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Experienced Attorneys, Aggressive Representation

What Are the Most Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries?

A man lying on the road while grasping his knee, and with his motorcycle on its side in the background.

Motorcycles are more fun to drive than other vehicles for many reasons. They are incredibly maneuverable, offer panoramic views, and have exceptional agility compared to a car.

However, this fun comes with the risk of motorcycles not having the same standard safety features available in cars, making their accidents far more likely to involve serious injuries or death. Consider the following:

  • No roof or roll bars
  • No walls or crumple zones
  • No seatbelts
  • No airbags
  • Only two wheels mean less stability

Motorbikes are also smaller and lighter than other vehicles on the road, making them harder to see, which increases the risk of a collision. As such, riders must wear safety gear whenever they ride their motorcycles.

Unfortunately, sometimes accidents do happen. And the severity of damage is always much more significant for the motorcycle than the other vehicle.

Common Types of Head Injuries From Motorcycle Accidents

Head injuries are the highest cause of fatalities from motorcycle accidents. Because of this, a helmet is the most important piece of life-saving equipment a motorcyclist can wear.

Brain injuries are often devastating and are a common cause of death or disability after motorcycle accidents. They can range from mild to severe, depending on the nature of the accident.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, riders who wear motorcycle helmets are 37% less likely to die in an accident, and their risk of head injury is reduced by 69%. Common types of head injuries from motorcycle accidents include:

  1. Skull fractures
  2. Intracranial hematomas
  3. Concussions

Skull Fractures

An impact on the head can cause the skull to break. There are four different types of skull fractures.

  1. Linear skull fractures are the most common. These are breaks in the skull, but the bone did not move out of place.

Linear skull fractures typically heal well and only require observation to ensure no further damage has taken place before the patient can return to their normal activities.

  1. Diastatic skull fractures typically only occur in infants. They are breaks along the suture lines that are still not fused in babies’ heads.

According to The Motorcycle Legal Foundation, there is no minimum age limit for passengers in Missouri, but a child cannot be seated between two adults.

Thankfully, most people know that motorcycles are far too dangerous for infants; therefore, these types of fractures rarely occur due to motorcycle accidents.

  1. Depressed skull fractures are an indentation in the skull from trauma. They often require surgery to correct the deformity and are likely to involve some form of brain injury.
  2. Basilar skull fractures involve a break in the base of the skull.

These are the most serious, and patients usually have bruising behind their ears and around their eyes as well as clear fluid coming from their ears or nose from a tear in the membrane surrounding the brain.

Intracranial Hematomas

Similar to a contusion, a hematoma is internal bleeding caused by a burst blood vessel. The difference is that this bleeding happens within the skull, which means it presses on the brain as it has nowhere else to go.

  • An epidural hematoma is when the bleeding happens between the skull and the dura, the protective covering surrounding the brain. This bleed is usually the result of a skull fracture.
  • Subdural hematomas form between the dura and the brain. These are obviously very serious and need to be diagnosed immediately to minimize subsequent brain damage and death.
  • Intracerebral hematomas are contusions of the brain. These cause the brain to swell and bleed in the location of the trauma.

The brain is surrounded by bone, so it has no space to expand. Any brain swelling is very serious because it essentially squeezes itself, causing more damage.


Concussions are prevalent head injuries. They are usually caused by the brain moving back and forth within the skull.

Concussions can even occur without a direct hit to the head. The rapid motion of an accident is often enough to cause a concussion.

This movement can cause a bruise on one side of the brain, then another on the opposite side, as the brain moves back in the other direction. It often results in disorientation, headache, nausea, memory loss, dizziness, and extreme fatigue, among other symptoms.

Severe injuries, known as diffuse axonal injury, can leave the patient in a coma with damage to different parts of the brain.

