Motorcycles can be lots of fun to drive, especially in Florida – with the gorgeous weather nearly year-round and the open road. However, motorcycle crashes are quite common. Between traffic, tourists that visit year round, and unexpected heavy rainfall, crashes can happen quite easier than anyone wants to think. If you have been in a motorcycle accident, your first thought may be: how much will this cost me?
Motorcycle crashes are quite costly. The Government Accountability Office reports that the average cost of a fatal motorcycle accident is $1.2 million, and the range of the cost of a non-fatal motorcycle accident is $2,500 up to $1.4 million depending on the severity of the crash. These costs account for lawsuits, motorcycle damages, and hospital bills.
If you’ve recently been injured in a motorcycle crash, which was no fault of your own, you could receive compensation for your economic losses. Dennis Hernandez & Associates is the best personal injury firm in Orlando.
Causes of Motorcycle Crashes
The causes of motorcycle crashes can vary widely, but common causes are as follows and all share the same root cause: negligent driving.
- Drunk driving, or driving under any type of influence. This includes drugs.
- Drowsy driving, or driving while fatigued (classified by not having slept in over 24 hours, but any type of driving while exhausted puts a driver at higher risk of an accident or veering off the road)
- Talking or texting while driving, which is especially precarious on a motorcycle. This includes any form of distracted driving, and extends to automobile drivers who can run into motorcyclists
- Road rage or racing on the road
Because motorcycles are significantly smaller than cars and can weave in and out of traffic, some motorcycle crashes are caused by true accidents. Hazy driving conditions that can make it challenging for an automobile driver to see a motorcyclist, or vice versa. This is why it’s important to practice safe driving, to slow down or pull over in precarious weather, and refrain from weaving in and out of traffic.
Injuries from Motorcycle Crashes
Because motorcycle drivers are more vulnerable on the road than car passengers, the extent of the injuries sustained during a motorcycle crash are typically more severe. The most common injury from a motorcycle crash is road rash, which occurs when the motorcyclist hits the concrete and skids. This is quite abrasive and traumatic to the skin. If the crash was minor and the motorcyclist opts out of going to the hospital to check the rash because they believe it’s a simple injury they can treat themselves, further damage can be done. Road rash, left untreated, can lead to permanent nerve damage and skin infection. It is important to seek medical attention for any type of injury following a crash, regardless of how minor it’s believed to be.
As for the major injuries that can happen in motorcycle accidents, they include but are not limited to:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are likely to occur if a motorcyclist hits their head. The chances of sustaining a TBI rises if the motorcyclist is not wearing a helmet and hits their head, but TBI’s can and still do occur even when the motorcyclist is wearing a helmet. The force in which a motorcyclist was ejected from the motorcycle can still cause significant brain damage through a helmet, or a helmet that isn’t worn properly can move to the side upon impact. You are not protected just because you are wearing a helmet.
- Bone breaks and fractures, especially on the leg. When a motorcycle falls over sideways, it can crush the bones and ligaments in the leg it lands on.
- Internal injuries. Because of the trauma endured by the body when it forcefully hits the ground or a vehicle (known as blunt-force trauma, which means the body suffers a blow that does not cut or break the skin), damage to internal organs and therefore internal injuries can happen.
- External injuries. There is often debris and broken glass in a crash, and many motorcyclists land on these sharp objects and get cut.
- Spinal cord injuries. Finally, depending on how the crash occurs, spinal cord injuries can happen. If the spinal cord is hurt, paralysis is a common result and is a devastating permanent injury.
Financial Costs of Motorcycle Crash Injuries
The costs of injuries depend on the severity of injuries and the medical care required. In severe accidents, the injured likely have to have surgery and spend an elongated period of time in the hospital. The injured are also almost always transported to the emergency room via an ambulance, which is costly, and have to get some type of prescription to mediate the pain. Other costs associated with seeking medical care include:
- Surgery costs
- Hospital bill
- Hospital tests
- Doctor visits and check ups after the initial hospital stay; ongoing treatment
- Physical therapy
The most expensive motorcycle crash injury is a head injury. A study in California determined that the average hospital bill for a rider who sustained a head injury because they were not wearing a helmet is just under $18,000.
Determining the “True Cost” of a Motorcycle Crash
However, there are costs beyond just the “costs on paper” from the hospital bills and motorcycle damages. This is why hiring a lawyer could be in your best interest. The job of an attorney is to help you determine the true cost from your accident, which entails damages that aren’t specifically billed.
Because motorcycle injuries are more than likely going to be quite severe, the injured almost always have to take time off work to recover. In these cases, they are losing wages in association with their injuries. These costs to the injured aren’t spelled out in the bills and therefore can’t be refunded by insurance companies, but are real costs nonetheless. For extremely severe injuries, such as paralysis from spinal cord injuries or irreversible brain trauma, the injured may never be able to work again. Recouping the lost wages that they would have received from the rest of their working days is a justice that must be served.
Furthermore, many of these insurance claims happen within a few months of the accident. If the injuries will require extensive medical care leading into the future, such as in-home help for paraplegics, extensive physical therapy, future surgeries, or more pain prescriptions, these costs need to be taken into account, too. It is important that you work with attorneys to determine these true costs and fight for you to receive the financial compensation you deserve. Call Dennis Hernandez & Associates today for a free consultation at 855-LAW-DENNIS.