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Which Body Region Is Most Likely To Be Injured In A Motorcycle Accident?

Back view of motorcyclist in black leather jacket and white helmet riding motorbike along hilly road between tall green trees on sunny summer day.

Motorcycle accidents are notorious for causing severe injuries, often leaving riders with long-term disabilities. Due to the exposed nature of motorcycling, certain body regions are particularly vulnerable in a motorcycle accident caused by another driver. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclists are four times more likely to sustain injuries and 22 times more likely to die in crashes than vehicle drivers.

Injuries to the lower and upper extremities

The lower extremities comprise legs, knees, calves, ankles, and feet. Due to their exposed position, a rider's legs are particularly vulnerable. For example, a motorcycle can weigh several hundred pounds. When it falls on a rider during a crash, the weight can cause fractures or crush injuries to the lower body.

Another particularly painful example of lower extremity trauma is road rash. This injury occurs when a rider's skin scrapes against the road surface. As a result, a rider may sustain severe abrasions that may require skin grafts. While these injuries are often not life-threatening, they can be excruciating and result in long-term disabilities such as chronic pain, impaired mobility, or even permanent limping.

Upper extremity injuries are common in motorcycle accidents due to the natural reflex of using arms to break a fall. When motorcyclists are ejected and land hard, they often suffer from shoulder injuries. That includes torn rotator cuffs, as well as fractures to arms, elbows, and fingers.

Thorax injuries

The thorax, or upper trunk, is protected by the ribs and houses critical organs such as the heart and lungs. This is another common site for severe injuries in motorcycle accidents. Injuries to the thorax can lead to internal bleeding and organ damage. Motorcyclists often suffer from broken ribs, which can puncture lungs or lacerate other vital organs like the spleen, kidney, or liver.

Lung injuries are particularly concerning as they may require surgical intervention and prolonged ventilation support. Additionally, a torn aorta almost always requires surgical repair and can be fatal if not promptly addressed.

Head injuries

Motorcyclists can suffer a wide range of head injuries, from mild concussions to severe traumatic brain injuries. Some of these injuries can lead to coma, hemorrhaging, and even death. Victims of head trauma may experience a variety of symptoms, including confusion, memory loss, and changes in sensory and motor skills.

Face and neck injuries

Facial injuries commonly include fractures to the nose, jaw and dental injuries, which can lead to significant disfigurement and emotional trauma. The neck, susceptible to whiplash from rear-end collisions, can suffer extensive damage to muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves, affecting head and neck mobility and possibly resulting in chronic pain.

Severe neck injuries can also impact the spinal cord and lead to varying degrees of paralysis. Nerve damage in this region can manifest as pain radiating to the jaw, ears, arms, and hands, complicating diagnosis and treatment.

Abdomen injuries

The force of an impact can cause serious internal injuries to abdominal organs such as the spleen or liver. These injuries are particularly dangerous because they might not be immediately apparent, yet they can be life-threatening if untreated. Symptoms of internal abdominal injuries include pain, bruising, low blood pressure, and signs of shock, making prompt medical evaluation crucial.

Spine injuries

The spinal cord is crucial for transmitting messages from the brain to the rest of the body, and damage to this area can lead to varying degrees of paralysis, including quadriplegia, which is paralysis from the neck down. Other spinal injuries may result in respiratory issues, incontinence, and sexual dysfunction, significantly impacting a person’s independence and quality of life.

How vehicle drivers can prevent motorcycle accidents

Here are key ways vehicle drivers can help prevent motorcycle accidents :

  • Stay alert and aware: Motorcycles are smaller and can be more difficult to see, especially in traffic or near larger vehicles. Always check your mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes or turning at intersections. Be particularly cautious during left turns and lane changes, as these are common scenarios for motorcycle accidents.
  • Maintain a safe following distance: Keep a minimum of four seconds of following distance when driving behind a motorcycle. This buffer zone gives you more time to react to the motorcyclist’s movements and reduces the risk of rear-end collisions, which are common when drivers tailgate.
  • Use turn signals: Always signal your intentions well in advance before changing lanes or merging into traffic. This helps motorcyclists anticipate your actions and adjust their position on the road accordingly, preventing sideswipe accidents and other lane-change-related collisions.
  • Respect motorcycles as full-size vehicles: Motorcycles have the same rights and privileges as any other vehicle on the road. Give motorcyclists a full lane width and avoid squeezing them out of their space. Treating motorcycles as full-size vehicles helps prevent sideswipe accidents and promotes safer road sharing.
  • Slow down and drive cautiously near motorcyclists: Speeding reduces your reaction time and increases the severity of accidents. Slow down when approaching or overtaking a motorcycle, and be mindful of their presence. This can help prevent speeding-related accidents and create a safer environment for all road users.

Hurt in a New Hampshire motorcycle accident? Contact us today

Motorcycle accidents often result in devastating injuries, which can sometimes be fatal. At Burns, Bryant, Cox, Rockefeller & Durkin, P.A., we understand the severity of these accidents and the overwhelming medical costs and emotional toll they can bring. If you were injured or a loved one died in a motorcycle accident, we can fight for the maximum compensation you deserve for your medical bills (past, present, and future), lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact us today for a free consultation. We want to hear your story and help you understand how we can help you find your way forward.

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