As we enter the autumnal season, many of us choose this time to travel the scenic roads of our beautiful state. Within our Tri-City area, there are gorgeous wineries to visit and stunning views in the nature preserves. It is hard to resist going out on a motorcycle, especially when the autumn air turns cool and fragrant. However, while this time of year seems like the beginning of a time of serenity, motorcyclists need to be careful while driving along the curvy country roads and fast-paced and crowded highways of tourists looking for some fall colors.
A motorcycle accident can often be more dangerous than a car accident, as motorcyclists are more vulnerable to the environment around them, with less protecting them from the harsh pavement or the hard, unrelenting metal of their own vehicles and the other vehicle in the accident. It is critical that if you intend to be out on the road on your motorcycle that you take every safety precaution that you can.
Are motorcycles really that dangerous?
While there are more sedans and trucks on the road than motorcycles (motorcycles only making up 3% of drivers on the roads in our state), according to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, motorcycles “accounted for 15% of all fatalities and 19% of serious injuries in collisions between 2013 and 2017. About 1 in 5 motorcycle collisions result in serious injury or death and on average 75 riders die every year in collisions on Washington roads.”
As per the Insurance Information Institute, in 2020, there were 5,579 motorcycle fatalities, the highest number of motorcycle fatalities since 2011 when there were 4,630 fatalities. That’s over an 18% increase in fatalities in under a decade. On top of that, there were a total of 83,000 injuries caused by motorcycle accidents reported in 2020.
What catastrophic injuries do motorcycle accidents cause?
Riders face serious injuries in the event of a collision or wreck, because of the smaller size of the vehicle. Riders can easily be crushed by the larger vehicles because there is less protection provided by the bike (no hood, roof, airbags), and a severely increased likelihood that a motorcyclist will be thrown from their vehicle in the event of a crash, causing further damage to the driver.
Other catastrophic injuries can include:
- Burns. Burn injuries can cause severe and lasting damage, and can even be fatal. Obviously when you are driving a combustion engine vehicle, there is the possibility of fire and explosions during an accident. Severe burns can penetrate through skin, fatty layers, nerves, muscles, and tendons, eventually burning all tissue until the bone is exposed. Burns can be agonizingly painful, and they take a long time to heal. The skin is your first line of defense against infections, so , you become extremely susceptible to dangerous and deadly infections. If you survive and heal from the burn injury, you can be left with disfiguring scars, numbness from nerve damage, and stiffness or pain in some of the areas where you were burned.
- Traumatic amputation. When you are in an accident, and an injury is so severe that it severs your limb from your body at the site of the crash, or if the damage is too severe to be able to save the limb, this is called a traumatic amputation. This sort of injury affects every aspect of your life including enjoyment of everyday activities, the ability to do the things you used to love to do, and being able to continue working your job. Not only will you lose the ability to do certain things, but complications from amputations are common, including phantom pain and infections. You will also likely have to factor in the cost of a prosthesis or a mobility aid device such as a wheelchair.
- Traumatic brain injuries. Common in motorcycle accidents (especially when the operator of the vehicle is not wearing a helmet), traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) occur when your head hits, or is hit by, an object at speed or force. When this happens, it causes your brain to violently hit and bounce against the inside of your skull, causing internal bleeding (intracranial hemorrhaging), swelling, bruising, and abrasions. TBIs can lead to brain damage long lasting conditions such as difficulties thinking, moving, speaking, and even emotional or psychological changes. It goes without saying that TBIs can be fatal. The Washington Traffic Safety Commission reports that head injuries are the leading cause of death in the US for motorcycle accidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “motorcycle helmets are 37 percent (for riders) and 41 percent (for passengers) effective in preventing deaths,” and that “helmets reduce the risk of head injury by 69%.”
- Spinal cord damage and paralysis. Your spinal cord is the main highway for your nervous system, and any command from your brain must travel your spinal cord first before you can walk or move your body at all. When your spine is damaged, other parts of your body are affected as well. In a complete spinal cord injury (SCI), function and feeling is lost to your body under the site of the injury. An incomplete SCI leaves the victim with some amount of function and feeling. An SCI could leave you fully paralyzed with complete SCI, or partially with an incomplete SCI.
All of the injuries can lead to fatalities, and in the worst case scenario, you may lose a loved one to a motorcycle accident. Even if you or your loved one survives, you will have to endure pain and suffering, hospital bills, the loss of income if you cannot work, and the future medical costs that you will likely have to pay for to continue to treat any complications or conditions that develop from your injury. That is why it is so important that you reach out to a Kennewick motorcycle accident lawyer. They can ensure that if your accident was caused by someone else’s negligence, you do not have to pay more than you already must.
Riding a motorcycle is supposed to be fun and invigorating; an exciting way to travel near and far. However, if you choose to travel in this fashion, it is important that you wear the appropriate safety equipment such as thick clothing and a helmet, and that you drive cautiously. It only takes a sharp turn or one distracted driver to be severely injured. Your whole life could be changed forever because of the actions of a driver nearby. When this happens, you need to seek out the advice of a knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer.
At Telaré Law, we will fight for you. Having us on your side can add value to any claim you make, because we have a reputation for being fierce litigators. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 509-737-8500 or use our contact page. If we don’t win, you don’t pay. Our offices are located in Kennewick and Richland, and we proudly serve the communities of Pasco, Walla Walla, the Tri-Cities, and all of Southeast Washington.