Motorcycle riders know all too well that an accident, and the associated injuries, can occur in the blink of an eye. Unfortunately, motorcycles offer little protection in an accident. In fact, they can become a hazard of their own as they fall over on top of the rider or cause crushing damage. Big touring bikes weighing an average of 900 pounds can create a lot of damage.
Motorcycle accident injuries frequently mean a long-term impact on the victim’s life, including several challenges that can increase the victim’s overall enjoyment of life or make it difficult for the victim to take on everyday, familiar tasks.
1. Traumatic Brain Injury
Motorcycle helmet use can substantially decrease the risk of traumatic brain injury in a motorcycle accident, but it does not eliminate it. Traumatic brain injury can occur when the rider’s head strikes the pavement or strikes another item, including the vehicle that hits them or an obstacle in the road.
A victim does not have to lose consciousness at the accident scene to have a traumatic brain injury, but a loss of consciousness can serve as a clear signal that the victim may have suffered a traumatic brain injury and should undergo further evaluation.
Traumatic brain injury can severely impact the victim’s daily life.
Traumatic brain injury often interferes with the victim’s overall focus and concentration, making it very difficult for the victim to work. Frequently, traumatic brain injury also interferes with short-term memory, making it very difficult for the victim to remember lists of tasks or even instructions for how to complete a common task.
Furthermore, traumatic brain injury victims in creative fields may find that traumatic brain injury makes it very difficult to engage in their usual creative problem-solving.
Difficulty With Social Interactions
Not only does traumatic brain injury impact the mind, but it can also impact emotions. Many victims with traumatic brain injury find themselves struggling with out-of-control emotions or inappropriate emotional reactions. Frequently, those changed emotional reactions make it difficult to manage social situations, whether that means difficulty dealing with friends and family members or interacting in public. Victims who work in customer service may find it very difficult to manage their usual job tasks since they may react inappropriately to customers.
Problems With Self-Care
Because traumatic brain injury interferes with memory, it can make it difficult for victims to remember whether they have taken care of everyday self-care tasks. It can also make it difficult for victims to remember how to take care of even basic tasks, especially tasks that involve multiple steps. Victims with severe traumatic brain injury may have a hard time remembering where they keep items in the home or working through whether they have completed necessary tasks like bathing.
Traumatic brain injury symptoms can linger long-term, making life very difficult for victims. While some symptoms of traumatic brain injury usually resolve with time, victims with even minor traumatic brain injury may find that they have symptoms more than a year after the initial accident.
2. Back and Neck Injuries
Back and neck injuries can be highly problematic for motorcycle accident victims. Because motorcycles offer so little protection from potential damage, an accident can quickly lead to a blow to the back. Injuries can range in severity from muscle damage or herniated discs to spinal cord injuries. Even minor back and neck injuries can make life very uncomfortable for motorcycle accident victims and lead to extreme challenges.
Difficulty Standing and Sitting
Many back and neck injuries make it very difficult to either stand or sit for a long time. Often, victims need to move around regularly to alleviate pain and stiffness. Unfortunately, many jobs require workers to spend their days sitting at a desk and may not offer adequate opportunities to move around the room or the office. Difficulty standing for a long time can also make it difficult for workers to complete jobs that require them to stand most of the day, from customer service jobs to retail jobs.
Trouble Lifting and Moving Items
Back and neck injuries can be particularly problematic for people who work in highly active jobs that require a great deal of lifting or bending. Unfortunately, back injuries can make those movements difficult, painful, or even downright impossible. Difficulty moving and lifting items can also make it difficult for victims to take care of young children or to assist in the care of elderly individuals.
Back pain can be particularly frustrating because it is difficult to alleviate. Many motorcycle accident victims find that back pain interferes with many of the activities that they enjoy regularly. Some victims take powerful pain medications to help manage that pain, which can make it very difficult for them to focus. That ongoing pain can also leave victims struggling with depression, increased anxiety, or an overall lack of engagement in many areas of life.
3. Broken Bones
Motorcycle accident injuries can result in a variety of broken bones. Frequently, motorcycle accident victims suffer broken bones in the arms and/or legs, but they can also suffer broken ribs or broken hips.
Broken bones can cause several complications for the victim, whether the victim suffers a single break or multiple broken bones. Sometimes, especially in the case of multiple breaks or severe breaks, the victim may require surgery to set the bone. Not only does surgery substantially increase the cost of medical treatment for a broken bone, but it may also mean more prolonged recovery and the potential for additional complications.
