The 10 Steps You Must Take
Surviving motorcycle crashes often means anticipating driver negligence and taking recommended safety precautions. However, you can do everything right and still suffer from serious injuries following motorcycle accidents. Wearing helmets, obtaining quality medical care, and attending training courses can help riders survive sudden crashes, but these safeguards cannot protect motorcyclists from dangerous drivers.
Experienced motorcycle attorneys might help injured motorcyclists recover compensation for life-threatening injuries after traffic accidents.
The most common fatal conditions caused by negligent drivers include:
- Damaged chest organs (chest-crushing injuries) – Punctured lungs, severed cardiac arteries, and esophagus injuries might all result in sudden fatalities. These serious injuries most often occur after run-over accidents, whereby negligent drivers impact motorcyclists and unexpectedly propel them into another traffic lane.
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) – Most fatal motorcycle crashes involve brain trauma. Brain swelling after concussion and skull fractures can begin killing brain cells within five minutes. Even with immediate medical intervention, brain injuries often result in death.
- Kidney trauma – Many direct-impact motorcycle crashes, especially left-turn accidents, cause severe kidney trauma. Traumatic kidney failure could prove fatal.
- Burns and smoke inhalation – Severe full-thickness burns often result in multiple infections, pain, and irreparable organ damage. Motorcyclists trapped under burning cars or trucks often suffer from life-threatening burns and deadly smoke inhalation.
- Spinal cord damage – Severe spinal cord injuries necessitate immediate medical intervention. Without medical support, claimants cannot generally recover from paralyzing injuries.
Taking the following ten steps might help you survive motorcycle crashes by reducing the likelihood of serious injury.
1. Wear an Approved Motorcycle Helmet
According to the World Health Organization, traumatic head and neck injuries are the leading cause of death among motorcycle riders. Studies indicate that traumatic brain injuries cause nearly 75 percent of all rider fatalities. Wearing an approved motorcycle helmet is the most effective way to survive a motorcycle crash for three reasons:
- Padded helmets absorb and reduce the force at which the brain impacts the skull after collisions.
- Approved helmets distribute the crash force over a greater surface area, reducing the risk of brain death.
- Helmets with hard outer shells prevent penetrating brain injuries by blocking direct contact with the pavement and sharp debris. Wearing properly sized DOT-approved motorcycle helmets gives riders the best chance of surviving traffic accidents.
All traumatic brain injuries, from minor concussions to severe brain stem trauma, can have fatal consequences.
Claimants with head injuries may suffer from complex cognitive, emotional, and physical symptoms including, but not limited to:
- Coma or vegetative state
- Memory loss
- Loss of muscle control and fine motor skills
- Blindness and hearing loss
- Depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts
- Mood changes and irritability
- Persistent migraines
- Vomiting and nausea
Even mild concussions can lead to fatal conditions such as second impact syndrome (SSI), early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Claimants with severe brain injuries might also develop complications, including kidney failure, malnutrition, and Parkinson’s disease. Each of these conditions impacts a victim’s quality of life and can be fatal. By preventing internal brain trauma, concussion, and brain swelling, helmets protect riders from sudden or later fatalities and the long-term consequences of traumatic head injuries.
2. Ride the Right Motorcycle for Your Skill Level
User inexperience and inappropriately sized motorcycles contribute to many serious crashes in the United States. Some motorcycles, such as those made by Ducati, can top 200 miles per hour. Only trained and experienced riders should handle such high-performance motorcycles. Even restored Indian motorcycles require users with the skills and training necessary to troubleshoot and operate these unique machines.
New riders should start with bikes suited to their skill level and size. Beginner machines often include additional safety equipment and user-friendly controls to compensate for common mistakes. Motorcyclists should also consider their commute and neighborhood. Some machines are better suited to snow and ice, while others perform better in heavy-traffic conditions. A few safety concessions can prevent or mitigate life-threatening motorcycle crashes among new riders.