Other Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries

Injuries are still extremely common in motorcycle accidents. The most common injuries are as follows:

  1. Road Rash
  2. Broken Bones
  3. Spine Damage
  4. Lacerations
  5. Sprains
  6. Contusions
  7. Burns

Road Rash

Road rash is the most common injury riders suffer after being thrown from their motorcycles and sliding down the pavement. It is what happens when the friction against the road scrapes off their skin.

This common injury is exceedingly agonizing and can affect large portions of the body, leaving unsightly scars that sometimes require surgery and skin grafts to repair. It often results in debris from the road lodging into the damaged flesh, which must be cleaned out to prevent infections.

The severity of this injury depends on the amount and quality of their safety equipment and the speed they were traveling.

Broken Bones

Losing your balance and falling while riding on a motorcycle is terrifying. Most motorcycles weigh between three hundred to five hundred pounds, so having this heavy bike land on top of you can crush your bones.

There is also a high probability of being thrown great distances during an accident. You might hit other vehicles or obstacles, such as road signs, guard rails, or trees, before finally landing and sliding to a stop.

Being tossed around in this uncontrolled way easily leads to broken bones and, sadly, even amputations.

Spine Damage

Damage to the spine completely changes the life of the injured person. They are still alive, but the life they had before the collision is over.

The resulting complete or partial paralysis affects not only the victim but their family as well.

Loss of voluntary movement and sensation means the wounded party will need assistance in everyday tasks that they used to take for granted. They will need caregivers and special equipment such as wheelchairs and other adaptive equipment.

The financial burden can be just as crippling as the injury itself. The emotional toll damages relationships and the victim’s sense of self-worth as their autonomy have instantly vanished.


Pieces of the vehicles involved in the accident quickly turn into shrapnel that causes cuts or tears in the skin. They can also be caused by being thrown into sharp objects after being thrown from the bike.

Many victims have to live with disfiguring scars and decreased range of motion in the areas surrounding their lacerations.


Sprains occur when ligaments, the connections between bones within joints, are stretched or torn. Any excess force causes joints to hyperextend, resulting in sprains and strains on these ligaments as well as the tendons, the connections between bones and muscles.

Forcing these joints past their normal range of motion can occur upon impact with the road or other objects or by being crushed under the motorcycle or otherwise pinned in an unnatural position.


Bruises or contusions happen when blood vessel walls are damaged, resulting in bleeding beneath the skin. Trauma will leave these dark purplish marks on the skin that will gradually change color and lighten as they heal.

Any site of impact on the body will most likely receive painful contusions.

Although they are typically harmless, it is important to point them out to your healthcare provider for evaluation to be sure the bleeding is not coming from a deeper injury, especially if they are located on your abdomen, back, or chest.


The rider and passenger of the motorcycle are at risk of being burned by coming into contact with the exhaust pipe during even a mild accident. The majority of these types of injuries result in second-degree burns.

That means that the outer two of the three layers of skin have been damaged, and it is extremely painful and often leads to blisters.

Riders typically wear thick, long pants to prevent this injury from unintentionally occurring, but accidents can cause prolonged contact that still results in injury. More serious accidents can involve fires that can burn motorcyclists as well.

Lasting Effects of Brain Injuries

Motorcycle accidents have left many people with significant brain damage. These people are left with many long-term symptoms, such as:

  • Speech Impairments
  • Vision Problems
  • Lost Muscle Strength
  • Damaged Hearing
  • Reduced Fine Motor Skills
  • Personality Changes
  • Loss of Taste Functions

Many victims of brain injuries require long-term hospitalization, extensive rehabilitation treatments, and home care.

Contact Us for Personalized Legal Advice

Goldblatt + Singer: The St. Louis Injury Firm has knowledgable motorcycle accident attorneys who know all about motorcycle accidents and the subsequent injuries that many riders have to face.

Medical treatment is very expensive, and we understand how crucial it is to get you your reparations for the damages you have suffered. It is important for you to relax and let the experts work for you so that you can focus on your recuperation.

Call us at (314) 231-4100 for a free consultation with our lawyers. We will discuss your case and answer your questions about how to proceed in your legal venture.


Free Consultation

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