You might assume that, as long as you wear a helmet, boots, and a leather jacket, and as long as you obey the rules of the road, you will not suffer serious injuries in a motorcycle accident because of all of the gear you had on to protect you. Anyone who has ever worked in a hospital emergency room can tell you otherwise. Even if you are not traveling very fast at the time of the accident, the motorcycle offers you little protection against much larger vehicles. If you get away from a motorcycle accident with just a few bruises and some soreness, consider yourself one of the lucky ones. Many motorcycle accidents result in serious injuries, some of which are permanent. If you have suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle accident, contact the motorcycle accident lawyers at Foster Wallace.
“Road rash” is not an official medical diagnosis. Instead, it is a general term for the external injuries you sustain when falling off of a motorcycle and rolling or skidding along the ground, as well as complications that arise from them. In mild cases, road rash is limited to bruises, scrapes, and superficial cuts, which will heal well if they are properly cleaned and bandaged, and will not need much treatment beyond topical antibiotics to prevent infection and short-term use of over-the-counter pain relievers. In more severe cases, though, you might get cuts severe enough to need stitches, and the injuries could leave scars. It could even cause muscle damage or nerve damage that could lead to long-term pain. Another possible complication of road rash is infections from cuts; for this reason, you may be given antibiotics in the hospital if you go to the emergency room after a motorcycle accident. Even if you are not admitted to the hospital, the doctor might write you a prescription for antibiotics to take at home. If your external injuries appear to heal quickly, you should still take the complete course of antibiotics.
Bone fractures are another likely consequence of a motorcycle accident. If you suffered a broken bone in a fall as a child, it was most likely an arm or leg bone, and these types of fractures are also possible in a motorcycle accident. A motorcycle crash involves your whole body, so there is a risk of breaking other bones such as the ribs, vertebrae, or pelvis. Some bone fractures heal simply by placing the affected body part in a cast for several weeks so that the bone can heal on its own. More severe fractures require surgery.
Head trauma is a general term for all head injuries resulting from a fall or crash. In the milder cases of head trauma, you might just get a concussion. Of course, while a concussion is not the worst-case scenario, the recovery from it can be long and painful. People recovering from concussions often suffer from headaches and depression, and there is little you can do to make the recovery go faster except to be patient and stay positive. If you have a history of concussions, from maybe a previous motorcycle accident or from playing sports when you were younger, there is a risk that your concussion symptoms will be worse this time, even if the impact the caused the injury was less than the impact that caused the original concussion.
Of course, concussions are not the worst thing that can happen to you if you injure your head in a motorcycle crash. You might suffer facial injuries that require reconstructive surgery. You might even suffer skull fractures or traumatic brain injury. Traumatic brain injuries can lead to serious neurological consequences such as impaired memory and personality changes. Wearing a helmet when you ride a motorcycle greatly reduces your risk of a concussion, a traumatic brain injury, or other head injuries, but it does not completely eliminate the risk.
Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord connects the brain to all the nerves in the body; it extends from the top of the neck to the lower back. The vertebrae (the bones of the spine) protect the spinal cord. Fractured vertebrae and spinal cord injuries are not the same injury, but they often occur together. Spinal cord injuries can cause back pain, as well a pain, numbness, and tingling in the legs. In the most severe cases they can even cause paralysis or loss of bladder control. Prompt treatment with steroids to reduce swelling can reduce the damage resulting from a spinal cord injury. (Likewise, steroids given promptly after a severe head injury can reduce brain swelling and make the effects of head trauma less severe.)
Treatments for spinal cord injuries are much more effective than they were a few decades ago. Despite this, spinal cord injuries can cause life-long complications.
Internal bleeding results from damage to internal organs. It can be difficult to diagnose because the bleeding wound is not visible from the outside of the body, and you cannot see it on an X-ray. Despite this, if someone has internal bleeding, then blood is quickly leaving their circulatory system. It can lead to death if untreated. In fact, some medical malpractice lawsuits after traffic accidents have arisen from the fact that doctor’s failed to diagnose the patient’s internal bleeding because the patient’s external injuries seemed minor.
What to Do if You are Injured in a Motorcycle Accident
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, you should go to the emergency room for a thorough examination, even if you think that your injuries are minor. Some serious injuries begin to show symptoms a few hours or a few days after the accident, but the window of opportunity to treat them successfully is narrow. Do not worry about the medical bills; a motorcycle accident lawyer will help you get them paid.
Have You Been Injured in a Kansas City Motorcycle Accident?
If you've been injured in a Kansas City motorcycle accident you should speak with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.249.2101 to schedule your free consultation.