Reports | May 9, 2023 | Motorcycle accident
People ride motorcycles for many reasons. Some like the feel of the open road and the wind in their hair or the ability to accelerate fast and move more nimbly. Others like using less gas and benefiting their wallet or the environment. Still, unfortunately, motorcycles are prone to be involved in accidents.
Road rash is one of the most common injuries motorcycle accident victims sustain. While a road rash injury might sound simple or benign compared to other types of injuries, it can be quite severe and lead to complications.
If you or a family member recently sustained injuries in a motorcycle accident, one of your first steps should be to contact a seasoned motorcycle accident attorney for help. No matter your injuries, they can help you seek compensation for your damages.
Top Causes of Motorcycle Crashes
Motorcycles are inherently more dangerous than passenger vehicles. They only have two points of contact with the road, are much smaller than most other vehicles, and offer no protection in an accident.
Factors that can cause a motorcycle accident include:
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Failure to obey traffic lights, signs, or laws
The top causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Unsafe lane changes: Drivers risk colliding with motorcyclists when they fail to check their blind spot or signal before changing lanes.
- Car doors: Motorcycle accidents can occur when a parked driver opens their car door in the path of an oncoming motorcycle. Severe injuries may occur if a motorcyclist hits the opened door, especially at higher speeds.
- Speeding: Speed is a leading cause of every type of auto accident. Speeding reduces a driver’s chance of noticing and reacting to other drivers in time to avoid an accident. The higher the speed, the greater the force of impact and the more significant the consequences.
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol: Far too often, all types of vehicle drivers get behind the wheel while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. These drivers endanger many lives, and as such, they may face both civil and criminal liabilities.
- Sudden stops: If another driver is following a motorcycle too close and the motorcycle driver must make a sudden stop, it can result in severe injury or death to the motorcyclist.
- Inexperienced drivers: These drivers are likely to make unsafe moves on the road that can compromise the safety of other motorists, especially motorcyclists.
- Left-turn accidents: Motorcyclists are perhaps the most at risk for these types of accidents. Right-of-way errors or miscalculations of distance when executing a left turn are common causes of injuries and fatalities in motorcycle riders.
- Dangerous road conditions: With only two points of contact on the road, motorcycles demand safe road conditions. Potholes, crumbling pavement, debris, and missing necessary signs and signals increase a motorcycle rider’s odds of losing control of their bike. In these cases, a government entity or municipality in charge of the roads or traffic can be liable for the resulting injuries and damages.
- Motorcycle defects: Sometimes, the manufacturer of a motorcycle or its part can be held liable for any accidents arising from a defective part. Manufacturers have a duty to ensure they are producing and using safe parts.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics in the U.S.
Over the past decade, the number of registered motorcycles in the United States and the miles traveled remained relatively the same. However, accidents and injury rates increased.
Data shows that in a recent year, 5,579 people died, and 83,000 suffered an injury in motorcycle crashes.
Motorcycles account for only three percent of all types of vehicles registered in the U.S. and represent only 0.6 percent of miles driven by all kinds of vehicles. Yet, motorcycle accidents are responsible for three percent of all injuries, 14 percent of all traffic fatalities, and 17 percent of passenger fatalities or occupant deaths.
Increased Risk of Injuries for Motorcyclists
Motorcycles are inherently more dangerous than driving a passenger vehicle because the rider has more exposure in the event of an accident. Those driving or riding in a vehicle have at least a 4,000-pound vehicle with airbags, seatbelts, and other safety features protecting them. At best, a motorcyclist has a helmet and some other protective gear.
An alarming almost 80 percent of motorcycle riders who have an accident incur injuries, according to figures reported by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Motorcycle Accident Road Rash Injuries
Although motorcycles are still considered motor vehicles, many things about them make them quite different from other cars or trucks on the road and much less crash-worthy. One of these differences is the injuries that victims receive. Road rash is often unique to accidents involving motorcycle riders or other cyclists.
What Is Road Rash?
When you think of road rash, you might think of a simple, superficial, but painful skin abrasion that occurs when skin slides along the road, especially on hard surfaces like asphalt and concrete. However, a surface with debris like loose rocks, broken glass, or rock salt can worsen road rash. Road rash can happen by itself or with other injuries, such as fractures and head or spinal column injuries. Road rash can kill a motorcyclist.
Motorcyclists can try to prevent or decrease road rash by wearing safety gear such as:
- Long sleeve shirt or jacket
Even with the best safety gear, a motorcyclist can still suffer painful and debilitating road rash, requiring medical treatment.
