A rear-end collision is often considered a minor accident, causing bumps and bruises to drivers protected by the steel frame of a passenger car. However, when a car strikes a motorcycle on the back wheel, the rider only has the protection of a helmet and riding gear—neither of which has the cushioning power of crumple zones and airbags. Even speeds under 15 mph can result in serious injuries, many of which can have lifelong or even fatal effects.
Injuries That Occur When a Motorcycle Rider Is Rear-Ended
When a motorcyclist is struck in a rear-end accident, the injuries he or she suffers can result in thousands of dollars in hospital costs, ongoing medical appointments, surgeries, physical rehabilitation, and extensive recovery times. Most victims are also unable to work during their recoveries, adding financial pressures to the physical and emotional stress of the accident.
Riders who are hit from behind often suffer multiple injuries, including:
- Road rash. A motorcyclist may be thrown from the bike, causing severe lacerations and abrasions (commonly called road rash). Road rash victims are at risk of deep tissue infections and may require skin grafts to repair the damage.
- Head and neck injuries. In addition to whiplash and soft tissue injuries, a rider can suffer serious head trauma due to contact with the handlebars or the road surface. Motorcycle crashes are a common cause of cerebral hemorrhage, brain swelling, or traumatic brain injury (TBI). Victims with TBIs can suffer long-lasting or permanent cognitive changes, memory loss, lost motor function, and neurological problems.
- Facial and dental injuries. Even if a rider is wearing a helmet, he or she may suffer deep cuts or broken and damaged teeth, causing permanent scarring or disfigurement. Even after plastic surgery and dental reconstruction, victims may still have difficulty eating, breathing, seeing, or talking, resulting in emotional trauma and decreased quality of life.
- Broken bones. Fractures are common in all types of motorcycle accidents, especially to a rider’s arms, legs, and pelvis. As the rider is thrown from the bike, he or she may attempt to brace the fall, landing on his or her hands and knees. Riders often roll after initial contact with the ground, causing repeated trauma to the legs, feet, back, hips, and arms—and if the damage is extensive, one or more extremities may require amputation.
- Internal injuries. The force of the impact with the ground or with another vehicle can cause serious internal injuries, such as a collapsed lung, damage to the heart, liver, or spleen, and internal bleeding.
- Back injuries. A rider’s vertebrae may flex unnaturally as he or she is thrown off the bike, resulting in herniated discs or even a spinal cord injury. Spinal damage can lead to nerve damage, paraplegia (inability to move the legs) or quadriplegia (the inability to move the arms and the legs).
- Death. Unfortunately, motorcyclists are overwhelmingly likely to succumb to their injuries at the accident scene or after arriving at the emergency room. Survivors of these victims have a right to bring a claim against the at-fault driver, and may be able to recover funeral costs, lost income, and the loss of advice and comfort of their family member.
Motorcyclists who have been rear-ended by a negligent driver deserve to be treated fairly. Although bikers are owed compensation just like any other accident victims, insurance companies often try to deny or underpay these accident claims—and may even go so far as to place the blame on the motorcyclist to avoid paying out. When this happens, bikers should seek the advice of an experienced motorcycle crash attorney who can gather the necessary evidence to press their claim.
Dedicated Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
Our attorneys help motorcyclists in Illinois and Missouri get fair treatment and compensation after an injury caused by someone else's negligence. Download your FREE copy of one of our books: When the Rules of the Road Get Broken: A Guide to Illinois Car Wreck Cases, The Missouri Car Crash Guide: Don't Wreck Your Car Crash Case!, or contact The Tapella & Eberspacher Law Firm via our online contact form to learn more about your legal rights.