Injured in a motorcycle accident in Colorado? You’re not alone and you need a passionate advocate.
There is something about the thrill of riding a motorcycle – the closeness to the road, the control, leaning into each curve. I rode motorcycles for many years, mostly sport bikes. I loved going out on weekends with a group of friends, canyon-carving and just seeing the sights. But I also know just how dangerous it can be. Where I live now, near Larkspur, memorials and markers line Colorado Highway 105 between Sedalia and Palmer Lake, a route many bikers ride on the weekends for the great scenery. As a motorcycle enthusiast, I enjoy helping riders injured in accidents in all areas of Colorado.
Motorcycle accidents are more serious
In Colorado, motorcycle riders make up only 3% of the state’s vehicle registrations, but, sadly, represent 20% of the state’s total traffic fatalities, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). And fatalities are on the rise – in 2022, 149 motorcycle riders lost their lives in traffic collisions, the highest number of motorcycle deaths in the state in at least a decade. If you ride a motorcycle, you are 28 times more likely to lose your life in an accident than other motorists on the road, and four times more likely to sustain an injury, usually a serious one.
Motorcycle accidents happen in all conditions
You may think that motorcycle accidents are more likely to occur in bad weather or poor visibility, or on roads that are known for speed, sand, or curves. You may also think that a lot of bikers may just lose control and have a single-vehicle crash. Statistics from the National Safety Council on motorcycle fatalities in 2021 tell us that isn’t necessarily the case, since most motorcycle deaths occurred:
- On urban roads (67%)
- In good weather (83%)
- In crashes involving two vehicles (53%)
In addition, 49% of fatalities occurred in the daytime and by far the majority (72%) of motorcyclists killed on roads in 2021 were not alcohol-impaired, implying other factors were at play.
Motorcycle riders are more vulnerable on the road
Motorcycle riders are especially vulnerable. Drivers of cars find motorcycles harder to see or may not share the road generously. One of the most common types of motorcycle wrecks involves a car making a left turn in front of the motorcycle, with the rider unable to slow or stop safely, forcing the rider to lose control and either crash into the car or have their bike fall or slide out from under them. Riding a motorcycle requires an extra level of alertness to the movements of vehicles around you.
If you or a loved one survives a motorcycle accident, you may have permanent, serious, and painful injuries. For example, in one study, 71.5% of survivors required an orthopedic consult due to injuries to their arms or legs. There are many different types of injuries a rider can suffer in a collision:
- Head and neck trauma and traumatic brain injuries (TBI): In a motorcycle crash, the rider’s head may strike the ground, a curb, or a vehicle that pulled out in front of them. Even if the survivor’s head did not strike anything, the extreme forces at play on the head and neck can cause significant injury. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that helmets reduce the risk of head injury by 69%, but they are not infallible. Additionally, there is a high likelihood that you have also sustained a cervical spine or neck injury if you have experienced a head injury.
- Facial trauma: In addition to head and neck injuries, motorcyclists have little between them and the road or other obstacles. Motorcyclists who experience a TBI may have also experienced fractures to the bones in their face, including their orbital, zygoma, or mandible bones. Similarly, riders who experience facial fractures should be evaluated for a brain injury.
- Pelvic injuries: When a motorcycle rider collides with a fixed object, like another motorcycle, a car, or a wall or telephone pole, he or she will likely experience pelvic injuries, as a result of stopping suddenly and being thrown forward into their own bike’s fuel tank. Pelvic injuries range from bladder injuries in more mild collisions to pelvic fractures in higher speed impacts. These injuries are serious – one study estimated 13% mortality due to pelvic injuries in motorcycle crashes.
- Shoulder, arm, or hand orthopedic injuries: I already mentioned that orthopedic injuries – injuries to riders’ arms, hands, shoulders, collarbones, legs, ankles, hips, and feet – are extremely common in motorcycle accidents. About a third of motorcycle injuries involve injuries to the upper extremities, with “shoulder girdle” injuries being the most common. This can also cause other injuries, like collarbone fractures or injuries to the brachial plexus, a network of nerves that sends signals from your spine to your shoulder, arm, and hand. Forearm fractures are also very common, comprising 15%-20% of all upper extremity injuries in motorcycle accidents. Survivors of a collision may also experience what is known as “motorcycle thumb,” where the riders brace themselves by locking their elbows and gripping the handlebars, causing forces to move into the hand and the thumb. Many of these upper extremity injuries can be permanent and very serious, leading to lifelong struggles with pain, numbness, or loss of function.
- Leg, hip, knee, ankle, or foot orthopedic injuries: Lower extremity injuries are by far the most common type of injury to motorcycle riders involved in a collision, with 40%-60% of all injuries from motorcycle accident survivors experiencing them. From road rash to strains, sprains, and fractures, trauma to your legs is easy when the road is not 6 inches from you at any time. Even the most solid gear offers limited protection. Tibia fractures are very common in motorcycle accidents, as riders may stick a leg out to try to catch themselves, or their leg may become entangled in the bike. Another type of entrapment injury is when a foot becomes trapped in the spokes of the motorcycle tire, causing everything from soft tissue injuries to amputation. Hip fractures are also common, as riders may fall onto their hip first or may experience other pelvic trauma. In many older riders, this can be fatal. We know that 50% of people who are over the age of 65 who suffer a hip fracture die within six months, a striking statistic when you consider that 48% of motorcyclists are over the age of 50!
A motorcycle rider involved in an accident may experience any or all these types of injuries, and if he or she survives, the cost and care to get both immediate and long-term treatment can be significant. And then there are the other costs – missing work temporarily or permanently, loss of productivity, loss of contribution to the household, emotional costs. These costs vary significantly by the severity of the accident, with non-fatal crashes having a cost as low as $2,500 for the most minor injuries to over $1.4 million for severe injuries, as found by a 2010 study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office on the direct measurable costs of motorcycle crashes, a total of $16 billion – and yes, that’s in 2010 dollars! The report states, “Some victims, such as those with severe brain injuries, cannot be productive and require ongoing care and medical expenses.”
You can see the breakdown in the graphic below:
This does not include all long-term costs, like lifelong in-home or in-facility care, future surgeries, or lifelong physical or mental health therapies, because follow-up from these types of studies happens only for a few years. It does not include the emotional cost of experiencing a loss in mental, physical, or emotional function, or the toll on family and loved ones who experience that loss by your side.
“Victims and their families bear many of the direct measurable costs of motorcycle crashes. They may pay medical expenses that are not covered by insurance, suffer the loss of income of the victim and lost productivity at home, incur the costs of family members caring for the victim, and suffer losses for property damage not covered by insurance. Because motorcycle accidents are often severe, victims might not return to work for some time or not at all.”
-Government Accountability Office Report to Congressional Committees on motorcycle safety, November 2012
You need the right help in your corner
Insurance companies want everyone to believe that lawsuits are costly, and that society suffers because of the heavy burden of legal costs. According to the government’s own data, this is absolutely not the case. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, you will need help and your costs may be significant. Your life may be changed from this point forward. You need someone who understands the needs of motorcycle riders fighting to get you justice and the best possible compensation while you focus on recovery.
Call 303-339-8846 to discuss your individual case and find out how I will fight for you. You can also schedule your free consultation with me at my office, at your home, or on Zoom/Facetime/Webex by clicking here.