What Are Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries?

motorcycle crash

Common Injuries Sustained in Motorcycle Accidents in San Diego

Motorcycles don’t have protection comparable to other motor vehicles – they are less visible than cars, are not enclosed, and lack protection like seatbelts and airbags. Motorcycle crashes are unfortunately common in the United States and can result in serious motorcycle accident injuries. The number of motorcycle deaths is about 28 times the number of passenger vehicle occupant deaths per mile traveled. Motorcyclist deaths accounted for 14% of all traffic fatalities in 2020. After motorcycle accidents, common injuries suffered include the following:


Broken Bones and Fractures

Some of the most common motorcycle accident injuries are broken bones and fractures. The force of impact in a motorcycle accident can violently throw motorcyclists off their bikes, which can result in broken and even shattered bones. The most commonly broken bones in a crash include the ribs, collarbones, arms, legs, facial bones, and even more complex compound fractures.

These injuries can be very painful and may require surgical intervention for proper realignment and stabilization. The recovery process for broken bones and fractures can take 6-8 weeks on average, often involving physical therapy and rehabilitation.


Road Rash

When a motorcyclist is propelled off their bike during a collision, they often slide across the pavement, causing extensive lacerations and skin abrasions like road rash. Road rash can vary in severity, ranging from minor scrapes to deep wounds that require stitches or skin grafts. If not treated promptly, open wounds can lead to infection. Additionally, road rash can lead to permanent scarring and disfigurement.


Lower Extremity Injuries

Motorcyclists involved in crashes often make contact with the ground or other vehicles, resulting in significant trauma to the lower extremities. The lower extremities typically include the legs, knees, and feet, and are particularly susceptible to injury in auto accidents. These injuries commonly include fractures, dislocations, ligament tears, and severe contusions. Lower extremity injuries can greatly affect a person’s mobility and may require surgical intervention and extensive rehabilitation.


Internal Bleeding

When motorcycle riders make direct contact with an object or surface, they can suffer blunt force trauma, which is a physical trauma or impactful force to the body. Internal bleeding is a potentially life-threatening injury that can occur due to blunt force trauma.

Internal bleeding may not always be immediately apparent and can quickly become a medical emergency if left untreated. Victims can experience symptoms such as dizziness, weakness, abdominal pain, or swelling. Prompt medical attention is crucial to diagnose and treat internal bleeding.


Soft Tissue Damage

Motorcycle accidents can cause significant soft tissue damage, such as sprains, strains, and contusions. The sudden and forceful impact of a motorcycle crash can stretch or tear muscles, tendons, and ligaments. This can result in pain, swelling, limited range of motion, and difficulty performing daily tasks.

Soft tissue injuries often require rest, physical therapy, and other rehabilitative measures to heal properly. Delayed treatment can lead to chronic pain and long-term complications.


Neck Injuries

Motorcycle accidents can also result in various neck injuries, including whiplash, herniated or bulging discs, and cervical fractures. Neck injuries like whiplash can occur during a collision from a forceful, back-and-forth motion of the neck and can strain or injury. These kinds of injuries can cause pain, stiffness, headaches, and restricted movement and may require the use of neck braces or even surgery.


Spinal Cord Injuries

spinal injuries scan

Severe injuries that can occur in motorcycle accidents include spinal injuries. The spinal cord is a critical part of the central nervous system, and damage to it can lead to partial or complete paralysis. Motorcyclists involved in accidents may experience spinal cord injuries due to the impact of the collision. These kinds of injuries typically require prompt medical treatment and victims may potentially need extensive rehabilitation.


Upper Extremity Injuries

In motorcycle accidents, the upper extremities, including the arms, hands, and shoulders, are highly susceptible to serious injury. Fractures, dislocations, and severe contusions are common in these areas due to direct impact or bracing for a fall.

These injuries can greatly impact a person’s ability to perform daily tasks, including self-care and work-related tasks. Depending on the severity, treatment may involve casting, splinting, or surgical intervention, followed by rehabilitative therapy to regain strength and functionality.


