The unfortunate truth is that motorcycle accidents can turn someone’s life upside down in an instant due to the catastrophic injuries and permanent disabilities often sustained. Although some motorcycle crashes are caused by speed and reckless driving on the part of the motorcycle operators, the majority of motorcycle accidents are caused by other drivers’ negligence.
Most motorcycle riders ride smart and safe because they know their lives are on the line if they don’t. Unfortunately, many drivers of cars and trucks simply don’t take the time to look for motorcycles or understand how to share the road with motorcyclists. Consequently, the biggest danger on the road facing motorcyclists is other drivers.
The Main Cause of Pennsylvania Motorcycle Crashes: Other Drivers
No matter how careful a motorcyclist is and no matter how much experience he or she has, even the safest, smartest motorcyclist cannot protect himself from a negligent driver who participates in any of the following behaviors:
Changing lanes improperly. When drivers fail to signal their intentions or don’t look in their mirrors or blind spots for motorcycles, they may end up moving over on motorcyclists. Sadly, motorcyclists who find themselves in this situation have no time to react or protect themselves.
Turning without looking for motorcycles. One of the most common causes of motorcycle crashes is due to other drivers making turns at intersections. Often times drivers don’t see approaching motorcycles, can’t tell how far away they are, or how fast they are traveling due to the smaller size of many motorcycles. Sadly, drivers frequently pull into the pathway of motorcyclists who are making left-hand turns.
Following too closely. When drivers tailgate motorcycles, they don’t allow the proper distance it takes to bring their vehicles to a complete stop in an emergency. As a result, they may rear-end a motorcycle.
Failing to stop at an intersection. Many drivers blow through red lights and stop signs because they are distracted, drowsy, or drunk. When they fail to stop at a traffic signal or sign, they can seriously injure or even kill a motorcyclist.
Stopping suddenly. When drivers decide to stomp on the brakes because they missed an exit or for other personal reasons, they can cause motorcyclists that are following behind to crash into them. Drivers should always obey traffic rules and never stop suddenly in the road.
From distracted driving to drunk driving and pure negligence, other drivers are typically the reason innocent motorcyclists suffer serious injuries in wrecks. While some motorcyclists are lucky enough to only end up with cuts, bumps, and bruises, others often suffer serious road rash and other severe injuries. This is caused because there is little to no protection surrounding a motorcycle. Because of the exposed design of motorcycles, motorcycle riders are more likely to sustain permanent injuries in collisions than car passengers involved in the same wreck.
Types of Injuries Philadelphia Motorcycle Crash Victims Sustain
Although all traffic accidents have the potential to be catastrophic and even fatal, motorcycle accidents are often the most devastating, as riders are unable to fully protect themselves. All motorcyclists have are helmets and heavy-duty clothing. Typically, motorcyclists are often thrown, crushed, and dragged during an impact. Any type of motorcycle accident—even one caused by a small mistake made by another driver—can lead to life-changing injuries for motorcyclists, including:
Broken bones. The force of a collision can shatter bones. Whether a rider is thrown from the bike and crashes into a tree, caught between the bike and car, or pulled along under another vehicle, the force of a collision can easily fracture, crush, or pulverize several bones. Common areas of breakage for motorcyclists include the collarbone, legs, pelvis, and back. Sometimes, broken and crushed bones can have lifelong implications.
Brain damage. Being thrown from a motorcycle at speeds around 70 miles per hour can cause tremendous impact injuries to motorcyclists who strike the ground. If the skull slams into the hard ground, the force could cause the skull to crack or the brain to become bruised. This can result in skull fractures, internal bleeding, bruising and swelling of the brain, severe brain damage, traumatic brain injury, and even death.
Spinal cord injury and paralysis. Since motorcyclists are often thrown from their bikes during a crash, they are at risk for striking their backsides. This includes their heads, necks, spines, and tailbones. The damage that occurs to the spinal column will ultimately determine if a motorcyclist will ever walk again.
Severed limbs. Being thrown or drug under a motorcycle or car can cause limbs and extremities to become crushed, twisted, or severed. In these situations, it may be medically necessary to completely remove the limb to prevent infection. The most common areas that require amputation are the hands, forearms, feet, and lower legs.
Nerve damage. When motorcyclists are ejected in a crash, they often wrap their arms around themselves or throw their arms out in front of them to lessen the impact. As a result, many motorcyclists damage the nerves in the arms. Any time a body part is compressed as a result of an impact, a victim can suffer nerve damage to that part of the body—causing extreme pain. When people suffer nerve damage, it not only causes them pain, but it can affect their body temperature, blood pressure, and muscle function—interfering with the motorcyclists’ overall quality of life.
- Road rash. Road rash is the term used when your skin is scraped, cut, rubbed, or flayed off as a result of being dragged across the ground or pavement. Considering how collision accidents occur as a result of moving objects (either your bike or another vehicle), when the impact hits you the momentum will most likely throw you off your bike or cause the bike to fall on top of you. Force will cause you to tumble or roll until the momentum subsides. This means that instead of just falling on the ground you’ll actually skid—potentially with your bike pressing down on you—causing large scrapes and traction “burns” on your skin. If not treated immediately, these painful abrasions can become infected.
Death. Innocent motorcyclists sadly lose their lives every day due to someone else’s negligence. Sometimes death occurs immediately in a motorcycle crash, but other times riders succumb to their injuries within the following days of an accident. When this occurs, families of victims need to learn about their rights to a wrongful death lawsuit.
Many of these injuries have lifelong implications for injured motorcyclists and cause devastating financial and emotional effects for victims and their families. This is why it is necessary to know about personal injury claims and your legal options in order to get the compensation you need for your future.
Understanding Personal Injury Claims After a Motorcycle Accident in Pennsylvania
Motorcycle injury claims can be complex due to the multiple parties that can be involved, which is why it is important that injured motorcyclists know they have rights to compensation for income loss benefits, medical payments, pain and suffering, and much, much more. In fact, the severity of the injury can help determine if an injured motorcycle operator is entitled to past, present, and future medical expenses and lost wages.
Because you will need compensation for your immediate needs as well as your future needs, it is critical that you obtain a full financial recovery. However, getting the insurance company to pay you what you need and deserve is a different story. This is because insurance companies are always looking for ways to save money, which is why insurance adjusters are known for lowball offers and hats full of tricks and tactics. For example, insurance adjusters may try to settle your claim quickly—before you even know the extent of your injuries. Or they may delay handling your claim—hoping it will get you to accept a smaller settlement in the future.
So that you don’t have to suffer through grueling insurance battles when you are battling for your life, it is beneficial to have someone in your corner who has experience handling motorcycle injury claims and who understands how insurance companies work. At Gibbons Legal, we have the experience and results you are looking for, and we are passionate about bringing injured motorcycle riders justice and just compensation.
If you do nothing else after being injured in a motorcycle accident — other than seek medical care—we urge you to call us for advice and guidance. Contact us at 215-569-1455 for a free, no-obligation legal consultation today.