An astonishing 80% of motorcycle accidents result in injury or death. Although this is unfortunate, it is not necessarily surprising since motorcyclists aren’t surrounded by the same protections as most travelers. When a motorcycle accident happens, this leaves little to shield riders from serious injuries. Consequently, the resulting injuries and recovery can be particularly excruciating and costly. Thousands of dollars in medical expenses and lost income are the last stressors you need when you’re trying to recover from serious injuries.
Abels & Annes can help you to secure maximum compensation from the at-fault party so that you can focus on your recovery. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact our Waukegan motorcycle accident lawyers today for a free consultation.
Motorcycle accidents can cause literally any type of injury because of how violent they can be. However, there are some types of injuries that are more common during a motorcycle wreck.
Road rash is an extremely common type of injury that riders suffer during a motorcycle accident. Extreme cases of road rash cut through all four layers of the skin. This requires painful surgeries to correct. Even less invasive scrapes can devastate motorcyclists if they become infected or leave unsightly scars.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Motorcyclists that ride without helmets have a higher chance of developing a TBI during an accident. However, even riders that do wear helmets are still much more at risk of developing a brain injury than other vehicle drivers. TBIs lead to a wide range of cognitive, physical, and emotional problems that can have lasting effects. When a negligent vehicle driver causes a motorcycle accident that leads to a head or brain injury, the consequences can be painful, debilitating, and even deadly.
Motorcycle accidents that throw riders off of their bikes frequently cause spinal injuries. And as you can imagine, living with a spinal injury is extremely frustrating, painful, and expensive. In fact, as many as 80% of patients with spinal cord injuries live with chronic pain.
Broken Bones and Fractures
Any bone can crack, break, or shatter under the extreme force of a motorcycle accident. Usually, broken bones can easily be repaired. However, serious motorcycle accidents can cause riders to shatter bones or suffer multiple broken bones across their body. These injuries are much more serious than a simple broken arm. And they can be very costly and painful for the victim. Broken or shattered bones caused by a motorcycle accident can require multiple surgeries, run the risk of infection, and may even cause some partial or full paralysis.
Internal injuries from a motorcycle accident can lead to blood loss and organ failure. Unfortunately, internal injuries commonly go unnoticed by accident victims because of their lack of external indicators. Internal bleeding quickly becomes life threatening without medical intervention. Medical treatment for internal injuries often requires extensive medical care and a lengthy hospital stay which contributes to costly medical bills and increases the financial burden on the injured rider.
Loss of Limbs/Amputations
The force of a motorcycle accident can irreparably shatter arms and legs. The crushing weight of a vehicle slamming into or pinning a rider's limb can lead to the need for amputation. Not only does an amputation obviously cause a reduction in mobility and quality of life, but they can also lead to serious emotional trauma as well. Losing a limb creates a significant financial burden since a sufferer will require expensive surgeries, hospital stays, lengthy care and rehabilitation, and a costly prosthetic limb.
As you can see from the above descriptions of common injuries caused by a motorcycle accident, injured riders can be left with significant financial burdens. Depending on the type of injuries suffered, a motorcycle accident can cost a person anywhere from thousands of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars just for the initial hospital stay alone. Once you factor in costs that accrue after the initial hospital stay–like in-home care, follow-up visits, rehabilitation costs, and other related expenses–it is not uncommon for a serious motorcycle accident to cost $100,000 or more in medical bills.
Motorcyclists have to be especially careful because of how vulnerable they are when riding. Likewise, it is also the responsibility of drivers to keep an eye out for motorcyclists, since they have as much of a right to the road as anyone else and because they can be harder to see. When a driver does not hold up this duty of care, they can cause a motorcycle accident with devastating consequences. Some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Lane changes
- Left turns
- Driving while intoxicated
- Driving too close to a motorcycle
- Distracted driving
Once of the most common ways that motorcycle accidents happen is when a passenger vehicle or a semi-truck is changing lanes. Because of their size, riders are often in a vehicle driver’s blind spot. This is not their fault; a smaller vehicle does not release someone from the responsibility of checking blind spots. Drivers who change lanes without carefully looking put motorcyclists in danger of serious injury or death.
