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Motorcycle Accident Injuries

Motorcycle Accidents Can Cause Serious Injuries

Motorcycle accidents take a tremendous toll on motorcyclists and their families. Although most motorcycle drivers and passengers exercise safety precautions, motorcycle accidents still occur, often due to negligence of another motorist. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2012, “4,957 motorcyclists were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes—an increase of 7 percent from the 4,630 motorcyclists killed in 2011.” Additionally, 93,000 motorcycle accident-related injuries occurred in 2012, up 15 percent over the previous year. The NTSB reports that motorcyclists are “more than 26 times likely than passenger car occupants to die in motor vehicle traffic crashes and 5 times more likely to be injured.”

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Other Motorists Usually To Blame In Motorcycle Accidents

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute reported that in 2013, “44 percent of two-vehicle fatal motorcycle crashes involved a vehicle turning left while the motorcycle was going straight, passing or overtaking the vehicle.”

Other research echoes the fact that other motorists bear the majority of responsibility in crashes involving motorcycles. The Florida SunSentinel reported on a Florida Department of Transportation study indicating, “Motorists driving cars and trucks are mostly at fault, often failing to yield the right of way…” The report cites findings of Senior Researcher Chanyoung Lee of University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research, who says motorists in other vehicles are at fault 60 percent of the time.

While researchers state that motorcyclists are not completely off the hook, especially in accidents involving only the motorcycle, “In severe and fatal motorcycle crashes involving multiple vehicles, greater blame falls on four-wheeled drivers.”

Injuries And Long-term Effects Of Motorcycle Accidents

While many motorcyclists sustain scrapes and laceration injuries, sometimes called “road rash,” research demonstrates that some motorcycle riders have a greater risk of severe injury or death.

In a study reported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), researchers discovered that among 1252 motorcycle crash patients, the most common orthopedic injuries involved the tibia/fibula, spine and forearm. The most common non-orthopedic injuries included concussions, facial fractures, hemo- and pneumothorax injuries and skull fractures. Researchers in this and another NIH study concluded that older motorcycle crash victims are more likely to suffer severe head or chest injuries and death.

Even when a person heals from the physical injuries, significant psychological effects can linger. The American Family Physician reported on research demonstrating that when motorcyclists are injured, “Many of these persons develop post-traumatic stress symptoms that can become chronic.” Evaluation and treatment by a qualified professional can help a motorcycle accident victim deal with PTSD. Family members of motorcyclists killed may need treatment for emotional pain and suffering over losing their loved one.

Other Causes Of Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcyclists sometimes contribute to motorcycle accidents themselves, due to speeding, alcohol use or not wearing a helmet. According to the NHTSA, 62 percent of motorcyclists killed in 2012 were not wearing helmets in states with no universal helmet law, compared to only 9 percent of motorcyclists killed in states with universal helmet laws. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that in 2010, “Helmets saved over 1,500 riders’ lives, but about 700 more lives could have been saved if all riders had worn helmets.”

Consulting an attorney focused on motorcycle accidents can potentially help individuals and their families obtain compensation if an at-fault party causes injury or death to a motorcyclist.

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