Mechanical defects might also contribute to fatal motorcycle crashes, including brake failures. Serious injuries caused by dangerously designed or defectively manufactured motorcycles could support product liability claims. Certified dealers, parts manufacturers, and motorcycle designers might all bear legal responsibility for dangerous machines. An attorney may discuss the viability of these claims with injured motorcyclists and their families.
3. Get Licensed and Take Motorcycle Safety Courses
The NHTSA estimates that nearly 30 percent of motorcycle fatalities involve unlicensed riders. While every state requires licensure, not every state mandates motorcycle safety training. Advanced motorcycle safety training teaches riders how to fall and minimize the damage associated with traffic crashes.
With enough training, experienced motorcyclists can often see and avoid potentially fatal accidents. This frequently means executing controlled falls and safety stops, and the minor injuries associated with planned emergency maneuvers can prevent life-threatening injuries. Advanced safety training often helps motorcyclists recognize the most common driver mistakes, including turning left into motorcyclists, following riders too closely, and driving while intoxicated.
4. Wear Recommended Safety Gear
Leather serves more than aesthetic purposes for riders. It also protects motorcyclists from painful friction burns, which frequently occur during motorcycle crashes. Widespread burns and impacted debris can cause serious infections requiring months of medical treatment.
Additionally, the following safety gear can prevent and/or mitigate serious motorcycle accident injuries:
- Textile mesh and waterproof pants
- Helmets with facemasks and/or riding goggles
- Earplugs or helmets with specific noise protection
- Gloves with grips or racing gloves
- Sturdy boots
- Light body armor
- Reflective gear
- Leather jackets
Each of these items serves a specific safety purpose. High-performance motorcycle manufacturers often recommend utilizing body armor to protect against high-speed crashes. Riders should also consider wearing waterproof grip gear, reflective items, and face protection. Having the right safety equipment can save lives by preventing slipping or sudden visual impairments, and protecting motorcycles from life-threatening chest injuries.
5. Avoid Bad Weather and Unknown Roadways
Not all roads are safe for motorcyclists. Many cities do not design freeways, exits, and intersections with riders in mind. Sharp curves and poor lighting often lead to motorcyclist fatalities, especially in wet conditions.
Consider pulling over and taking shelter during rainstorms, especially if you’re not wearing waterproof and grip safe gear. Importantly, riders should also know their routes. Many municipalities do not fix small potholes or bother with minor roadway debris because they seldom impact car and truck drivers. They do, however, frequently cause motorcycle accidents.
Motorcycle accident attorneys might help injured riders recover damages from public entities for failing to correct known roadway defects. Some motorcycle crashes also result from negligent public contractors and unsecured construction debris. In such cases, attorneys must generally notify public authorities of their potential liability within a few months. Failing to follow these administrative proceedings generally blocks motorcycle accident litigation against state or municipal entities.
6. Know Common Acts of Driver Negligence
Motorcyclists have the same rights as other drivers, but passenger vehicle operators often drive aggressively around riders.
The following traffic violations often lead to life-threatening motorcycle accidents:
- Illegal left turns – These accidents frequently result in T-bone collisions causing motorcyclists fatalities. Unlawful left-turn accidents often occur when the motorcyclist travels straight and, not looking for this smaller vehicle, the driver makes a left turn over the rider’s travel lane. This sudden turn often causes motorcyclists to impact cars at high-speed.
- Drunk driving – Alcohol and drug use contribute to multiple motorcycle accident fatalities each year. Avoid intoxicated drivers, even if it means pulling over or changing roadways.
- Failure to yield – Car and truck drivers may mistakenly believe they always have the right of way against motorcyclists. Protecting yourself from life-threatening injuries may mean granting drivers the right of way or anticipating drivers will disobey stop signs.
- Speeding – Obeying speed limits reduces the likelihood and probability of serious motorcycle crashes. Avoid reckless drivers, especially those speeding and rapidly changing lanes. Speeding reduces drivers’ peripheral vision and, in turn, their ability to see smaller riders in the opposite lanes.
- Unsafe merging – Drivers seldom consider potential riders when changing lanes, which often means they’re not looking for motorcycles in their blind spots. Motorcyclists can avoid many life-threatening accidents by giving drivers additional room to change lanes on high-speed roadways.
