Common Types of Motorcycle-Related Injuries
A road rash is a skin abrasion or friction burn as a result of the skin making contact with asphalt or pavement. Road rash can range from minor cuts and scrapes to total exposure of fat, muscles, bones and deep layers of skin. While road rash may not be considered as life-threatening as a head or spinal cord injury, it can develop into severe health complication such as infections, illness, or chronic pain if left untreated or improperly treated.
The skin is our body’s largest organ and protects our important muscles, bones and other internal organs. It’s crucial to properly cover all exposed skin when riding or operating a motorcycle.
Broken bones or fractures
Broken bones or fractures are one of the most common types of injuries that a motorcycle accident victim might sustain. They occur when part of the bone is incapable of sustaining the force of an impact. A common reaction for motorcyclists is to put out their arms or legs to attempt to stabilize after a fall, resulting in a break or fracture.
Depending on the severity of the break or fracture, a broken bone may take weeks or months to heal. They can severely impact the health and quality of life of a motorcycle accident victim, possibly requiring surgery and long-term physical therapy for an individual to regain full use of the affected area.
Internal injuries are a common result of blunt trauma or penetration from a serious motorcycle accident. Motorcycle accident victims may experience internal bleeding in the head, abdomen and other areas of the body. Even with proper safety gear, the potential for significant damage to internal organs after a motorcycle accident is substantial.
Internal organ damage can be particularly dangerous as there are not always obvious symptoms to signal injury. Severe or uncontrolled bleeding may require surgery and extensive rehabilitation treatments. If a motorcycle accident victim suspects that he/she may have an internal injury, it’s important to receive medical attention immediately. If left untreated, internal injuries can cause severe complications and even death.
The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves and tissue that is protected by the vertebrae. A significant injury to any part of the spinal cord or nerves at the end of the spinal canal will often result in permanent damage to the body’s ability to properly function or feel sensations. The spinal cord is responsible for facilitating communication between the brain and all other parts of the body.
A spinal-cord injury is typically caused by traumatic blow to the spine that damages one or more vertebrae. Automotive and motorcycle accidents account for more than 35 percent of new spinal-cord injuries each year. Motorcycle accidents that result in spinal injuries often lead to a grim prognosis for the accident victim. Depending on the location and severity of the motorcycle-related injury, an individual may experience symptoms ranging from pain to complete paralysis.
Traumatic brain injuries
The Insurance Institute for National Highway Safety reports that helmets are 37 percent effective in preventing motorcycle deaths and about 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries. However, only 19 states and the District of Columbia have laws requiring all motorcyclists to wear a helmet, also known as a universal helmet law.
A traumatic brain injury occurs when the head hits an object with great force or when the brain and skull are punctured by an object. Typically from the lack of a motorcycle safety helmet, traumatic brain injuries are considered to be one of the most severe injuries a motorcyclist can sustain following an accident.
Depending on the severity of the traumatic brain injury, the consequences can lead to permanent damage to physical, cognitive and emotional abilities. A serious traumatic brain injury can be life-threatening, leaving the individual in a coma or vegetative state. While surgery, therapy, and other treatment options can help to improve symptoms over time, motorcycle accident victims with traumatic brain injuries will typically be affected their entire life.