Motorcycles are an appealing alternative in times of high gas prices and increasing environmental concerns about burning fossil fuels. They also can just be fun. Whether you drive to work or cruise the canyons on Washington State Route 821 from Ellensburg to Yakima, motorcycles are an enjoyable and efficient way to travel.
Unfortunately, they are also dangerous. According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, over 90 motorcycle riders died in crashes on Washington roads in 2019 and 2020.
And across the country, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that for 2020, “motorcyclists were about 28 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to die in a motor vehicle crash and were four times more likely to be injured.”
These high mortality and injury numbers reflect motorcycle riders’ lack of protection compared to automobile and truck drivers. Because bikers have nothing but helmets and protective clothing to keep them safe, the injuries from a motorcycle accident also tend to be different.
For a free consultation with one of our experienced Washington motorcycle accident lawyers, please call (509) 866-4166 or contact us online today.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Washington State requires motorcyclists to wear helmets that meet the U.S. Department of Transportation standards. But many bikers still ride helmetless.
Because riders frequently are thrown from their bikes in accidents, traumatic brain injuries are common. These injuries usually are serious or fatal.
The severity of traumatic brain injuries ranges from concussions to coma or even death. Though doctors can sometimes prevent further damage from brain swelling and hemorrhage with immediate medical care, head injuries can lead to permanent disabilities.
- Memory and comprehension problems;
- Paralysis or other movement issues;
- Difficulty speaking;
- Impaired ability to manage daily activities such as dressing, bathing, and eating; and
- Personality or psychiatric changes that result in social problems.
These long-term changes usually require costly rehabilitative and care services. Families may also have to modify the victim’s home to make it accessible and safe.
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Back and Spinal Cord Injuries
Sadly, the rider’s impact with another vehicle or the ground may also cause permanent back and spinal cord injuries. Surgeons can repair broken vertebrae in some cases, but the damage still may result in lasting disability or pain. And unfortunately, a severed spinal cord generally leads to paralysis.
A 2008 NHTSA report determined that the most common motorcycle injury is damage to the rider’s lower extremities. This makes sense because the driver’s legs may become tangled in the bike during a crash or pinned underneath the bike when it falls.
Riders experience fractured femurs and tibia, as well as knee, ankle, and foot injuries. Sometimes the bike crushes a lower extremity and causes such profound damage that doctors must amputate the limb.
Because drivers instinctively brace for a fall when thrown off their bikes, wrist fractures are also common.
While not always immediately obvious, internal bleeding is a life-threatening condition. Riders should receive prompt medical attention to ensure that they do not have internal injuries from a motorcycle accident. Signs include dizziness, bruising, pain, and dark vomit or stool. Internal injuries can worsen quickly.
Road rash is the term used when a motorcyclist skids across the asphalt or concrete, stripping away layers of skin in the process.
Depending on how deep the penetration goes, road rash can result in nerve damage and permanent scarring. And, of course, any open wound is susceptible to infection. Road rash may also exacerbate the pain involved in treating other common motorcycle accident injuries like fractures.
Legal Help for Those Injured in a Motorcycle Accident
If you or a loved one sustained motorcycle accident injuries because of another driver’s negligence, you might need an attorney. Much of the trauma discussed above can result in massive medical costs and long-term disability.
You may also find that you are unable to work. Healthcare and automotive insurance providers sometimes fight liability for these expenses or try to avoid paying for ongoing care by offering a quick settlement.
For those who have lost a loved one in a motorcycle crash, dealing with insurers and the loss of a provider can be overwhelming. An attorney can help lift this burden.
With more than 50 years of combined experience, the personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at Kapuza Lighty Accident Injury Lawyers know how to deal with insurance companies and litigate successful claims.
We have recovered millions of dollars for our Yakima County clients and will fight to recover the maximum amount possible in your case. Our 10 out of 10 rating on Avvo confirms our record of satisfying personal injury clients. Contact us online or call (509) 866-4166 today for a free, no-obligation consultation regarding your accident.