It is no secret that motorcycles aren’t as protective as the average car. In the event of an accident, there are no doors, airbags, or roofs to shield riders. Fatality rates for motorcycle accidents are 28 times higher than the death rates of other accidents. The stakes are also higher for motorcycle accident survivors when it comes to injuries.
What are Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?
All too often, drivers who are turning left at intersections don’t notice oncoming motorcycles. Sometimes the motorcyclist is driving between two cars in the lane that has the right of way. Drivers who are waiting to turn mistakenly think there is a break in traffic between the two cars, and the motorcyclist suffers because of the driver’s oversight.
Motorcycles are a fraction of the size of most vehicles. Drivers who don’t carefully check their blind spots put motorcyclists in harm’s way. The larger a vehicle is, the bigger the blind spot. That makes sharing the road with minivans, SUVs, and commercial trucks especially hazardous.
Driving Under the Influence
Operating a motorcycle is a balancing act. A driving error that is minor on four wheels can throw a motorcyclist way off course. These mistakes are more likely to happen when a rider is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A blood alcohol level of .08%, the legal limit in Florida, impacts judgment, balance, coordination, and other abilities that are critical when controlling a vehicle. Many drunk drivers go way beyond that limit, and the consequences are severe. A staggering 43% of fatal motorcycles accidents involve alcohol.
Sunny Florida is the ideal place for motorcycle owners to live. However, St. Petersburg drivers do find themselves in less than perfect weather from time to time. When it’s pouring, drivers cannot see as clearly. Motorcycles, which are already easy to miss, become even less visible to them. Rain doesn’t have to be heavy to put motorcyclists in danger. Roads are particularly dangerous within the first 10 minutes of light rain. That’s because rainwater brings motor oil to the surface, making roads slippery.
Some motorcycle drivers ride between cars in different lanes in an effort to make it through traffic more quickly. Lane splitting isn’t just illegal in Florida. It’s incredibly risky. When drivers aren’t expecting the motorcycles to be there, they don’t adjust for them when they change lanes, accelerate, and come to a stop.
Most Common Injuries from Motorcycle Accidents
Traumatic Brain Injury
Most Florida motorcyclists aren’t required to wear a helmet. Those who do significantly reduce their risk of head injury, but there are no guarantees that a TBI won’t develop. Your head doesn’t have to make contact with the pavement or another object for a head injury to happen. TBIs can develop when your head is thrashed around during a motorcycle accident. There is a host of cognitive, emotional, and physical issues that arise from a TBI. Memory loss, comprehension problems, nerve damage, and mood swings are among the many side effects that can change your personal and professional life for the worse.
Spinal Cord Injury
The worst spinal cord injuries lead to paralysis from the waist downward or from the neck downward. Both partial paralysis and full paralysis significantly change an accident victim’s lifestyle. Working and living independently may become impossible.
Lower-extremity injuries to the legs, feet, and knees aren’t likely to be fatal. However, they are often extremely painful. They also greatly limit mobility. If you have a physical job, a lower-extremity injury can lead to significant lost wages. These injuries are also costly. They often require ongoing treatment like rehabilitation and pain management.
Fractures and Breaks
Every bone in the body is vulnerable during a motorcycle accident. Skull fractures, broken legs, and broken arms are exceedingly common. Fractures and breaks take weeks or months to reach maximum recovery, and chronic pain can continue for a lifetime.
Motorcycle riders are more likely to hit the pavement than other drivers on the road. The pavement can scrape through multiple layers of the skin, similar to the way a burn happens. Road rash can reach as far as the bone. Especially severe cases can make an amputation necessary. Even relatively mild cases have the potential to cause serious illness if wounds become infected.
Many internal injuries aren’t immediately obvious. Loose or displaced broken bones within your body can puncture organs or damage nerves. If your body sustains blunt trauma during a motorcycle accident, it can cause your organs or blood vessels to leak. This blood loss can quickly lead to permanent damage or death.
What to Do After You’re Injured in a Motorcycle Accident
For your safety, move out of the way of oncoming traffic. When you’re in a safe spot, check for injuries and call 911. An operator can send medical help to the scene if needed. Also, reporting a motorcycle accident required in the case of death, injury, or damages totaling $500 or more. The police record will come in handy later when you need proof that the other driver was at-fault. Allow the officer to record the facts, but never admit fault yourself. A police officer can help with the exchange of information including insurance details and contact information.
Photos are another important form of proof. Take pictures of your injuries, damage to the vehicles, and the road conditions. These pictures can show how serious the motorcycle accident was, and that can ultimately help to increase your accident claim’s value.
Start receiving medical care as soon as possible. Keep a record of any care you receive and receipts for any other costs you’ve incurred due to your motorcycle accident injuries.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, call Jones Law Group. Our motorcycle accident attorneys have extensively investigated countless motorcycle accidents. We manage each case thoroughly and negotiate with insurance companies aggressively so that our clients walk away with the most compensation possible. Our initial consultations are always free. Call us at 727-571-1333 or contact us online.