Marasco & Nesselbush have decades of experience representing victims of motorcycle accidents who have sustained the most common motorcycle accident injuries in Rhode Island. Many motorcycle accident injuries, such as those involving the head, brain, neck, and soft tissue, are catastrophic. Recovering compensation for such injuries requires a professional legal team.
Motorcycles can be as dangerous as they are thrilling. They are involved in a disproportionate share of Rhode Island’s traffic-related fatalities. These often result from driver negligence. Even when the victims survive, they may experience years of physical suffering and emotional distress.
Blows to the head produce some of the most common and devastating injuries from motorcycle accidents. You’ll learn about traumatic brain injuries in detail below, but this is just one type of head injury. Other common motorcycle accident injuries include:
- Skull fractures. It takes a lot of force to damage the skull, but breaks are certainly possible. Specific types of skull fractures include linear (involves breaks but not movement of the skull), depressed (part of the skull sinks in), and basilar (breaks along the base of the skull).
- Epidural hematomas. Commonly accompanying skull fractures, epidural hematomas occur when blood forms between the skull and the membrane protecting the brain.
- Contusions. Often referred to as intracerebral hematomas, contusions mean that the brain itself is bruised. This causes swelling and bleeding near the affected areas.
- Diffuse axonal injuries. Prompted by the back-and-forth shaking of the brain, diffuse axonal injuries can lead to comas. Long-term effects include memory issues and cognitive impairment.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries occur when motorcyclists suffer violent blows to the head. These are most common when motorcyclists are thrown from their bikes; if their head hits the pavement, they’re far more likely to suffer brain damage. Experts at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration point to helmets as one of the best forms of protection against traumatic brain injuries.
When motorcyclists’ heads are thrown back and forth, they are susceptible to whiplash. These sudden and severe movements damage a variety of nerves, muscles, and discs. Sometimes referred to as a neck strain or sprain, whiplash prompts long-term pain and discomfort.
Herniated cervical discs are also possible. Also known as slipped or ruptured discs, these injuries produce unbearable neck pain, which may also radiate into the shoulder areas. Both whiplash and herniated discs might not seem severe at the scene of the accident or even in the next few days — but if not treated, they can prompt lasting damage.
Some symptoms of whiplash may be delayed and appear after a motorcycle accident. It’s important to always seek medical attention immediately after an accident to determine the extent of any injury to the neck.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Motorcyclists are far more vulnerable to spinal cord injuries than motor vehicle drivers and passengers. You’ve already read about cervical injuries of the neck and upper back, but other areas of note include:
- Thoracic. Regions impacted by a thoracic spine injury include the middle of the back, as well as the upper chest.
- Lumbar. Injuries to the lumbar region can cause serious issues with mobility because the legs and hips are the most affected areas.
- Sacral. The hips, back of the thighs, and various pelvic organs are all impacted by sacral spinal cord injuries.
Motorcycle chest injuries often occur in response to contact with the handlebars, although they’re also possible if motorcyclists are thrown from their bikes. Blunt trauma to the chest causes a variety of acute injuries, such as:
- Chest wall contusions. Also considered bruises, contusions can be extremely painful and may take several weeks to heal.
- Broken ribs. Blunt force during high-speed accidents may fracture motorcyclists’ ribs. These injuries are notoriously painful and can also be deadly if broken ribs compromise the aorta — the body’s largest artery. Broken ribs can also contribute to internal injuries from motorcycle accidents.
- Torn aorta. Broken ribs can easily puncture the aorta. Sufferers typically experience severe chest pain, which they describe as a ripping sensation.
Back injuries are possible in many types of motorcycle accidents but are more likely when riders initially strike objects (such as medians or other vehicles) rather than the ground.
Data from the International Association of Traffic and Safety Sciences shows that the first lumbar vertebra, between the pelvic area and the rib cage, is most likely to sustain damage due to motorcycle accidents. The nearby thoracic vertebra is also prone to injury.
Arm And Leg Injuries
With limited structural protection for absorbing impact, motorcycles can leave riders at heightened risk of arm and leg injuries, even during low-speed accidents that don’t seem severe. Motorcyclists’ legs are especially vulnerable because they can easily come into contact with the road. Common arm and leg injuries include:
- Broken bones. Many motorcyclists suffer broken bones when they’re thrown from their vehicles. The legs are most likely to sustain severe damage, with tibia and femur fractures proving not only incredibly common but also extremely painful. Depending on how motorcycle riders fall, arm breaks are also possible. The radius and ulna are especially prone to damage.
- Biker’s arm. Nerve damage often occurs when motorcycles land on their riders. Sometimes referred to as “biker’s arm,” these injuries may involve the median, radial, or ulnar nerves.
- Anterior cruciate ligament tears. The anterior cruciate ligament connects the femur to the tibia. If this is torn, motorcyclists may experience a popping sensation, followed by swelling and intense pain.
When you picture a devastating crash, you might not think that the biggest concern will be foot injuries from a motorcycle accident. Often, however, bikers’ feet are quick to sustain damage, particularly if their motorcycles fall on them. Common foot injuries include:
- Calcaneus. Also known as the heel bone, the calcaneus is prone to cracking. While National Library of Medicine research suggests that calcaneus injuries are most likely to occur during falls, motorcycle accidents are the second most common cause.
- Talus. Sitting directly above the heel, the talus slopes gently. Fractures of the talus are rare and can be initially difficult to identify. These injuries typically lead to pain around the ankle and may make it difficult to bear weight on the affected foot.
- Tarsal and metatarsal. As the foot’s longest bones, the tarsal and metatarsal are especially prone to damage when subjected to sudden force. Without prompt assistance, these injuries can lead to long-term disabilities.
Many motorcyclists are surprised to discover that the pelvis is one of their most susceptible areas. Pelvic fractures often result from contact with the motorcycle’s fuel tank. Trauma is especially likely in response to wipeouts, which force motorcyclists onto their sides.
Scrapes And Cuts
Motorcycle accidents commonly result in lacerations, particularly when motorcyclists fail to use protective wear such as leather jackets or chaps. Even when these specialized products are worn, areas such as the neck and face may be vulnerable. Some scrapes are superficial, but others may be deep enough to require stitches. Severe wounds lead to rapid blood loss, which could be deadly if not addressed promptly.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries involve trauma to the muscles, ligaments, or tendons. You’ve already read through a few examples of this, such as anterior cruciate ligament tears. Other issues include sprains, strains, and bursitis. These occur throughout the body, but the lower extremities are especially prone to damage.
These injuries are not always immediately evident to motorcyclists. Medical professionals can quickly identify and document soft tissue damage in the aftermath of an accident. This improves the likelihood of a full recovery and the potential for getting medical damages covered during motorcycle accident lawsuits.
Contact A Rhode Island Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Did you suffer one or more of the most common injuries from a motorcycle accident in Rhode Island? Did another driver’s or biker’s negligence cause the accident? As you focus on recuperating, let our team of personal injury lawyers help you secure fair and just compensation.
Rhode Island’s trusted injury law firm, Marasco & Nesselbush has an excellent track record. Our experienced motorcycle accident lawyers have what it takes to deliver a positive case outcome.
Ready to get started? Feel free to get in touch with our personal injury lawyers in Rhode Island. We’d love to set up a free case review.