When a motorcyclist is involved in an accident, the injuries are often severe but not always immediately evident.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in more than 50 percent of fatal motorcycle accidents, 51 percent of the victims suffer injuries at multiple locations. Approximately 27 percent of victims suffer head injuries, 5 percent suffer thorax injuries, 2 percent suffer neck injuries, and another 2 percent suffer lumbar, spine, or abdominal injuries.
Types of Internal Injuries
An internal injury involves the cavities or organs of the body. Common internal injuries include:
- bleeding around the lungs
- brain hemorrhage
- punctured lungs or other organs caused by broken ribs
- torn blood vessels
- bleeding in the leg caused by a thigh fracture
- organ damage including heart, liver, spleen, and lungs
Causes of Internal Injuries
There are several ways in which a motorcyclist may suffer internal injuries.
Blunt force trauma: When the body is impacted by a hard object that does not break the skin, it is known as blunt force trauma. 75 percent of blunt force trauma injuries are abdominal injuries.
Penetrating trauma: Occurs when a sharp object breaks the skin and penetrates the body, damaging the organs.
In a motorcycle accident, internal bleeding may be a result of blunt force or penetrating trauma. Sudden deceleration of the body when it hits a hard surface such as a pavement, wall, or car can also cause internal organ damage and internal bleeding.
The most serious types of internal bleeding include bleeding inside the head, heart, large blood vessels, spleen, liver, and lungs. Internal injuries are generally not difficult to diagnose, but in some cases, internal injuries may not be obvious and the symptoms may not be immediately evident. After a motorcycle accident, it is important to watch for symptoms of internal injuries even though there may not be any signs or symptoms immediately after the accident.
Symptoms of Internal Injuries
- abdominal pain that worsens over time
- a large purple bruise on the back or chest
- low blood pressure
- headache, dizziness, shortness of breath, light-headedness, or unconsciousness
- pain, swelling, or tightness in the leg
- blood in the urine, vomit, or bowel movement
A motorcyclist can suffer internal injuries even if the crash was seemingly minor. If the motorcyclist experiences any of the listed symptoms after a crash, he or she should seek immediate medical attention. Any delay in treatment of injuries can prove fatal.