Riding a motorcycle has many advantages, especially when trying to avoid the traffic and parking headaches car drivers deal with in Chicago. Motorcycles offer freedom and flexibility, but they are also the most vulnerable motor vehicles on the road. Typically, an accident that puts a few dents in a car will cause severe injury for a motorcyclist. In fact, in Illinois, where motorcycle accidents only account for 1.2 percent of accidents, they make up a disproportionate 12.8 percent of accident fatalities
Common Injuries and Consequences of Motorcycle Accidents
Nearly all motorcycle accidents lead to injuries, extended hospitalization and ongoing treatments. Even with proper safety equipment, motorcyclists are very exposed. Some of the most common injuries sustained by victims in motorcycle accidents include:
- Head Trauma and Neck Injuries – Even though wearing a helmet reduces the rate of head injuries, head injuries are some of the most common in motorcycle accidents. Head trauma injuries range in severity from concussions to traumatic brain injuries.
- Fractured bones – Of non-fatal injuries, fractured bones are common in motorcycle accidents. Broken bones are a natural consequence of using the arms to protect other parts of the body during a fall. In addition, fractures can occur from the impact of the motorcycle. Common fractures include the collarbone, ribs, arms, hands, and legs.
- Road Rash – Even with protective gear, road rash is very common in motorcycle accidents. Road rash goes beyond mere cuts, scrapes, and bruises and is classified into three divisions, similar to burns, ranging from first to third degree severity.
- Back and Spine Injuries – Back and spinal injuries often end up being life-threatening and can cause various degrees of damage to the nervous system. Investing in a back plate and body armour can help reduce the risk of paralysis.
- Lower Extremities – Injuries to the lower extremities of the body are amongst the most common in motorcycle accidents and are usually the result of inappropriate dress. They may include loss of limbs, severe burns, torn muscles, deep cuts, and more.
While some of these motorcycle injuries can fully heal and may not leave any permanent disability, others can be life-changing. A motorcycle accident victim may face significant, long-lasting medical expenses, loss of income, and a great deal of pain and suffering. When the accident is caused due to the negligence of another motorist, the victim is entitled to compensation.
What To Do After a Motorcycle Accident
Just as in a car accident, it is very important to take the proper steps after being in a motorcycle accident. Any motorcyclists that have an accident should take the following steps:
- Exchange information – After any accident involving other people or vehicles, it is important to take down their name, contact information, the make and model of their vehicle, and insurance details. If either party is seriously injured enough to be unable to communicate the information, it can be obtained at a later time.
- Stay on the scene – You should never leave the scene of the accident. This is considered a criminal offense and could lead to severe fines or even imprisonment.
- Take care of injuries – If anyone in the accident, including yourself, is injured and needs medical attention, seek appropriate treatment. Calling 911 will not only get you medical aid, but also works to alert proper law enforcement officials.
- Report the accident – Informing law enforcement of the accident is always advisable. In Illinois, any traffic accident that leads to bodily injury, death, or more than $1,500 in damages must be reported.
- Speak with an attorney – Not all accidents require an attorney. However, motorcycle accidents caused by the negligence of another driver or negligence on the part of the government (for poor roadways, faulty traffic lights, confusing signs, etc.) may require the assistance of a skilled legal advocate.
Chicago Motorcycle Laws and Safety
The best way for Chicago motorcyclists to avoid accidents is to take proper safety precautions and always follow all Illinois motorcycle laws. Motorcyclists should complete proper safety training and always wear appropriate gear, including helmets, gloves, jacket, and other protective equipment.