Thirty-five percent of motorcycle accidents happen at intersections. Many are caused by left turns. In this type of accident, drivers turning left at intersections either don’t see oncoming motorcycles or misjudge their distance. All drivers, and riders, have a duty of care to each other to drive safely and to watch out for others on the road.
Accidents Caused by Intoxicated Drivers
When a person is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they put everyone else on the road at serious risk of injury or death. Although drunk drivers are not necessarily more likely to crash into a motorcycle rider, they are statistically more likely to injure a rider because of the lack of protection one has on a motorcycle. When somebody makes the decision to drive drunk or intoxicated, they also make the decision to be negligent and therefore should be held responsible for their actions.
Driving Too Close
Motorcycles need less time and space to come to a stop than cars do. When behind motorcycles, car drivers should leave adequate space ahead of them to prevent a rear-end collision. However, many don’t. In these rear-end accidents, motorcycle riders absorb the bulk of the impact and are often sent flying forward or may even become sandwiched between two cars.
Motorcycles are already less visible than larger vehicles. They become even easier to miss if a driver is buried in a cell phone or otherwise multitasking behind the wheel. Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of all types of accidents. But when that accident involves a motorcyclist the results can be even more devastating.
File a Police Report
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident and you are able to do so, the first thing you should do is to call 911 to dispatch medical responders as well as police. When the officer is there they will begin the process of filing a police report. Never let anybody talk you out of contacting the authorities or reporting the accident. A police report will serve as a critical piece of evidence later if you need to make an injury claim.
Seek Medical Treatment Immediately
If you are not so injured that you need to be rushed to the hospital, try to document as much of the accident as you are safely able to. Start by taking down the names, addresses, registration details, and contact information from each driver.
If you were able to stay at the scene of the accident while the police report was being filed, your next step should be to immediately seek medical treatment. Even if your injuries aren’t severe, receive care as soon as possible. Adrenaline and shock can easily cover up injuries that may not be recognizable right away.
As we discussed above with internal trauma, injuries that initially go unnoticed can cause serious complications. When you first see a doctor, make sure that you let them know that your injuries were caused by a car accident. This will allow them to document the information in your file and can be used later as evidence in your case.
Collect Evidence of the Accident
Next, snap photos of the vehicles involved, visible injuries, and the scene itself. If you can, record video too. Pictures and video of the damage and the location can help to later demonstrate how the motorcycle accident happened, what the contributing factors were, what the scene looked like immediately after the collision, and even possibly how severe the impact was. Pictures and videos speak a thousand words when it comes time to putting evidence together.
You should also speak to any witnesses if they are available. Since they viewed the motorcycle accident from a different perspective, there is a good chance they’ve noticed details you and the other driver couldn’t have seen. It is imperative that you get any witnesses’ contact information. That way, your attorney can contact them later to collect evidence in your case.
Do not Speak to Insurance Adjusters Without Proper Legal Representation
Finally, you should avoid speaking to the other driver’s insurance company. Any statements they take can be used against you to minimize compensation for your injuries. Instead, contact a motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible.
A motorcycle accident attorney will handle all communications with the other driver’s insurance company and protect you from making any statements that could harm your case. They will also handle any other communications and records requests on your behalf. Of course, their main job will be to build your claim and to negotiate the highest possible settlement to compensate you for your damages.
At Abels & Annes, we take a firm stance with insurance companies who undervalue our clients’ injuries and damages. Our tough negotiation style and detailed investigations will help you to get the utmost compensation for your motorcycle accident injuries. For a free initial evaluation, call us at 312-924-7575 or contact us online.
Abels & Annes, P.C. (Waukegan Office)
404 W Water St Suite 100
Waukegan, IL 60085