- Tailgating – While motorcyclists can seldom avoid rear-end collisions, they should consider changing lanes when being unlawfully tailgated. Consider moving over or increasing the distance between yourself and rear vehicles if you notice drivers texting or traveling too closely to your motorcycle.
Traffic accidents claim thousands of riders’ lives each year when drivers refuse to share the road safely. Surviving motorcycle accidents often involves anticipating and avoiding driver negligence, even if it means refusing to assert your rights. You might speak with police and local attorneys about recovering compensation for injuries sustained while avoiding dangerous drivers.
7. Obtain Emergency Medical Care after a Crash
Many motorcyclists experience adrenaline rushes immediately after crashes. This rush may mask pain. Most motorcycle traffic accidents result in potentially serious injuries. If you hit your head, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention. Even mild concussions may cause dangerous brain swelling and fatal secondary syndromes. Likewise, chest contusions could eventually result in breathing difficulties as the area swells and vessels burst.
Emergency medical professionals know what to check for immediately following motorcycle accidents. Catching brain bleeds and other damage quickly can save lives and prevent more serious injuries. Attorneys might help clients demand reimbursement for out-of-network ambulance costs, emergency room expenses, and medications after motorcycle crashes. Many auto insurance companies will even reimburse hospitals directly. Surviving serious crashes means seeking quality medical care and letting your lawyer worry about demanding reimbursement.
8. Continue Treating for Serious Injuries
Sudden accidents often mean unexpected medical bills coupled with lost income. For riders, it can even mean irreparable motorcycle damage and additional transportation expenses. The repetitive co-pays, deductibles, and medical costs associated with serious injuries often discourage claimants from seeking quality and continuing medical care. They may reduce rehabilitation appointments or stop paying for necessary medication due to high out-of-pocket costs. It’s important to continue treating your injuries to avoid secondary conditions, complications, and worsening injuries.
Motorcycle crash lawyers can often help claimants obtain financial compensation for medical treatment and related expenses, including but not limited to:
- Ambulance, hospital, and urgent care expenses
- Physician, nursing, and rehabilitation bills
- Medical equipment and medications
- Medical transportation expenses
- Nursing care
- Household safety modifications, such as shower bars or cameras
- Pain management medications and therapy
- Mental health counseling
- Lab and radiology expenses
- Dental and cosmetic restoration
Many motorcycle injury attorneys also help claimants obtain medical benefits and demand injury reimbursement from insurers to cover clients’ initial healthcare costs. Do not let insurance denials and treatment expenses deter you from seeking necessary medical care. Lawyers might help you recover these expenses and more following crashes.
9. Obtain Necessary Household Help
Injured motorcyclists suffering from spinal cord, chest, and head trauma often struggle with daily activities. They may need assistance cooking, cleaning, showering, dressing, and even using the restroom. Many accident survivors overexert themselves to avoid burdening family members, but this overexertion can cause preventable secondary trauma. Falls and related head injuries might occur during the injury recovery period.
Attorneys may demand compensation from negligent drivers for household help, including cleaning and meal delivery services. Seriously injured motorcyclists might also request reimbursement for home nursing and companionship care. These services often prevent potentially fatal secondary trauma and offer relief to injured riders and their families.
10. Speak With a Local Motorcycle Accident Lawyer About Your Financial Needs
Severely injured claimants frequently develop depression and related mental health conditions following motorcycle crashes. Physical pain, job loss, and mounting medical expenses contribute to accident-related depression and financial anxiety. Surviving motorcycle crashes often means addressing common mental health concerns by asking for professional guidance.
Motorcycle accident lawyers may help injured claimants recover compensation for their physical pain, mental suffering, lost enjoyments, missed career opportunities, lost wages, and daily frustrations after motorcycle accidents. By working with professional attorneys to settle crash claims, injured riders might obtain financial relief and focus on their recoveries. There are generally no out-of-pocket costs associated with contacting a motorcycle crash attorney near you.