Motorcycle crashes can easily cause serious internal injuries to riders, even when the incident is minor. This heightened risk is due to the inherent vulnerability all riders face, no matter their level of experience. Motorcycles provide no protection from vehicles and other hazards.
At Schmidt Kramer we explain more about internal injuries after a motorcycle accident and why riders should always seek medical treatment after a crash.
Need legal help after a motorcycle crash in Pennsylvania? If so, we have an experienced and winning legal team that is ready to help you seek the compensation you need. Call our law offices 24/7 to discuss your situation with a knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer at our firm.
Request your FREE case review today. (717) 727-1403
What Types of Internal Injuries Are Common in a Motorcycle Crash?
Since motorcyclists have virtually no protection from the elements, road hazards and other vehicles, there are many types of internal injuries that could occur. The most common types of internal injuries may include:
- Internal organ damage to the spleen, lungs, heart or liver
- Punctured lungs, caused by one or more broken ribs
- Head trauma resulting in a brain bleed (brain hemorrhage)
- Bleeding around the lungs
- Torn or punctured blood vessels
- Damage to the digestive tract
- Internal bleeding in a joint or muscle
Motorcyclists with any of these internal injuries after a crash could suffer paralysis, organ failure, or death, depending on the location and severity of the injury. Other factors that contribute to a victim’s ability to survive this type of injury depend on how quickly they get medical help.
Are Some Motorcyclists More at Risk for Internal Injuries in a Crash Than Other Riders?
There are certain factors that increase the risk of internal bleeding after a motorcycle crash, even when a collision seems minor. For instance, some riders may have some type of genetic blood disorder that makes their blood clot more slowly.
Other risk factors include taking over-the-counter or prescribed medications, such as aspirin or blood thinners. These drugs not only damage the lining of your stomach over time, but they also increase your risk of internal bleeding after a motorcycle crash or any motor vehicle collision.
Regardless of these and other factors, even low-impact motorcycle accidents can cause internal injuries. Crash victims may suffer internal injuries with little to no visible evidence of any wound.
How Do Internal Injuries Often Occur in a Motorcycle Crash?
Internal injuries from a motorcycle crash may happen in many different ways, such as:
- Hitting the ground hard after a minor motorcycle crash
- Striking your head, without a helmet, against a hard object
- Blunt force trauma to vulnerable body parts, such as the abdomen, head or chest
- Penetrating damage if a foreign object pierces the skin and causes internal damage
- Decelerating trauma, which is more likely in a situation where there is a rapid acceleration followed immediately by a sudden stop, such as when a motorcycle hits a hard object. This jostles the organs and brain around and can cause severe or fatal injuries.
What Warning Symptoms May Indicate a Motorcyclist Has Internal Injuries?
It is critical that you go to the hospital after a motorcycle crash. However, even when you do go, your doctor may miss diagnosing something important. Today, people need to be proactive about their health. For example, when discussing your injuries with the doctor, be sure to tell him the type of crash, your vehicle and details of all symptoms, even the minor ones.
Warning symptoms of an internal head injury, such as a brain bleed, may include:
- Bruising or a wound on the head, face or scalp (this is not always visible)
- Sudden and severe headache (“thunderclap” headache)
- Tingling, numbness, weakness or even paralysis, especially on one side of your body
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Struggling to swallow
- Vision loss or difficulty seeing
- Unexplained or atypical seizures
- Sensitivity to light, neck stiffness
- Slurred or abnormal speech
- Problems understanding speech; difficulties reading or writing
- Sudden change in energy, level of consciousness
- Difficulties breathing combined with an abnormal heart rate
Victims with a brain bleed may experience some or only a few of these symptoms. It depends on where the brain bleed is located. If you fall from a motorcycle in even a minor crash, your doctor will likely request an MRI, MRA or CT scan.
Depending on the severity and location of a brain bleed, you may need surgery. It is vital that motorcyclists understand that waiting any amount of time to get to the hospital greatly reduces your chance of survival if there is any type of internal bleeding.
Signs you may have other internal injuries may include:
- Pale skin that is clammy or sweaty to the touch
- Pain at the point of injury, even if there is no bruising or penetration wound
- Swollen or tight abdomen
- Feeling like you are trying to catch your breath
- Extreme thirst
- Nausea and/or vomiting
Again, riders with internal injuries may not experience all of these symptoms at once. It depends on the severity, location and type of internal injury. This does not mean you can delay getting a medical examination, however. Any delays in seeking medical care could significantly impact your ability to recover.
What Should Motorcycle Riders Do After a Collision With a Vehicle?
As already mentioned, it is critical that riders seek immediate medical attention. Refusing treatment at the scene is not recommended. EMTs and other medical first responders are trained to recognize signs of serious injuries.
Seek immediate medical attention without delay, even if you believe your injuries to be minor. It is better to rule them out and be sure.
Once your injuries are stabilized, we strongly recommend that you seek legal help. Pursuing a motorcycle accident lawsuit can be challenging, even when you feel 100 percent back to normal. While injured and still recovering, you are very vulnerable to making mistakes that could irreversibly damage your claim, or worse, cause it to be denied. Having a knowledgeable motorcycle crash lawyer managing your case and protecting your interests from day one can greatly benefit the outcome of your claim.
Can Motorcyclists Recover Compensation for Internal Injuries?
Regardless of who caused the collision, you can recover some of your medical costs and other benefits through your Pennsylvania personal injury protection insurance (PIP). However, motorcycle riders in Pennsylvania also have the added benefit of automatically having full tort coverage.
That means if your injuries exhaust your PIP insurance, you can file a lawsuit to seek further compensation for your damages against the at-fault party.
How Can Riders Protect Themselves From Serious Harm in a Motorcycle Crash?
There are some really great common sense ways that motorcyclists can give themselves a better chance of surviving a motorcycle crash, including:
- Adhere to PA state laws regarding the use of a helmet– but even if you qualify to legally ride without a helmet, consider riding with a DOT-approved helmet for extra protection
- Consider motorcycle riding lessons if you are a newer rider
- Learn how to do the tuck and roll to help protect your organs in a crash
- Wear recommended safety gear, such as goggles, riding boots, leather gloves, and clothing with long sleeves and long pants
- Purchase as much insurance as your budget allows
- Follow state traffic laws and remain alert to other vehicles around you
Need Legal Help After Being Injured in a Motorcycle Crash?
Schmidt Kramer is ready to help you recover the compensation you need after a motorcycle accident. We want you to be able to focus on healing from your internal injuries and other damages.
Contact our law offices at a time that is convenient for you. We have staff ready to answer your call 24/7. Request your free case review to discuss your situation and whether you may have legal options. If we represent you, there are no upfront costs or fees to pay.
Experienced lawyers. Fighting for the compensation you need. (717) 727-1403