In California, operating a motorcycle offers some unique advantages. As the only state that permits lane splitting, many people find the ability to pass stopped traffic appealing, and the maneuverability and small size of a motorcycle help this vehicle fit into the busy cities that are so common in the state.
However, because motorcycles lack the protective caging that surrounds the driver in a car or truck, even minor accidents can result in severe injuries. California motorcycle accident lawyers see a wide range of damage and physical injury in the clients they help, but you can seek to recover compensation to cover the cost of treatment regardless of the severity.
Discover the most common motorcycle accident injuries in California and how to protect yourself on the road.
Most Common Motorcycle Injuries in California
Motorcycle accidents often result in multiple injuries concurrently. The manner of collision will determine which parts of the body are primarily affected; however, in general, the most common injuries that motorcyclists experience in California include:
While many people assume that road rash is merely a painful scrape, it can be much more severe. A combination of friction and heat buildup occurs as the body moves across the pavement, shearing away the skin.
Not only can this cause large wounds that are difficult to treat, but it can even result in blood infections or permanent nerve damage if the injury has penetrated deep enough. Protection from road rash is best achieved by wearing safety gear, including thick clothing, gloves, and a helmet. Road rash commonly leaves substantial scarring.
Helmets are critical for safety when operating a motorcycle, but even helmeted riders can hit the ground hard enough to fracture their facial bones. The areas surrounding the eyes and cheeks are most commonly affected, which can pose secondary risks to the eyes and oral cavity.
Riders may lose teeth or experience swelling of the eyes that requires immediate medical attention to preserve future function. The best measure of prevention against facial fractures is using a helmet that has been approved for on-road use by the Department of Transportation.
Head and Neck Damage
Head and neck damage often goes hand in hand with facial injuries in a motorcycle accident. Approximately 22% of all motorcycle injuries involve the head or neck, and those who are not wearing helmets are notably more susceptible to severe injuries of the upper body.
The greatest risks of injury to this area include traumatic brain injury and brain bleeds, which can permanently impact a person’s cognition or even leave them in a vegetative state. Similarly, damage to the neck may result in quadriplegia or difficulty with mobility following the accident.
Lower Extremity Fractures
While many other types of injuries are common, the single most frequent is damage to the lower extremities—likely because these areas are often the first to hit the ground, bearing the brunt of the force in an accident.
The tibia, which is the most superficial bone in the lower leg, is at the greatest risk of fracture during a motorcycle accident, followed by the fibula and the femur. While preventing this type of injury is difficult, leg protectors are an important step in reducing the forces that can fracture the bones of the lower extremities during an accident.
Spinal Cord Damage
Among all types of injuries associated with motorcycle accidents, spinal cord damage is likely the most notorious. The forces at play during a collision easily twist and jolt the body, resulting in a broken spinal column, pinched nerves, or even the complete severing of spinal components.
The severity of the injury will be determined by the location of the spinal damage, with quadriplegia arising from spinal cord injuries (SCI) near the neck and shoulders and paraplegia resulting from injuries at the chest level or lower.
Even if mobility is not compromised following an SCI, the injury may continue to have notable effects for the rest of a person’s life, including aggravated sciatic pain and muscular tremors that make fine motor control difficult.
Prevention of spinal cord damage is best achieved through careful motorcycle operation, including obeying speed limit signs and driving more slowly on wet roads.
Get Compensation for Motorcycle Injuries in California
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident and are facing medical bills for your injuries as a result, you are not alone. California motorcycle accident lawyers such as those at Lehr Law can help you fight for compensation to cover the cost of your bills and recovery.