What’s It Like to Survive a Bad Motorcycle Accident?

A motorcycle accident is often life-changing.
Man on a motorcycle on a highway by himself under a blue sky with clouds

Motorcycle enthusiasts love the feeling of freedom that comes with riding a motorcycle, not to mention great fuel economy, the camaraderie within the motorcycle community, and the connection with the open road.

Riding a motorcycle brings millions of people joy. But there are risks, which every motorcycle rider knows. A motorcycle rider just doesn’t have the same level of protection during a motorcycle accident that a person has when riding in a car, van, truck, or other larger vehicle. A motorcyclist has no seat belt, nothing to prevent them from being thrown, and no roll cage or walls to absorb the impact of a crash.

Even those motorcycle riders who are lucky enough to survive a motorcycle/car crash often have a very difficult road to recovery. There can be severe physical and emotional trauma in the wake of a crash. Some people’s lives are never the same again.

If you have survived an accident, you are very fortunate. You’ll want to find the best motorcycle accident lawyer you can who can help you recover compensation for pain and suffering, medical bills, bodily injuries, lost wages, and other damages. 

Laws vary by state so please speak to a trusted attorney in your state (or the state where the accident occurred) for the most accurate information.

What kinds of serious injuries are most common in motorcycle crashes?

If you were to experience a crash while riding a motorcycle, some injuries are more common than others.

  • Abrasions, scrapes, and cuts (sometimes severe)
  • Broken bones
  • Crush injuries
  • Head injuries (especially for riders who were not wearing a helmet)
  • Spinal injuries (sometimes resulting in paralysis)
  • Internal organ damage

 

How might life change after a catastrophic motorcycle injury?

Life after a serious motorcycle accident can change dramatically. Some people have traumatic brain injuries, paralysis, crushed limbs, and other significant injuries. If the injuries only involve broken bones, life may eventually return to normal. But if the injuries involve long-term problems, every area of life can be impacted:

  • Ability to work
  • Mobility
  • Personal freedom
  • Health insurance coverage (through work) may be lost
  • Financial security
  • Relationship stability
  • Ability to care for children
  • Ability to do chores and tasks around the house
  • Hobbies/recreation

If a motorcyclist is left with significant injuries, there may be multiple surgeries to try to rebuild crushed or broken bones. The victim may suffer from chronic pain or headaches. It may take a long time to regain some strength and mobility, or some functions may never completely heal.

People who survive a terrible accident may also have Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) where they have flashbacks, nightmares, and anxiety due to the emotional strain of their experience. And people who sustain significant injuries may also battle with depression as they come to grips with all they have lost and how different life will be going forward.

What should you do if you have been in a motorcycle wreck? 

The most important thing is to get yourself out of the road, if possible, and call 911. Don’t try to remove your helmet or gear, in case you have a neck or spine injury. Wait for the paramedics to help you. 

At the scene

  1. If possible, try to get any information you can from the other driver about insurance and the names of people involved.
  2. Try to take pictures of the scene, if you can. But be sure not to further injure yourself. Your health and safety, and that of other people, is the priority!
  3. Don’t leave the scene of the accident before the police arrive.
  4. Get the contact information for other drivers involved.
  5. Get information on the other vehicles involved.
    • License plate numbers
    • Make and model of vehicles
    • VIN numbers of any vehicles involved (vehicle identification numbers)
  6. Get the names, phone numbers, and email addresses of witnesses.
  7. Don’t admit fault.
  8. Get the police report number and name and badge number of the police officer.
  9. Go to the hospital to get the medical care you need for your injuries right away even if you don’t think you are injured at first. Some internal injuries aren’t immediately obvious.

Later

  1. Let your motorcycle insurance company know about the accident.
  2. Contact a motorcycle accident attorney.
  3. Speak with a social worker at the hospital about possible benefits you may be eligible for.
  4. Speak with your trusted attorney before speaking to the other driver’s auto insurance company. Don’t admit fault or sign anything, especially if there are severe injuries or damages.
  5. Document all of your medical debt, expenses, and records. Keep your receipts and explanation of benefit forms if you submit claims to your insurance company. (Some people prefer to set aside a certain credit card or checking account just for these bills to make it easier to track.)
  6. Get a copy of the police report about the accident, including any information about dangerous conditions at the time of the wreck.
  7. Take your motorcycle to a mechanic to get an estimate of what it will cost to repair your bike.
  8. Let your attorney guide you through the process.

 

Motorcycle crash statistics

Here are some statistics to keep in mind.

 

2018 statistics from the Motorcycle Industry Council show that

  • Motorcycle ownership was at a record high in the USA to 13,158,100.
  • 12,231,000 motorcycles were in use.
  • 8.02% of all households in America own a motorcycle.

 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports

  • 4985 motorcyclists were killed in 2018.
  • Motorcyclists are about 28 times more likely to die as people who are in a car during a motor vehicle accident in 2018.
  • 28% of motorcycle riders who were killed in 2017 were drunk.
  • 29% of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes in 2017 were riding without valid motorcycle licenses.
  • In 2018 there were 36,560 total highway fatalities in the US.

 

From the Insurance Information Institute 2/20/20

  • Motorcyclists are 5 times more likely to be injured in a car accident than passenger car occupants.
  • Motorcyclists are 29 times more likely to die than passenger car occupants.
  • Alcohol is a major factor in motorcycle crashes.
  • Speeding is a major factor in fatal crashes.

Ways to prevent motorcycle accidents from the NHTSA

  • Drivers and motorcyclists must share the road
  • Be alert
  • Motorcyclists should make themselves visible
  • Motorcyclists should use DOT-compliant motorcycle helmets
  • Everyone should drive sober

 

Don’t try to handle a serious accident alone. 

You deserve compassionate help if you have suffered significant injuries due to a motorcycle accident.

We are personal injury lawyers in the Columbia, SC area. At Burriss and Ridgeway, we are happy to provide you with a free consultation to see if we might be able to help you with any type of personal injury case or a wrongful death case.

Contact Us Today.

Let’s see if we can help you recover your medical expenses and other damages from your accident.

We have offices in Lexington, Orangeburg, and Columbia, SC. Virtual appointments may be available, as well. Please ask when you schedule your consultation.

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