Head and Brain Injuries

doctor viewing a traumatic brain injury scan

Without the protection of an enclosed vehicle, motorcyclists are highly vulnerable to sustaining head trauma. These kinds of injuries can range from concussions and skull fractures to traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).

Even with helmets, head injuries can occur due to the impact of a crash. The long-term effects of head and brain injuries can be devastating, leading to cognitive impairments, sleep disturbances, insomnia, memory loss, and changes in behavior or personality. Wearing a properly fitted helmet is essential to reduce the risk of head injuries and protect the brain in the event of an accident.


Reducing the Risk of Sustaining Motorcycle Accident Injuries

Motorcycle riders can take proactive measures to help reduce the risk of motorcycle crashes. Here are some motorcycle safety tips:

  • Follow all traffic laws and obey the posted speed limit. In 2020, 34% of the motorcycle riders involved in fatal motorcycle accidents were speeding.
  • Always wear a DOT-compliant helmet. According to California helmet laws, all riders and passengers must wear a U.S. DOT-compliant helmet. Motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of a head injury by 69%.
  • Wear motorcycle gear including the following:
    • Motorcycle helmet – Always wear a properly fitting DOT-compliant to reduce the risk of head injuries.
    • Wear eye protection – Use a motorcycle helmet face shield to safeguard your eyes from wind, debris, and insects while riding.
    • Wear gloves – Protect your hands, improve grip, and minimize potential injuries by wearing appropriate motorcycle gloves.
    • Long pants and a long-sleeved shirt – Wear long clothing to reduce the risk of road rash and abrasions in the event of a crash or fall.
    • Leather jacket – Opt for leather, textile, or reinforced jackets to provide excellent protection against abrasions and potential injuries.
    • Wear boots – Choose sturdy, closed-toe boots that cover the ankles to protect your feet and provide a good grip on the footpegs while riding.


What Should I Do After a Motorcycle Accident?

motorcycle accident victims

Get to Safety

After a motorcycle accident, your first priority should be to ensure your safety. If possible, move yourself and your motorcycle to a safe location away from oncoming traffic. Assess your injuries and seek immediate medical attention.

Document the Motorcycle Accident Scene

If you’re able to, take photos and videos of the vehicles involved, skid marks, broken glass, property damage, and injuries. This evidence is crucial for your motorcycle accident claim. Additionally, speak to witnesses, get their contact information, and ask if they are willing to provide a statement.

Call 911

Contacting the police is essential after a motorcycle accident, regardless of the severity. Provide the police with accurate and detailed information about the accident, but avoid making admissions of fault. Ensure you get a copy of the police report for your records.

Exchange Contact and Insurance Information

Get the contact and insurance information of everyone involved in the accident. Obtain information including:

  • Full names
  • Phone numbers
  • Addresses
  • Driver’s license numbers
  • License plate numbers
  • Insurance company information


Seek Medical Attention

Seek prompt medical treatment after a motorcycle accident. Some injuries, such as internal bleeding or whiplash, may not be immediately apparent. A medical professional can evaluate your condition, provide necessary treatment, and document your injuries, which can support your claim. Ensure you follow your prescribed treatment plan and attend follow-up appointments.

Don’t Deal With the Insurance Company Alone

Insurance companies may try to minimize your claim or offer a low settlement that doesn’t adequately compensate you for your losses. It’s best to avoid dealing with the insurance company alone. Consult with a knowledgeable motorcycle accident attorney who can help you navigate the complex claims process and ensure you recover the compensation you deserve.

Consult With An Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer will provide legal guidance, assess the strength of your case, negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf, and advocate for you in court, if necessary.

A skilled attorney will fight for your rights and work towards securing the maximum compensation available for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.


Contact Experienced Motorcycle Injury Attorneys

If you were injured in a San Diego motorcycle crash, caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be able to pursue fair compensation. At Harbor Accident Lawyers, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of injured motorcyclists. We maintain a 99% success rate and have recovered millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for our clients. Our personal injury law firm specializes in motor vehicle accidents and has a proven track record of recovering the maximum compensation.