Motorcycle riders face unique risks on the road. They’re almost 30 times as likely to die in a motorcycle crash than passenger vehicle occupants are. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t hop on your bike for a ride around town or a cruise out to do errands—but what happens when the unthinkable occurs?
Motorcycle crashes can and do happen; and while we understand why it’s difficult to discuss, we know it’s important to share about what happens after a crash. Many motorcycle accident survivors partner with attorneys to help them after experiencing brain injuries and other emotional, mental, and physical damage.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
We’re all taught to drive defensively when we get behind the wheel. If you’re looking to hop on a motorcycle, you should know some of the key risks that you face on the road.
Lots of motorcycle accidents can be easily traced to these common causes:
- Distracted driving | A motorcycle or vehicle operator can easily become distracted on the road. When this happens and a crash occurs, the motorcyclist is clearly the more likely of the two to face serious injury.
- Road defects | Sometimes, a motorcycle accident feels all but unavoidable thanks to road defects and other circumstances. Always look out for potential crash risks. Potholes, uneven roads, and other road conditions can all lead to a crash.
- Inclement weather | Weather itself rarely causes crashes—it’s the people who fail to accommodate for the weather who might misjudge stopping distances or drive too fast in poor visibility, then crash into motorcyclists, who cause accidents.
- Inexperienced Drivers | Drivers who do not have much experience behind the wheel may not know how to properly navigate around motorcycles, stay alert to motorcyclists, or perform maneuvers to avoid colliding with a motorcycle. They may not properly check their blind spots before merging or may follow a motorcycle too close due to a lack of awareness about road safety.
- Left Turns and Lane Merging | Left turns are a common cause of accidents for motorcyclists. While a car is turning left, it is common for drivers not to see a motorcycle and end up colliding with them. Lane merging is also a common cause of motorcycle accidents. Drivers who don’t check their blind spots before switching lanes or switch lanes abruptly are likely to cause an accident with motorcycles that are hard to spot.
- Door Opening Accidents | On busy streets, if a driver opens their door after parallel parking without checking to see if someone is driving by, this could lead to what is known as a dooring collision. In the case of a car colliding with another car door, the door would be much more damaged than the car. But if it’s a motorcycle rider colliding with an open door, the motorcyclist would likely be ejected from their bike, which can result in various injuries to them, including a traumatic brain injury.
- Aggressive Drivers | Aggressive drivers often cause accidents because of how little regard they have for the safety of everyone else on the road. Aggressive drivers may rush erratically, may be quick to anger, or may let their ego cause them to behave in a dangerous and reckless manner. For motorcycle riders, this type of driving is especially dangerous since a car easily outweighs a motorcycle.
- Failing to Look Out for Motorcycles | Motorcycles are harder to see than cars. There is no doubt about it. But that doesn't mean that other drivers do not have just as much of a responsibility to watch out for motorcycles as they would any other vehicle or person on the road. The saying “Look Twice, Save a Life” is a good tip for keeping everyone on the road safe.
[Read: Chicago Motorcycle Accident FAQ]
What Should I Do After a Motorcycle Accident?
If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident, it’s important to stay calm. This advice assumed that you do not need immediate or emergency medical attention. If somebody is seriously injured, he or she should not focus on these steps of the process and instead wait on emergency attention.
- Contact authorities (call 911)
- Police will help fill out an accident report when they arrive
- Those who need emergency medical attention will receive it
- Other people involved in the accident may try to persuade you not to file a police report. Don’t follow their advice. Filing a police report will play a crucial part in your lawsuit if you need to seek compensation for injuries.
- Collect information and evidence
- Photo and videos of the crash, damage, and injuries
- Names of witnesses and other drivers
- Insurance and phone information from other drivers
- Seek medical attention, if needed
- If you sustain injuries, seek medical attention at an ER, urgent care, or with your primary care provider ASAP after the crash
- Adrenaline can sometimes mask more serious injuries, so if you’re in pain, seek medical attention.
- Start with attorneys
- Only once your physical and mental health are stable
- Most initial consultations are free
- Let your lawyer talk to insurance companies for you
Your health should always be your first priority after a motorcycle accident. If you’ve faced serious injury during a crash, your lawyer can help you piece together information that is needed to pursue a claim. Attorneys are used to working with crash survivors who struggle with serious injuries—they will not decline your case just because you were injured and can’t collect much evidence.
Watch for Symptoms: Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries (or TBIs) present a serious risk for motorcyclists.
If you or somebody you love was involved in a motorcycle accident, watch for these warning signs of TBI:
- Loss of consciousness, disorientation, or dizziness
- Nausea, altered sleep and language patterns, headaches
- Persistent or worsening symptoms like headaches and nausea
- Fluid leakage from the ears or nose
- Extreme confusion, agitation
- Slurred speech
Never overlook a TBI. Any degree of a TBI can result in severe complications and long-term impairments. If you believe that someone is exhibiting symptoms of a TBI, you should contact a medical professional immediately.
What if I Still Need Treatment After my Brain Injury Case Settles?
Usually, your lawsuit will settle after you have received all of the medical treatment necessary and after all of your medical bills and lost wages have been calculated. This means that most people are no longer receiving treatment when they decide along with their attorney to settle their injury claim. However, some injuries, especially brain injuries, can cause lifelong problems that require ongoing treatment or that may cause people to be out of work indefinitely.
