Among medical professionals, motorcycles are often called “donorcycles.” This morbid nickname is based on the frequency and severity of fatal motorcycle accidents and the organ “donations” that follow. There are several major causes of death in motorcycle accidents, and if you lose a family member to one of those causes, there is help.
Reach out to Barrios Virgüez to get that help. Our firm has helped Georgia victims of injury and wrongful death pursue compensation for the losses they have sustained. Trust an Augusta motorcycle accident lawyer from our team to fight hard for a successful outcome to your case.
Statistics on Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents account for a disproportionate percentage of traffic fatalities. Statistics from a recent year of data collection by the National Safety Council (NSC) show only 3% of registered vehicles are motorcycles. And yet, they account for 14% of all traffic fatalities.
The NSC also found that over a year’s time, the percentage of motorcycle rider fatalities increased by 8%. However, the “rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled decreased by 2%.” The NSC’s most recent count puts the total number of motorcycle fatalities at 5,932.
According to recent data collected by the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, Georgia saw 185 motorcycle fatalities. For context, Florida “led” the country with 651 fatalities, while Alaska ranked lowest at six. Neighboring states of Alabama and South Carolina had 77 and 177 fatalities, respectively.
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Major Causes of Death in Motorcycle Accidents
A recent study published by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) presented the results of a comprehensive investigation of motorcycle accidents. Factors contributing to accidents, both single- and multi-vehicle, were the focus of section 31.3.
For fatal accidents, the following motorcyclist behaviors were over-represented, especially in single-vehicle events:
- “Rider Unsafe Acts”
- Attention failure
- Speed compared to surrounding traffic
- Loss of control
- Skill deficiency
- Crash avoidance failure
- Aggressive attitude
- Alcohol or drug use
While motorcyclists’ behavior contributes significantly to single-vehicle accidents, other drivers contribute to multi-vehicle events through their:
- Failure or inability to see motorcyclists was a factor in 54%
- Inattention or distraction played a role in 43%
- Lane choice and visual obstruction each contributed to 22%
- “Traffic scan” factored into 70%
- Speed compared to surrounding traffic contributed to 21%
- Failure to avoid a crash factored into 60%
It is not always people who are the problem in motorcycle accidents. Sometimes, the weather creates dangerous scenarios. Precipitation can reduce visibility and make roads slick and high winds can put motorcycles off balance.
Poorly marked or lined roads are also an issue. The FHWA noted roadway design contributed to 9% of multi-vehicle accidents. Non-operative or dysfunctional traffic signals are problems as well.
Motorcyclists are almost completely unprotected upon impact with another vehicle, an object, or the road itself. There are no airbags or car exteriors to “soften” or absorb the blow. This physical vulnerability is another major contributing factor to motorcycle fatalities.
Fatal Motorcycle Injuries
There is no limited “set” of injuries motorcycle accidents can produce. While high-impact accidents are more likely to cause fatal injuries, even those appearing less serious can hit riders “just so,” prompting devastating outcomes. No matter what type of fatal injury victims sustain, a Georgia motorcycle accident attorney from Barrios Virgüez can work to help loved ones get justice and a fair settlement.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Helmets are effective in protecting the head and brain in less serious accidents. However, helmets are no match for high-impact accidents. The previously referenced report from the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety showed that for the state’s 185 fatalities, 165 riders were helmeted, 16 were unhelmeted, and the status of the remaining 6 is unknown.
When the head takes an impact, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) often follow, and these injuries can kill. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show 69,473 TBI-caused deaths for a recent year of data collection. This number is the equivalent of 190 TBI-related deaths per day.
Visible blood loss–caused by cuts and wounds to the outside of the body–is frightening and, if not stopped, can lead to excessive blood loss and death. Internal blood loss is not visible. However, it is just as–or perhaps more–deadly as external loss.
If not recognized and treated quickly, internal bleeding (called hemorrhaging) can lead to organ failure, seizures, coma, and death, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH). Motorcycle accidents can cause internal organ damage, traumatic brain injury, puncture wounds, and bone fractures. Each of these conditions can lead to fatal internal bleeding.
Spinal Cord Damage
When the spinal cord or neck is unnaturally or suddenly bent or undergoes compression, spinal cord injuries (SCIs) can result. Some SCIs cause immediate death. When the spinal cord is severed, communication from the brain to the body is instantly cut off, and the body cannot carry out physiological functions.
If death is not immediate, victims are still not safe. A study included in the National Library of Medicine (NLM) found that “pneumonia, septicemia, and suicide” are leading causes of death in people who survive initial SCIs. Though delayed, these deaths still result from the accident-related SCI.
Lacerations and Amputations
Motorcycle accidents can cause deep lacerations or amputation. The sharp or jagged edges of a damaged vehicle can slice through the skin or sever limbs. Deep–or complete–cuts can easily become infected or cause fatal blood loss.
If your loved one is killed in a motorcycle accident, a motorcycle accident attorney in Atlanta can help you file a wrongful death claim so you can collect compensation for your losses. The attorneys at Barrios Virgüez will treat your claim and your loss with respect and care. Our team will investigate the accident, pinpointing its cause and revealing the at-fault party, and gather comprehensive evidence to prove that party’s negligence.
A wrongful death settlement can:
- Cover any accident-related medical costs
- Cover funeral and end-of-life expenses
- Recover your loved one’s lost future earnings
- Compensate you for the loss of your loved one’s contribution to household responsibilities
- Acknowledge your emotional distress and loss of affection
- Provide a sense of justice
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Ring the Victory Bell
At Barrios Virgüez, we ring a victory bell when someone receives rightful compensation for a wrongful death. Though the circumstances of the victory are tragic, we celebrate the end of a difficult chapter, the restored justice, and the beginning of a brighter future. Contact us for a free consultation with a motorcycle accident in Georgia if your loved one was killed in an accident. We will stand with you throughout your case, from beginning to bell.