prevent infection, sepsis, and ultimately death, doctors may recommend amputation.
Amputees often have ongoing medical costs associated with the amputation. They need extensive therapy (both physical and occupational) to relearn how to perform many common tasks, either while missing the limb or with the aid of a prosthetic device. Prosthetic devices frequently require regular replacement for the victim to maintain peak efficiency and functionality. On average, motorcycle accident victims with prosthetics must replace them every three to five years.
Many motorcycle riders wear protective gear designed to protect them from the road in an accident. Others, however, may strip that protective gear away, wearing only minimal clothing. This is especially likely during hot summer rides. Unfortunately, without proper protective gear, many victims suffer from severe road rash.
Road rash has many of the same symptoms as a burn. Minor road rash strips away just the top layer of skin. Deeper road rash, on the other hand, can impact the second level of the skin or even dig deeper into the muscle and tissue. The deeper the road rash, the greater the overall suffering of the victim.
Like a burn, road rash strips away the protective layer of the skin designed to help keep out bacteria. Unfortunately, road rash often also leaves debris in the wound, raising the risk of infection for the victim. Many motorcycle accident victims with road rash suffer from severe scarring and may face severe complications, including infection, during recovery.
Many motorcycle accident victims suffer multiple broken bones during the accident. Arms, legs, ribs, and hands all commonly end up broken. A single broken bone can cause a severe impact on the victim’s ability to work. For example, a broken arm can make it very difficult to sit behind a desk and type, while a broken leg can interfere with a victim’s ability to stand up and walk around to attend to customers, work on a construction site, or manage tasks in a factory.
Multiple broken bones can increase the severity of the impact. Victims with multiple broken bones may need help getting around and significant aid taking care of self-care tasks, including eating, bathing, and taking medications. Severely broken bones may require surgery and significant physical therapy for the victim to make a full recovery.
Any time you suffer injuries in a motorcycle accident, contact an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer to learn more about your legal right to compensation.