Riding a motorcycle is a thrill unlike anything else you’ll ever experience. Unfortunately, motorcycles are inherently more dangerous than passenger vehicles, due to their open design and the minimal crash protection offered to riders. In 2017, motorcycle accidents led to over 5,000 fatalities. More than 80% of motorcycle crashes cause injury or death. Drivers of passenger vehicles do little to make the roads safer for motorcyclists. At best, drivers are unaware of how to drive safely around motorcyclists. At worst, they are intentionally reckless.
Dangers of Motorcycle Accidents
As a motorcyclist, you likely know that riders are at higher risk of serious injury or death during a crash than those in a passenger vehicle. During a motorcycle crash, riders are not protected by a steel frame and they are often thrown from their bike, increasing their risk of suffering severe injuries.
Some of the most common injuries that occur during motorcycle crashes include:
- Concussions and other types of Traumatic Brain Injuries: Traumatic brain injuries vary widely in severity and prognosis. While one accident victim could be left with a concussion that heals without intervention in less than a week, another victim could suffer damage that leaves them unable to communicate or move independently for the rest of their life.
- Nerve Damage: Nerve damage is particularly common in the upper arms, which could leave to permanent arm paralysis.
- Road Rash: When a rider is thrown from a motorcycle, sliding along the pavement often causes road rash. In addition to being extremely painful, road rash can cause permanent disfigurement of the skin on the face or body.
- Infection caused by Abrasions: Road rash increases the risk of infection after a crash. Infection is particularly common when a substantial amount of skin is covered by abrasions.
- Joint Damage: Some crashes cause damage to the joints, shoulders, and pelvis. Depending on the severity of the crash, this damage could permanently limit an individual’s mobility or independence.
- Broken Bones: Being thrown from a motorcycle puts riders at major risk of broken bones. While some breaks are relatively minor and heal in a matter of weeks, others can leave victims out of work for months.
What can Motorcyclists do to Stay Safe?
Following a few key safety tips can minimize your risk of being involved in a motorcycle accident:
- Wear your helmet. Even if you are riding in a state where helmet use is not mandatory, wear your helmet every time you ride to prevent fatal head injuries.
- Make sure you are visible. Many accidents occur because drivers cannot see motorcyclists. Stay visible by staying out of cars’ blind spots, wearing bright colors, and using your headlights.
- Travel at a safe speed. The temptation to speed is high on a sunny day when you’re enjoying a ride but dropping your speed just a few miles per hour can reduce your risk of an accident.
Steps to Take After a Motorcycle Accident
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, taking the right steps can help you seek compensation and document the crash. Follow these steps:
- Contact the police. Report the accident and request an ambulance if anyone is seriously injured and needs immediate care.
- Swap contact information. You should exchange contact and insurance information with all other drivers involved in the crash. If anyone witnessed the crash, make sure you get their contact information as well.If possible, takes photos and video documentation of the scene. If you are not too injured to begin collecting evidence, make sure you take photos and video footage of the crash scene. The scene will be cleaned up promptly and available evidence will disappear if not properly documented.
- Seek medical care. Injuries may take days to show up, so it is essential to get a full medical examination as soon as possible after a crash.
Why You Need a Personal Injury Trial Attorney After a Motorcycle Crash
Riders face an uphill battle while trying to get a fair settlement after a motorcycle accident. Insurance companies are often quick to push the blame onto riders and offer far less than they deserve. Unless you have experience playing hardball with insurance companies, you run the risk of losing your settlement entirely if you deal with them directly. Insurance adjusters know that a personal injury trial attorney is not afraid to take a case to court, which puts them at risk of paying out even more. Having an attorney on your side can lead to a higher settlement and a much faster claim resolution.