In these cases, your medical providers’ records would need to contain information about your injury and about the types of care that you’ll need to continue receiving in the future. Your attorney will use this information to get you a settlement that incorporates the costs of this future care. Basically, if your treatment is ongoing, you’ll receive more compensation to account for the money you’ll continue to lose in the future.
It is important to note that once a personal injury case settles, you cannot go back and ask for more money to cover costs that suddenly came up. This is why it is so important to have an attorney experienced in personal injury and traumatic brain injuries by your side so that you can gain the right amount of compensation you’ll need for your injuries from the onset.
Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Concussions are one of the most common types of brain injury. They are mostly minor, although they can get much more serious depending on if you have had other concussions or brain injuries in the past. Concussions can cause temporary loss of consciousness, headache, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, and fatigue. Even though they are mild, they still can cause an injured rider to miss work and to rack up some serious medical bills.
Coup, Contrecoup, and Coup-Contrecoup
These types of injuries occur when the head is struck by an object, such as pavement or even the inside of a helmet. A coup injury occurs when the damage to the brain occurs at the site of the impact. A contrecoup injury occurs when the damage is on the opposite side of the brain from the site of impact. And a coup-contrecoup injury occurs when both sides are damaged. These types of injuries are common in motorcycle accidents and can be very serious. In some cases, they cause minor bruising which will heal over time. But in other cases, they can cause the brain to bleed, can lead to cranial pressure, and can create lasting problems for the injured rider.
Diffuse Axonal Injury
Diffuse axonal injuries are very common in motorcycle accidents that involve a significant amount of force. When the brain moves around in the skull, it affects the connection between the brain and the rest of the body. Diffuse axonal injuries can cause the fibers in the brain stem to tear, causing permanent damage to the brain. These injuries often cause people to end up in a comatose state. Diffuse axonal injuries are difficult to detect with CT (Computed tomography) or MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) scans. But most doctors know to watch out for them because they are one of the most common types of traumatic brain injury and one of the most devastating.
A contusion is bruising on the brain. These injuries can range from mild to severe. While a minor contusion can heal without much treatment, a more severe one could cause swelling and bleeding that require emergency surgery to remedy.
Other Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
We support motorcycle crash survivors with a broad range of injuries. While a TBI does pose one of the highest risks to human life, there are plenty of other types of physical damage that can impact survivors’ lives, too:
- Road rash
- Bruises, cuts, lacerations
- Back injuries
- Neck and spinal cord injuries
- Loss of limb
- Bone fractures
If you’ve suffered any injury as the result of a motorcycle crash, you may be entitled to compensation to help account for your losses. It’s important to speak openly and honestly with your motorcycle accident attorney to achieve the best chances of success.
Will Motorcycle Bias Unfairly Affect My Case?
Unfair motorcycle bias refers to the negative way that motorcyclists are treated by insurance companies and juries.
Insurance adjusters may try to say that a motorcycle is inherently dangerous and, therefore, the rider was knowingly taking an unnecessary risk. Or they may propose that a motorcyclist was driving recklessly when they actually weren’t. Because of the negative perceptions of motorcycles and the people who ride them, insurance adjusters often try to lowball injured riders.
Juries also suffer from this bias along with a lack of knowledge about motorcycles. Most jurists probably don’t know much about motorcycles, so they could make a decision based on preconceived notions. For example, consider the fact that motorcycles need to speed up when turning, rather than slow down. If a juror doesn’t know this, they may believe the motorcyclist was at fault since this maneuver isn’t expected.
To battle unfair motorcycle bias, you need a personal injury attorney that has experience helping injured motorcyclists with insurance claims and lawsuits. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can not only represent your compensation needs, but also dispute arguments that would damage your injury claim.
A Motorcycle Accident Attorney Can Help You Recover Damages
If you partner with a motorcycle accident attorney who’s prepared to carry out your case, he or she may help you recover damages. This means that you’ll receive compensation to account for the physical, monetary, and emotional expenses of your accident. Nobody can guarantee that you will recover damages and nobody can predict which damages you could recover. Your attorney can help clarify this once they delve into your case.
That said, recoverable damages in motorcycle accident cases often include:
- Past, present, and future medical bills | Including emergency transport, specialized services, custom equipment, and more.
- Pain and suffering | Any accident has the potential to leave long-lasting effects on survivors; if your motorcycle accident caused a brain injury, it’s no exception. Motorcycle accident survivors can collect damages to account for exceptional physical and mental pain attributed to their experiences.
- Lost wages and/or earning potential | Sometimes, a brain injury is so severe that it leaves someone temporarily unable to work. If this is the case for you, your lawyer should suggest pursuing compensation for lost wages. Other victims face a lifetime of altered or diminished earning potential after their accidents. These individuals would pursue damages for lost earning potential.
- Disability | Some accidents cause disability in survivors. Brain injuries, in particular, can and do lead to disabilities with some regularity. If your motorcycle accident case resulted in disability, you can pursue compensation for it.
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident and suffering from a brain injury or other type of injury, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced lawyer to represent you in seeking compensation for your injuries. The brain injury attorneys at Abels & Annes have experience in securing compensation for victims injured in motorcycle accidents. For a free, no-obligation consultation, contact us online, through our Live Chat, or by calling us at 312-924-7575.