Broken bones frequently prevent the victim from working, either short-term or long-term. How the break impacts the victim’s ability to work may depend on the job the victim holds and the specific type of break. For example, a broken arm, particularly broken bones in the hands, can make it very difficult for the victim to complete responsibilities requiring typing or sitting behind a desk. If a victim works in an active job, whether moving items around a warehouse or dealing with customers in a customer service position, a broken leg may make it very difficult for them to complete those duties.
Multiple broken bones can further raise the difficulty level of completing daily work tasks. Frequently, victims find themselves struggling to deal with those increased limitations. For example, using crutches may become much more complicated if the rider breaks bones in both an arm and a leg.
Lack of Leisure Activities
Frequently, broken bones interfere with the victim’s ability to engage in normal leisure activities. A victim with a broken bone cannot participate in sports or ride their motorcycle. They may have a hard time with the dexterity required to play video games if they have a broken arm. Many victims struggle with depression or general loss of enjoyment of life while recovering from those severe injuries, especially if their injuries prevent them from engaging in their preferred leisure activities.
Challenges in Self Care
Many victims with broken bones need assistance with basic self-care activities. Even victims who prefer to remain as independent as possible may have trouble bathing, getting dressed, or making meals. A victim suffering from broken bones may have enough trouble with basic mobility to require general assistance. If motorcycle accident victims do not have loved ones on hand who can help with those basic care tasks, they may need to hire in-home nursing assistance or remain longer in a facility where they can receive a high standard of care, which may further increase their medical costs.
4. Facial Injuries
While motorcycle helmets can reduce the risk of brain injury and help decrease the risk of severe facial injuries, they do not permanently eliminate them. Broken bones in the face, extreme road rash across the face, or lacerations on the face can all cause severe consequences for the victim, including various psychological challenges.
Permanent Changes in Appearance
Often, facial injuries lead to a permanent change in appearance. Even if doctors can repair the damage, as in the case of broken bones, the victim may face some permanent changes, which can cause psychological impact. Many victims struggle psychologically with those changes, even if they do not appear disfigured in any way. Frequently, facial injuries require significant psychological counseling and may lead to social anxiety.
In some cases, doctors cannot fully repair the damage associated with severe facial injuries. Victims may have significant scarring or disfigurement related to the accident. Frequently, that disfigurement becomes difficult for the injured party to deal with. Some withdraw socially and do not have much interest in spending time with friends and loved ones. Others have trouble getting out of the house and interacting with the public.
Ongoing Medical Procedures
Facial injuries often require careful reconstruction and ongoing medical appointments. Some motorcycle accident victims may opt for plastic surgery to help restore normal appearance as much as possible. Plastic surgery can not only be expensive, but it can also mean a long time in the hospital, dealing with the aftermath of those severe injuries. Those ongoing medical procedures can be painful and lead to constant emotional drain, which can further sap the victim’s energy and make it difficult to engage in everyday activities.
5. Severe Road Rash
Road rash occurs when the victim’s skin drags across the pavement during an accident. Minor road rash may cause minor abrasions. On the other hand, more severe road rash can lead to severe abrasions and more severe damage. While minor road rash may offer little more than inconvenience or slight pain, severe road rash can lead to substantial complications.
Road rash presents with many of the same symptoms as a burn. Like a burn, it strips away the protective layer of skin that covers the body. Sometimes, doctors refer to road rash as a friction burn. Like a burn, a road rash can cause significant pain.
High Risk of Infection
Like burns, road rash has a high risk of infection. Since road rash strips away the protective layer of skin covering the body, it is easier for bacteria to enter the body. Road rash may also introduce foreign particles to the body that can be very difficult to remove, especially if the victim does not immediately seek treatment. Even careful cleaning in the emergency room or hospital may not remove all foreign particles, increasing the risk of infection significantly.
Road rash has a high risk of causing substantial scarring, particularly if it goes below the skin. Frequently, victims with road rash note raised or sensitive scars. Depending on the depth and severity of the damage, victims may notice a loss of sensation in the skin around those scars.
Not only can that loss of sensation become frustrating, depending on where it occurs, but it may also be dangerous since victims may lose the ability to sense heat, cold, or potential danger around those areas of the body.
Scarring on the face can also be extremely traumatic. Road rash scars can appear raised, textured, or rough, further increasing the change to the victim’s appearance.
What to Do if You Suffer Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Any time you suffer injuries in a motorcycle accident, report the accident, then seek medical treatment immediately. You should also contact a lawyer as soon as possible to learn more about your right to compensation. A accident lawyer can help investigate who caused your motorcycle accident and, as a result, who may owe you compensation for the injuries you sustained in the accident.