What are the most common types of motorcycle accident injuries? Many people ride motorcycles year-round, especially in the southern part of the state, since the weather is nice most of the year. That means those driving passenger vehicles must also watch for motorcycles in the fall and winter months. However, that doesn’t always happen, and you end up with a motorcycle wreck. In some cases, the motorcycle rider is careless and suffers injuries. Because motorcycles don’t offer much protection, and a vehicle is much heavier than a motorcycle, riders often suffer catastrophic injuries or death. For more information, reach out to an Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyer.
Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Since most motorcycles have only two wheels, they are more apt to lose control in what would normally be a minor accident between two cars. Some of these factors apply to the motorcyclist and the car driver.
Causes of motorcycle accidents often include:
- Driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, legal and illegal prescription drugs, and other illicit substances.
- Driving while tired or fatigued.
- Reckless driving.
- Aggressive driving.
- Speeding and excessive speeding.
- Driving while distracted.
- Poor vehicle maintenance.
- The weather.
- Poor road maintenance.
Even sunny weather could cause an accident—the driver might not see a motorcycle because of the sun in their eyes.
Motorcycle Accident Injuries
A motorcyclist might recover compensation from the driver of a car or truck; a company, a town, city, county, or state; or even a driver who didn’t make physical contact with the motorcycle. In most cases, the defendant is the driver. However, in some cases, the driver’s employer might share liability for your injuries. And in some cases, another vehicle might hit the vehicle that hit your motorcycle.
Whether both drivers share liability for your injuries depends on the circumstances of the accident.
Accident injuries could range from minor bumps and bruises to death. Several factors play a part in determining the severity of your injuries, including the weight and size of the vehicle that hit you, vehicle speed, and how the other vehicle hit you, whether head-on, from the rear, t-bone, or a sideswipe.
Motorcycle accident injuries might include:
- Bumps, bruises, scratches, cuts, and scrapes.
- Strains and sprains.
- Pulled and torn muscles and other soft tissue injuries.
- Simple and compound fractures.
- Crushed bones and other crush injuries.
- Chemical and thermal burns.
- Road rash.
- Internal injuries.
- Face and eye injuries.
- Head, neck, and shoulder injuries.
- Traumatic brain injuries.
- Spinal cord injuries.
- Amputation of a digit or limb.
- Ear injuries, including deafness, especially if the crash results in an explosion.
- Psychological issues, such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The at-fault driver, person, or entity is also responsible for covering secondary injuries, such as infections from open wounds, whether the wound is from the accident or surgery to repair an accident injury.
The at-fault person or entity is also responsible for covering the portion of pre-existing injuries or illnesses made worse due to accident injuries. After all, you would not have the extra pain and suffering if not for the defendant’s actions or inactions.
Recovering Damages After a Motorcycle Accident
You can recover three types of damages after a motorcycle accident, depending on the severity of the injuries and whether the defendant was negligent, grossly negligent, or their actions were intentional.
Sometimes referred to as special damages, economic damages have a monetary value. Most accident victims can recover economic damages in the form of:
After a motorcycle accident, you will most likely have at least some medical expenses, including:
- Doctors’ appointments, surgeries, and follow-up appointments.
- Psychological therapy.
- Occupational therapy.
- Cognitive therapy.
- Physical therapy.
- Prescriptions and prescribed over-the-counter medications and medical equipment.
- Ambulatory aids.
- Hand controls, wheelchair ramps, and other vehicle updates for accessibility.
- Wheelchair ramps, handrails, grab bars, and widened doorways to make your home accessible.
- Part-time, full-time, temporary, or permanent rehabilitative facility or nursing home expenses.
- Home health care.
Accident victims who are out of work because of accident injuries could also recover lost earnings. Those with long-term or permanent disabilities caused by accident injuries may also recover compensation for loss of future earning income from the time of the accident through the time they would normally retire.
You can recover compensation to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property, including your motorcycle. You could also recover compensation to replace damaged items on your person during the accident, such as a cell phone.
If you lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, you could recover death-related expenses, including:
- Burial expenses.
- Funeral expenses.
- Cremation expenses.
- Certain probate court expenses.
- Probate attorneys’ fees and costs.
Sometimes referred to as general damages, non-economic damages do not have a monetary value. Also, not everyone can recover non-economic damages. In most cases, you must have lost a loved one or suffered injuries that caused long-term or permanent disabilities. While every insurance company has its own definition of long-term or permanent, the Social Security Administration considers long-term or permanent as eventually resulting in death or lasting more than 12 months.
Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering, including emotional distress.
- Loss of quality of life if you have to make life-long changes, such as taking prescriptions or using ambulatory aids.
- Loss of consortium if you can no longer enjoy a physical relationship with your spouse.
- Loss of companionship if you can no longer participate in or enjoy family activities and events.
- Loss of use of a body part, such as a hand or foot.
- Loss of use of a bodily function, such as your eyesight, hearing, or bladder.
- Amputation of a digit or limb.
- Excessive scarring or disfigurement.
Some accident victims might recover punitive damages. However, you must prove the defendant’s actions or inactions grossly negligent or intentional. The court orders punitive damages as a punishment for the defendant’s behavior and to act as a deterrent.
If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, contact an Atlanta personal injury lawyer near you for your free case evaluation.