All too often, the consequences of a motorcycle accident are life-changing. You suffer severe injuries that permanently hinder you in every aspect of life. Even if you survive, you might be bedridden, blind, or mentally impaired after your accident. How can you recover from such serious injuries, and where can you find the help you need?
There are a variety of valuable resources that can help you recover after suffering serious injuries from a motorcycle accident. Medical specialists help you heal, while therapists help you adapt to your new life after the injury. And to recover financially, you need the help of a motorcycle accident lawyer.
Motorcycle Accidents in the U.S.
Motorcycles are far more dangerous to drive than passenger vehicles or trucks. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), motorcycle accidents result in 25.47 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.
Comparatively, passenger vehicles and light trucks only result in 0.89 fatalities and 0.64 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, respectively. These statistics mean you are approximately 30 times as likely to die in a motorcycle accident than in a passenger vehicle accident.
There are numerous reasons for this large discrepancy in fatalities.
Motorcycles are more dangerous than passenger vehicles because they:
- Have fewer safety features like seatbelts or airbags
- Usually weigh significantly less than the other vehicles involved in accidents
- Have a small profile so drivers of larger vehicles may not notice them
- Have less stability than four-wheeled vehicles
- May be subject to lax safety laws in many states
That last point is particularly relevant to motorcycle accident fatalities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), helmets reduce the risk of head injury by 69 percent and are 37 percent effective in preventing driver deaths.
However, only 18 states require all riders to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. Additionally, a handful of states don’t have any motorcycle helmet laws.
When riders choose not to wear helmets, they significantly increase their likelihood of severe head injuries in a motorcycle accident. Even if the rider survives the accident, it is harder to recover from the injuries sustained.
And in states where helmets are required, failure to wear a helmet can affect your ability to recover damages after suffering a head injury in a motorcycle accident. A motorcycle accident attorney can explain your options for recovering damages if you suffered from a head injury in a motorcycle accident.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Head injuries are far from the only injury you can suffer in a motorcycle accident. Many parts of your body can get injured in a serious manner way. The better you understand the types of injuries you might suffer, the more likely you will successfully recover from them.
One of the most common injuries in a motorcycle accident is road rash. This injury occurs when any portion of your exposed skin slides across the surface of the road for any time. You will usually suffer from road rash if your bike falls over or if you are thrown from your bike and don’t immediately strike an object.
When you suffer a road rash, a portion of your skin becomes scraped. In mild cases, lower layers of skin remain. In more serious cases, bone or internal tissue may become exposed due to the loss of outer tissue. Any serious case of road rash requires treatment from a healthcare professional.
Doctors treat most severe road rash cases like second or third-degree burns. You may require reconstructive surgery, including skin grafts, because your body cannot naturally heal.
Even after receiving a skin graft, you will likely suffer some pain and require additional treatment throughout the remainder of your life.
While no amount of protective gear can ensure that you don’t suffer road rash, leather gloves, boots, pants, and a jacket significantly reduce your chance of suffering road rash. Normal clothing will likely rip and tear from friction, exposing your skin at high speeds. Leather holds up much better in those conditions.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Motorcycles don’t have seatbelts or similar devices connecting you to the vehicle. Without proper safety devices, you could get thrown head-first off the motorcycle. And if you strike a stationary object, there is a good chance that you will hit it head first, resulting in traumatic brain injury.
Traumatic brain injury is a particularly frightening injury because it usually results in behavioral or cognitive impairment.
If you have suffered a traumatic brain injury, you may experience significant symptoms, including:
- Memory loss
- Depression or mood swings
- Slurred speech
- Unexplained aggression
- Profound confusion
Cognitive impairment usually has no cure. It often requires a lifetime of therapy to manage cognitive symptoms.
A helmet is your best defense against traumatic brain injury but may not be able to fully protect you in a serious accident.
Contact a motorcycle accident lawyer when you suffer a traumatic brain injury. An experienced attorney can accurately assess how much a lifetime of medical and therapy expenses could cost. With that figure in hand, you can fight for appropriate damages for your recovery.
Spinal Cord Injury
Another injury often associated with getting thrown from your bike is spinal cord injury. Your spine often compresses when your head or neck strikes an immobile object at high speed. That compression can result in broken vertebrae or damaged nerves.
After a spinal cord injury, you will usually lose the ability to control some or all of your limbs. If you are lucky, this damage is temporary, or you will regain at least partial use of that limb. If you are unlucky, you could have permanent paralysis.
