Far too many motorcycle accidents are caused by the negligence of other motorists. Since motorcycles cannot offer the same protection as a car or truck, bikers and their passengers often suffer severe injuries even in low-speed collisions. If you are side-swiped, cut off in traffic, or rear-ended by a negligent Virginia driver, it isn’t likely you’ll walk away unharmed, and broken bones are an all-too-common consequence of motorcycle accidents.
Types of Collisions That Can Cause Broken Bones
Every motorcycle collision has the potential to end in a serious injury. However, certain types of accidents are responsible for damages that usually include broken bones:
- Head-on collisions. These occur when the front ends of two motorcycles moving in opposite directions crash into each other.
- Side-swipe collisions. These occur when another motorist merges into a motorcyclist. This can happen on the highway, in city traffic, or when someone ignores a motorcyclist’s right-of-way on a turn.
- Distracted driving. This occurs when someone is using their cell phone, eating, or otherwise not paying adequate attention to their surroundings while behind the wheel.
- Intoxicated driving. A great many motorcycle accidents involve at least one intoxicated party. Motorcyclists are extremely vulnerable on the road, and a drunk vehicle driver may not “see” or even look for a motorcycle while they’re behind the wheel.
- Rear-end collisions. These are often a result of distracted or intoxicated driving. It is not uncommon for motorcyclists to be hit from behind when they are at a stop sign or waiting for a traffic signal to change.
Types of Broken Bones in a Motorcycle Accident
There are various types of broken bones that a motorcyclist can suffer in an accident. These include:
- Forearm fractures. When most people fall—from a height or from a motorcycle—they instinctively try to break their fall with their hand or forearm. If you hit the ground hard enough, you may break one or more bones in your forearm, wrist, or hand.
- Skull fractures. These occur especially in people who do not wear motorcycle helmets or whose first point of contact is concrete or the ground.
- Spinal fractures. Spinal fractures are more common in high-speed motorcycle accidents than other types due to the force of impact and ejection. Since the spine houses many critical components of the central nervous system, even a small break can be serious and cause paralysis and/or loss of the use of a body part.
- Shinbone breaks. These are especially common for riders who are hit from the side or fall directly on the ground. Shinbone injuries may require casts or splints and sometimes surgery.
- Pelvis injuries. These can be life-threatening because there is often internal bleeding.
The Different Types of Fractures
The human body has hundreds of bones, almost any of which could be broken in a motorcycle accident. But not all fractures have the same characteristics. There are:
- Complete and incomplete fractures. A complete fracture occurs when a bone breaks in two. An incomplete or partial fracture is a crack in the bone, but the bone does not break completely.
- Stable and unstable fractures. A stable fracture occurs when a broken bone stays in alignment. Conversely, an unstable fracture occurs when the pieces or fragments of a broken bone are no longer aligned.
- Open fracture/compound fracture. This type of fracture penetrates the skin and creates an open wound.
The Costs of a Broken Bone
If you have broken a bone in a motorcycle accident, you almost certainly require treatment. Some accident victims may only need a finger splint or an arm immobilizer. However, more serious accidents can require X-rays, hospital observation, and surgery. You may need months of physical rehabilitation to simply gain ordinary function.
Even if you have a good health insurance policy, you will still probably need to pay for some of your bills, medication, and treatment out of pocket. And your insurer may not reimburse you for other expenses and losses.
Consider, for instance, the cost of a broken leg. If your bone fractured in more than one place, your leg may be immobilized, and you may need a wheelchair for several months. You might have to take unpaid leave from work or spend extra money adding a ramp up to your front door or personal vehicle. You could lose weeks or months of pay and income—and perhaps even your job.
Additionally, you may be traumatized after the accident, and some people choose to sell their bikes.
In Virginia, people who file personal injury claims in motorcycle accidents may be able to recover damages for their economic expenses, such as hospital bills, lost wages, and diminished earning potential. They can also claim damages for non-economic expenses, including emotional pain and suffering.
How a Lawyer Can Help
Since Virginia is an at-fault state, the other motorist’s insurance company is obliged to help pay your medical expenses.
However, insurance companies are for-profit businesses. They’re focus is the bottom line and aren’t concerned about giving you a fair and equitable settlement, and often they will try to dispute the facts of your case. Since many people are biased against motorcyclists, an adjuster may accuse you of driving recklessly and point the blame at you.
Even if you have helmet-cam footage, eyewitness testimony, and an open-and-shut case, the insurance company will usually offer you less money than your claim is actually worth.
Attorneys know the games that insurance companies play and how to beat them. In fact, insurance adjusters often encourage motorcycle crash victims not to hire a lawyer, saying an attorney will only complicate what should be a simple discussion. This is because the last thing the insurance company wants is a highly experienced lawyer handling your claim. A skilled personal injury lawyer will not allow insurance companies to take advantage of you, and they’re your best chance of obtaining fair compensation.
Contact Us Today
If you or a loved one suffered a broken a bone in a Virginia motorcycle accident, contact our law firm. Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi will aggressively advocate on your behalf, standing up to the insurance company’s low-ball offers and taking them to court if needed. Send us a message today to schedule your initial consultation.