Due to the limited protections offered by motorcycles, in the event of a crash, the rider may be susceptible to numerous injuries. These may include catastrophic injuries, named for their long-term implications and often irreversible impacts. From spinal cord injuries and severe burns to traumatic brain injuries, here are the catastrophic injuries all riders should be aware of.
Spinal Cord Injuries
One of the most common catastrophic injuries suffered in motorcycle accidents is a spinal cord injury. These occur when there is damage to the vertebrae, ligaments, or disks of the spine, resulting in partial or complete paralysis. Incomplete paralysis means that some function and sensation may be retained below the level of the injury, while complete paralysis results in the loss of all function and sensation below the point of injury. The higher up on the spine the injury occurs, the more widespread the paralysis will be.
Some common symptoms associated with spinal cord injuries include:
- Intense back pain or pressure in the neck, head, or back
- Loss of sensation or feeling in extremities
- Loss of control over bowel or bladder function
- Difficulty breathing
- Paralysis of the extremities (partial or complete)
In some cases, a spinal cord injury may also lead to an inability to regulate blood pressure, body temperature, or heart rate. If you suspect you or someone you know has suffered a spinal cord injury in a motorcycle accident, it is important to seek medical attention immediately as these injuries can worsen quickly.
Severe burns are another common catastrophic injury associated with motorcycle accidents. Motorcycle riders are particularly susceptible to suffering burns in a crash due to the exposure of skin and the fact that motorcycles do not offer much protection from the heat and flames of an explosion or fire.
According to the American Burn Association, there are approximately 486,000 burn injuries requiring medical treatment in the United States each year. Burns can range in severity from first-degree (redness and pain) to third-degree (extensive damage to layers of skin). Severe or third-degree burns can be particularly devastating, often requiring extensive medical treatment and leading to permanent scarring or disfigurement.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
The third type of catastrophic injury that can occur as a result of a motorcycle accident is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBIs occur when the head suffers a blow or jolt, causing the brain to collide with the skull and sustain damage. This damage can range from mild (concussion) to severe (coma or even death). Some common symptoms associated with TBIs include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Fatigue or drowsiness
- Problems with memory or concentration
- Mood swings or changes in mood or personality
If you suspect you or someone you know has suffered a TBI in a motorcycle accident, it is important to seek medical attention immediately as these injuries can worsen quickly and may be life-threatening.
Other Catastrophic Injuries
While spinal cord injuries, burns, and TBIs are some of the most common catastrophic injuries associated with motorcycle accidents, they are by no means the only ones. Other potential catastrophic injuries that can occur as a result of a motorcycle crash include:
- Amputations: The loss of a limb as a result of a motorcycle accident is not uncommon. In some cases, the limb may be partially or completely severed in the accident. In other cases, the limb may need to be amputated later as a result of injuries sustained in the accident.
- Organ damage: Motorcycle accidents can also lead to internal organ damage. This can range from minor bruising or bleeding to more severe injuries, like ruptured organs or internal bleeding.
- Facial disfigurement: Because the face is often exposed during a motorcycle ride, facial disfigurement is another common injury associated with motorcycle accidents. This can range from minor cuts and bruises to more serious injuries, like broken bones or lost teeth.
St. Augustine Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
When your motorcycle injury results in long-term issues, you deserve an attorney who will fight for the compensation needed to accommodate for these complications. Canan Law has been helping injury victims throughout Florida for over 30 years. Schedule your free consultation today by calling (904) 849-2266.