Many of the same factors that lead to serious car crashes – such as drunk driving, distracted driving, and speeding – also cause many motorcycle wrecks. But the smaller size and more nimble maneuverability of motorcycles create unique dangers, especially when vehicle drivers don’t account for the presence of bikers near them. Common types of motorcycle crashes include:
- Unsafe Lane-Changing Accidents. Due to their smaller stature and ability to move through traffic in ways cars can’t, motorcycles are extremely vulnerable to being hit by drivers changing lanes without thoroughly checking their blind spots.
- Rear-End Collisions. Unbeknownst to many drivers, motorcycles can come to a complete stop much quicker than other vehicles. When a bike comes to a sudden stop, a driver following too closely can slam into the back of the bike. Rear-end accidents are often mere fender-benders when they involve two cars. But when bikers are rear-ended, they can fly backward, often leading to serious head, back, or neck injuries.
- Left-Hand Turn Accidents. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, 40% (872) of fatal two-vehicle motorcycle crashes in 2014 involved other vehicles turning left while the motorcycles were going straight, passing, or overtaking other vehicles. Left-hand turn accidents can be caused by drivers failing to yield the right-of-way or misjudging the speed at which the motorcycle travels.
- T-Bone or Intersection Collisions. The same factors that lead to left-hand turn accidents can lead to intersection collisions, along with other factors like failing to obey red lights or stop signs, failing to look both ways before crossing the intersection, and the inability to see motorcycles obscured by vehicles or other objects.
- Single-Bike Accidents. Not all motorcycle crashes involve other vehicles. Hazardous road conditions such as uneven or crumbling pavement, debris, potholes, mechanical problems, or other factors can cause bikers to lose control and either lay down their bikes or hit stationary objects at high speed.
Even bikers who religiously wear helmets and other protective gear when they ride remain particularly vulnerable to a wide range of catastrophic injuries.
Helmets unquestionably save lives, but not always. According to the IIHS, 58% of all people killed in motorcycle accidents in 2020 wore helmets. Brain injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBI), are tragically common in motorcycle crashes as bikers hit the pavement, make a violent impact with other objects at high speed, or are thrown from their bikes.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), almost 9% of unhelmeted and 7% of helmeted hospital-treated bikers experienced minor to moderate TBI after an accident, while more than 7% of unhelmeted and 4.7% of helmeted bikers sustained severe TBI in a crash.
Besides TBI, bikers can sustain other significant brain and head injuries in a motorcycle accident. These include:
- Brain hemorrhage
- Brain hematoma
- Penetrating injury
Additional injuries that are common in motorcycle accidents include:
- Spinal injuries
- Eye injuries
- Road rash
- Broken bones
- Neck injurieBurns
A motorcyclist, of course, does not enjoy the same level of protection for impact as the operators of cars or trucks. In addition to being directly exposed to the impact without a crash barrier or crush protection, motorcycle operators are not required to wear helmets, though their failure to do so can be admissible if the failure to use a helmet contributed to aggravating the victim’s injuries. Consequently, when a motorcycle wreck occurs, the victim may suffer catastrophic injuries such as amputations, brain injuries, internal bleeding, broken bones, coma and sometimes even wrongful death.
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Against this backdrop, it is clear that in order to maximize your chances for justice following a motorcycle wreck, you need to contact an experienced motorcycle wreck attorney. Our team can use the physical evidence obtained at the scene to help show that a motorcyclist was operating appropriately, within his or her rights, which can help overcome some of the bias that exists against motorcyclists.