Unfortunately, there is little you can do to prevent spinal cord injuries other than avoiding getting into an accident in the first place.
Crushed or Shattered Bones
In any motorcycle accident, you can expect at least one broken bone. And if the only injury you suffer is a broken bone or two, you should count yourself lucky. Unfortunately, many motorcycle accidents result in something much more serious.
If the motorcycle falls over, it may crush or shatter bones.
Unlike with a simple fracture, when a bone is crushed or shattered, your body likely will never be able to fully reconstruct the bone, even if it is properly set. Instead, you will require surgery to replace portions of your bone structure with artificial equipment.
Full recovery is uncertain, and many patients who suffer this type of injury never gain full use of that limb again.
You can purchase reinforced motorcycle pants, jackets, and boots that can resist crushing damage. Like other protective gear, it can’t protect you from all injuries, but it decreases your likelihood of shattered or crushed limbs.
What to Do After Suffering an Injury from a Motorcycle Accident?
Imagine that the worst has happened. Despite any safety precautions you took, a motorcycle accident injured you.
Before you do anything else, get a medical evaluation from the nearest hospital emergency room. While you may need a medical specialist to eventually treat your injuries, emergency room doctors are best equipped to evaluate your injuries and provide life-saving care immediately after an accident.
Immediate care can be the difference between life and death. And even if your life isn’t in danger, immediate care will often mitigate the severity of an injury, both immediately and in the long term.
Once you’ve received medical attention and are out of danger, contact a motorcycle accident lawyer. That medical attention you just received was expensive, and any future medical attention you might need will cost more money.
A motorcycle accident attorney can help you recover damages from your insurance company and the insurance companies of parties responsible for your accident. That money will ensure that you can pay for those medical expenses.
As important as it is to retain a motorcycle accident lawyer, don’t communicate with anybody else about the accident.
Insurance companies will try to get you to make statements that minimize the compensation they owe you. Other parties in the accident will try to get you to say or do something that indicates that you are at fault. Even the police might use your statements against you.
Whenever you communicate with others about the accident, let your motorcycle accident attorney speak for you or consult them before making a statement. You can even insist on speaking to your attorney before making a statement to the police. This care will help when your lawyer tries to recover damages for you.
How to Get Money After a Motorcycle Accident?
After a motorcycle accident injures you, you may receive compensation from an insurance company. Whether you receive compensation from your insurance company or another party in the accident depends on the state where the accident happened and the circumstances of the accident.
Regardless of which insurance company is paying your compensation, you are owed damages for all medical expenses you receive, up to the policy’s limits.
Despite knowing what you deserve, many insurance companies will try to pay you less than your medical expenses and may even try to deny your claim.
A motorcycle accident attorney will collect evidence that supports your claim and gives a true accounting of how much money you deserve. Your attorney uses that information to negotiate a fair settlement offer.
If the insurance company makes a fair offer, you get the money you need quickly and with little fuss. If it doesn’t, you may file a lawsuit against the insurance company.
This possibility is another important reason to have a motorcycle injury attorney. Your attorney will file all of the paperwork and handle all aspects of the case while you take the time to physically and mentally recover from your trauma.
The downside of a case going to trial is that it will often take a year or more for a verdict. And while you wait for a verdict, bills will mount. Furthermore, it isn’t a sure thing that the verdict will favor you.
However, if the verdict is in your favor, you can potentially recover significantly more money than you would have gotten from a settlement. Insurance companies know this, which is why they usually settle rather than go to court.
Other Resources for Recovery
Plenty of resources are available to help you recover from a serious injury resulting from a motorcycle accident. But many people have difficulty finding them while they are still in recovery. The best places to learn about these resources are from the hospital that treated you and your motorcycle accident lawyer.
Both attorneys and hospitals can usually direct you to resources that can help you with:
- Performing daily errands
- Mental trauma from the accident
- Financial assistance
- Getting specialized equipment
Additionally, most lawyers can slow down or stop your medical bills by writing a letter of protection. A letter of protection informs medical providers that you are seeking recovery from an insurance company by settlement or trial. That letter guarantees that once you receive that recovery, you will pay your bills in full. Most medical providers will respect that letter and stop trying to collect money from you until your claim resolves.
An attorney can also help you to fight for all of the compensation that you may be eligible to receive.
With the right legal help on your side, it’s easier to recover from a motorcycle accident.