Although wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle reduces chance of fatality during an accident by about 40%, the rest of your body remains exposed. Even the use of armored jackets and pants only really protects your skin from abrasions. The gear does not prevent broken bones, deep lacerations or internal contusions. During the impact, your internal organs are often subject to incredible forces that cause bruising, hemorrhaging and lacerations. Organ damage can severely impact your life, making it difficult to care for yourself or work for months to years after the accident.
During motorcycle collisions, riders frequently hit their rib cage area on the handlebars, especially on cruisers with low seats and high bars. If the brunt of the impact is taken by the left side of the ribcage, damage to the spleen typically occurs. Physicians grade spleen injuries on a five-point scale ranging from bruising on less than 10% of the organ to full ruptures.
Without a fully functioning spleen, you may be subject to high rates of infection since this organ produces illness-fighting white blood cells. As a result, after a serious spleen injury, you may need to stay out of public situations that could result in exposure to bacteria or viruses that could compromise your health.
Hitting the handlebars with the right side of your upper torso often causes liver damage, including severe lacerations. Like the spleen, doctors assess lacerations to the liver on a five-grade scale. The first grade begins with a 1/2 inch deep laceration and increases every 1/2 inch from there.
Doctors initially focus on controlling bleeding from this organ to stabilize your health condition after the accident. You may need a laparoscopic procedure to close up the wound on your liver to stop the bleeding. If you are otherwise healthy, your liver will usually heal up nicely without any lasting damage. Unfortunately, the recovery process is slow going, especially if you do not rest enough during recovery.
Although the upper part of the ribcage protects the heart, abrupt impacts can cause blunt trauma to this organ as it hits the inner chest wall. Furthermore, sustaining a rib fracture during the accident compromises the ribcage's ability to protect the heart and lungs.
Upon noting a cardiac contusion, physicians use ultrasound equipment to check for aortic dissection, which is a serious tear in the main artery of the heart. If the arteries and heart lack lacerations, the muscle tissue will slowly heal on its own. Throughout healing process, you may notice palpitations, low blood pressure, dizziness and weakness, all of which make it difficult to resume work until you are fully healed.
Blunt trauma to the flank or back on either side could cause the kidneys to bruise or even hemorrhage. The main signs of damage to the kidneys include severe torso and back pain along with a horrific display of blood in the urine. If this happens, you may need a CT scan with contrast to allow your treating physician to directly assess the damage.
Severe damage may require frequent drainage of fluid in the kidney along with dialysis until this organ starts working normally again. Physicians will measure your total amount of kidney function to determine if dialysis is warranted throughout the initial recovery period and beyond.
Exploring Lasting Effects
If you hire a motorcycle accident attorney from a firm like Hinkle Law Offices to help secure compensation for your organ damage, you will need to regularly visit a doctor to gauge the total amount of lasting damage. Your lawyer will work with your doctor to identify potential future medical needs along with the full extent of your disability. The information gathered about your condition and recovery status is used by the court to determine the total cost of the medical care needed to recover from the accident. The information is also used to calculate pain and suffering, lost wages and other forms of compensation awarded by the courts.