Omaha Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Riding a motorcycle is inherently risky business. In 2015, motorcyclists in the United States were five times more likely than passenger car riders to be injured in an accident, and 29 times more likely to die as the result of a crash.
Here are some of the most common injuries resulting from motorcycle crashes, how to prevent the worst from happening, and what to do if you are in a motorcycle accident.
What Damage Can Be Done in a Motorcycle Accident?
- Road rash and other skin abrasions are caused by contact and friction with roads and other surfaces, scraping away layers of skin and in some cases other tissues. While rarely fatal, road rash is extremely painful, and if not treated properly can result in infection.
- Fractures and broken bones are a frequent injury in motorcycle crashes. A 2008 study reported that the most common sites of fractures from motorcycle accidents in the U.S. were:
Of all these fractures, head injuries are the most frequently fatal. Age is also a factor in bone injuries. Riders over the age of 40 tend to sustain more injuries to their arms, legs, and ribs than younger riders, owing to the changes in bone density that come with age.
- Foot and lower leg (30%)
- The face and skull (22%)
- Forearm, hand, and wrist (19%)
- Chest and ribs (16%)
- Internal and soft tissue injuries are caused when the inner parts of the body are wounded, whether or not the bones are affected. Concussions are among the most common internal injuries. Broken bones can also puncture internal organs such as the lungs, causing internal bleeding or hemorrhaging. Injuries to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons throughout the body are also common. Once again, motorcyclists age 40 and over have an increased risk for such injuries.
While the above statistics may seem dire, there are ways to lower the risk of injuries and fatalities in the event of a motorcycle crash.
Helmets and protective gear are widely available and a good way to lower your risk of injury and death. Helmets in particular reduce the amount of deaths associated with motorcycle accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that in 2015, 40% of motorcyclists who died in accidents were not wearing helmets. This percentage varies from state to state, as not all states have laws requiring all motorcycle riders to wear helmets. (The state of Nebraska has a universal helmet law.) The NHTSA also reported that in 2014, the fatality rates in states without universal helmet laws were about ten times greater than in states that did have such laws.
Other protective gear, such as gloves, padded jackets, pants, and body armor are not legally required while riding a motorcycle, but do a great deal to prevent bodily injury and reduce medical costs.
Driving safely and following motorcycle laws, such as not drinking and driving, increases your chances of avoiding an accident. In 2015, 27% of fatal motorcycle accidents involved an alcohol-impaired motorcycle driver, and 33% of fatal motorcycle accidents were the result of the driver speeding. The state of Nebraska has laws against driving between lanes, called “lane splitting,” as well as laws for safely carrying cargo or another passenger. Following the rules of the road establishes you as a responsible driver and keeps you and your passenger safer overall.
What to Do After an Accident
Even the most cautious motorcycle driver may be involved in an accident due to factors beyond his or her control, including another driver's negligence. Here’s what you need to do in the aftermath of a crash:
Call 911 immediately.
Get immediate medical attention. Go to the emergency room or see your doctor as soon as you can after the accident. Not only will you get treated sooner, this allows you to get the most accurate documentation of any injuries you have. If you have pre-existing injuries from before the accident, your doctor can confirm if those injuries have gotten worse.
Document details of the accident. Memory is notoriously unreliable, and can be severely impacted following a traumatic event such as a motorcycle accident. When you are physically able, take notes on what you can remember about the incident. Take photographs of the scene, your injuries, and any physical evidence such as damaged items. If there are any witnesses, get their contact information and get their written testimony as soon as possible. Documenting evidence will establish your claim that you were not at fault.
Obtain additional records to corroborate your story. Filing a police report of the accident can be an important step in pursuing a personal injury claim, as it will contain important details of the incident. Additional documents such as proof of days and wages lost as a result of the accident are also crucial.
Compassionate Legal Help
Most motorcyclists ride alone, but you don't have to. If you have been in a motorcycle accident, our Omaha personal injury legal team will fight to ensure you gain the maximum compensation to cover your losses. At Bottlinger Law L.L.C., we offer a free initial consultation with no obligation and we work on a contingency-fee basis - you don't pay a fee unless we win your case. Call our offices at (402) 505-8234 to speak with a Omaha auto accident attorney today.
- Crossing the Line on Motorcycle Safety
- Traffic Safety Facts - Motorcycles
- Motorcycle Laws and Legal Requirements
- Motorcycle Safety - CDC
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