Types of Road Rash
There are different types and severities of road rash. The severity of a road rash injury depends on the force of the accident, the kind of surface where the crash occurred, if debris was present, and if you were wearing any safety gear at the time of the accident. The three different types of road rash are:
An avulsion is the most common of the three types of road rash. The skin gets scraped away with lower layers of fat and muscle, and it may even expose the bone as a result.
An open wound road rash will usually require stitches. In more severe cases of open-wound road rash, the victim will also need to undergo a skin graft.
A compression road rash happens when a part of the body gets caught between two hard objects, most likely the motorcycle and the road. A compression road rash can cause bruising, muscle damage, and broken bones.
Assessing a Road Rash Injury
Road rash can vary in severity. If you have a road rash injury or come across someone who does, you should not try to ascertain how bad their condition actually is without professional help.
Road rash can require emergency medical care if in cases involving:
- Significant bleeding or spurting blood
- Underlying structures exposed through the skin, such as bone, tendons, or ligaments
- Skin hanging from the wound that needs trimming
- Deep cuts that might require stitches
Even if none of these symptoms are present, it is still a good idea to see your healthcare provider as soon as possible to ensure your health and safety. You may also have other injuries that need medical treatment.
Road Rash Treatment
If you suffer from road rash or have been in a motorcycle accident, your first priority should be seeking medical care. Even if your road rash or other injuries don’t seem serious, you need to have your injuries and the accident documented in your medical record. This will protect the integrity of your motorcycle accident claim.
Keep in mind that if left untreated, road rash injuries can turn into an infection or have significant scarring. Even when an accident victim seeks medical help right away and road rash gets appropriate treatment, severe road rash can lead to infection, intense pain, and permanent scars.
If you experience any road rash complications, you should reach out to a motorcycle accident attorney to get your questions answered and learn more about pursuing a legal claim for compensation.
Severe Road Rash
Sometimes the road rash suffered by a motorcyclist is severe. It requires immediate professional treatment, is extremely painful, and may be disfiguring. Road rash can take a long time to heal in some cases, leading to ongoing medical bills as well as pain and suffering.
You may even need to miss time at work, either because you are in pain and physically unable to work or are attending necessary medical appointments for treatment. You deserve financial recovery for related damages, such as lost income and earnings, pain and suffering, and scarring and disfigurement.
Other Types of Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Motorcycle accidents have the potential to cause serious injuries.
Common motorcycle accident injuries include:
- Traumatic brain and head injuries (TBI)
- Scalp and facial injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Spine and spinal cord injuries (SCI), sometimes leading to paralysis
- Internal injuries, such as injuries to the spleen, liver, or severe bleeding
- Bruises, scratches, and lacerations
- Burn injuries
- Bone fractures
- Soft tissue injuries such as sprains or strains
- Amputations/loss of use of limb injuries
When a motorcycle accident is the fault of another party due to their intentional, reckless, or negligent actions, you deserve compensation for your injuries. The best way to receive that compensation is to seek the services of a well-versed motorcycle accident attorney.
Damages in a Motorcycle Accident
Under the law, motorcycle accident victims are entitled to seek monetary compensation for their damages from those liable for the accident. Damages refer to the hardships, inconveniences, and financial losses suffered directly from the crash.
Depending on the case, they can include:
- Current and future medical bills, including ambulance service bills, emergency room care, hospital stays, doctor visits, physical therapy bills, medications, and more
- Current and future lost income if the injured party will continue to miss hours at work in the future or won’t return to a job due to a permanent condition resulting from the accident
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
When you file a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance policy, you formally ask them to pay for your damages. Suppose they refuse to pay you fair compensation for them. In that case, an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can help negotiate a fair settlement or litigate your claim.
When Should You File a Legal Claim?
If you are going to litigate your motorcycle accident case by filing a legal claim, you must be aware of your state’s personal injury statute of limitations. Most states have a two or three-year statute of limitations beginning on the date of the injury.
By contacting a skilled motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident, you can ensure that you know your state’s statute of limitations and that your legal claim, should one become necessary, is filed on time.
If you sustained a road rash injury in a motorcycle or other type of motor vehicle accident, first, ensure you get the medical care you need. This is of utmost importance for your health and safety. Next, consider talking to an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer to discuss the viability of your case.
Did You Suffer Injuries in a Motorcycle Accident? Contact an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
A motorcycle accident can turn your world upside down. Suddenly, you are dealing with painful and perhaps debilitating injuries. You have financial concerns about paying your medical bills and keeping up with other bills while taking time off work to recover.
You are facing a lot. However, you don’t have to face all this alone. You can hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to stand up for your rights and rise to the task of fighting for the compensation you deserve for your road rash and other motorcycle accident injuries.