If one is involved in a motorcycle accident – or any other vehicle accident – there are various recommended steps one should take. These actions are meant to protect both your health as well as your legal rights.
From a health perspective, there are numerous steps one should take shortly after an accident.
The most important recommendation is to get a thorough medical examination immediately after any significant motorcycle accident. This is recommended even if there doesn’t appear to be any significant accident injuries. While there are numerous reasons for this recommendation, perhaps the main reason is that there are various injuries that can be sustained during an accident for which the symptoms may not be apparent immediately after the harm has occurred. Some of these accident injuries can be severe, and possibly life-threatening, if they are not properly treated. Among the accident injuries are various types of head injuries.
Head trauma and any associated brain injuries are among those injuries in which symptoms may not be immediately apparent. As seen in the Mayo Clinic’s Traumatic Brain Injury page under “Symptoms”:
Traumatic brain injury can have wide-ranging physical and psychological effects. Some signs or symptoms may appear immediately after the traumatic event, while others may appear days or weeks later.
There are various examples of those who incurred serious health impairments – if not fatal injuries – because they did not receive an adequate health inspection and appropriate medical treatment following an accident.
An accident in which a person thought they were not injured in an accident, only to find out later they were seriously injured, is described in the Justia Opinion Summary of October 10, 2014, titled “Christiansen v. Alaska Sales & Service, Inc.” In this injury accident, as seen in the lawsuit summary, a woman who suffered a collision while driving in 2008 suffered deteriorating health after an accident, after she didn’t realize the extent of her injuries, which, according to the lawsuit, included brain damage.
These head injuries are especially relevant in motorcycle accidents for numerous reasons. Among these reasons is that in motorcycle accidents, there is little structural vehicular protection. As such, on a motorcycle, the possibility of an ejection or other type of movement that would cause a (significant) head impact and/or other injuries is often higher.
A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) document, titled “The Anatomy Of A Motorcycle Crash,” explains the difference in structural protection between a motorcycle crash and that experienced in other vehicle accidents:
A motorcycle lacks the crashworthiness and occupant protection characteristics of an automobile. An automobile has more weight and bulk than a motorcycle. It has door beams, a roof, airbags, and seat belts. It is also more stable because it is on four wheels. Because of its size, an automobile is easier to see. What a motorcycle sacrifices in weight, bulk, and other crashworthiness characteristics is somewhat offset by its agility, maneuverability, ability to stop quickly, and ability to swerve quickly when necessary.
The risk of a serious head injury on a motorcycle is (substantially) lessened if the motorcyclist is wearing a helmet. Statistics, as well as numerous examples of motorcycle crashes in which the rider and/or passenger did not wear a helmet, show that head injuries and/or fatalities are (far) higher for those who do not wear a helmet. While a helmet is not a “guarantee” against either head injuries and/or a fatality, the statistics indicate that helmet use is a substantial safety benefit. However, it is notable that motorcyclist helmet use is not mandated by Illinois law.
There are other reasons as to why one should seek to avoid any type of traumatic brain injury (TBI). As seen in the Executive Summary of the NHTSA report of October 2009, titled “Motorcycle Helmet Use and Head and Facial Injuries” (pdf), both the required treatment of those motorcyclists who have received head injuries as well as the associated costs are often far higher for those who have received such traumatic brain injuries:
Median charges for hospitalized motorcyclists who survived to discharge were 13 times higher for those incurring a TBI compared to those who did not sustain a TBI ($31,979 versus $2,461). Over 85 percent of hospital-treated motorcyclists without a TBI were discharged home, compared to 56 percent of motorcyclists with severe TBI. Motorcyclists admitted to the hospital with TBI were more likely to die, be discharged to rehab, or transferred to a long-term care facility. While 17 percent of all hospitaladmitted motorcyclists had TBI, they account for 54 percent of all admitted riders who did not survive.
Additional information concerning traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can be seen in the sources mentioned above.
If You Are Injured In A Motorcycle Accident
From a legal perspective, should you be injured in an Illinois motorcycle accident, there are numerous steps you should take to protect your legal rights. These steps will both protect your legal rights as well as help you attain maximum compensation for your accident injuries. In order to best protect your legal rights, it is highly recommended that as soon as possible after the motorcycle accident you speak with a qualified Illinois personal injury lawyer. The lawyer can tell you what steps you should take – and what to avoid doing – in order to protect your legal rights and to maximize your compensation for your accident injuries and other harm that occurred.
In motorcycle accidents that are the fault of the other party (such as a motorist), the injured motorcyclist may be able to recover monetary damages to compensate for accident injuries and other costs that may be incurred. For fatal motorcycle accidents, wrongful death lawsuits can be filed.
For those non-fatal accident injuries, there are various types of potential compensation. A plaintiff (in this case the injured motorcyclist or passenger who initiates the lawsuit) may be able to attain compensation for various reasons including past and future medical bills; past and future lost wages; loss of consortium; pain and suffering; rehabilitation; out-of-pocket expenses; and loss of function.
If you were injured in an accident, call Tony Elman, Lead Trial Attorney at the Elman Joseph Law Group, at (773) 392-8182 to discuss the situation and see what legal actions are recommended. This legal consultation is provided free of charge and is confidential in nature.
Elman Joseph Law Group, LLC handles cases on a contingency basis…you will not be charged legal fees unless and until there is a monetary recovery.
Elman Joseph Law Group handles Illinois personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. Over the last 20+ years Elman Joseph Law Group has handled over 10,000 Illinois personal injury lawsuits.