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Leg Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents and How to Protect Yourself

man with injured leg wrapped in gauze resting it on a table

Due to their small size, motorcycle riders are often missed or hidden in drivers’ blind spots. Drivers who are distracted or not paying attention may pull out in front of a motorcyclist or crash into them while merging into another lane.

A motorcyclist’s legs are particularly vulnerable in a crash. The leg often bears the full brunt of the initial impact, leading to crush injuries or broken bones. The legs may also be dragged along the ground in a motorcycle accident, potentially causing the rider to suffer a road rash injury.

Leg injuries by themselves aren’t usually fatal, but they can leave a person with long-term complications and disabilities depending on the severity of the crash.

How Common Are Leg Injuries in Motorcycle Crashes?

Injuries to the lower extremities are the most common injury type sustained by motorcyclists. An estimated 47% of motorcyclists treated at trauma centers suffered an injury to their legs. These injuries may or may not accompany other traumatic injuries affecting other parts of the body.

Distribution of Motorcycle Leg Injuries

While lower extremity injuries are more common, they tend to be less severe. Leg injuries can be grouped into the following categories: pelvic, hip, thigh, knee, lower leg, ankle, and foot.

An estimated 27% of leg injuries affect the lower leg. Pelvic injuries were the second most common, followed by knee injuries.

Motorcyclists involved in crashes are more likely to sustain a broken leg and other leg fractures than soft tissue injuries.

graphic showing the distribution of motorcyclist leg injuries by body part

Pelvic Injuries

An estimated 69% of motorcycle pelvic injuries were pelvic fractures. Separation of the pubic bone (symphysis pubis) and sacral fractures accounted for 17% and 13% of pelvic injuries.

Hip Injuries

The most common motorcycle hip injury is hip dislocation (37%). Fractures to the top and neck of the femur were the next most common hip injuries at 30% and 25%, respectively.

Thigh Injuries

About 94% of motorcycle thigh injuries are femur fractures. Soft tissue injuries such as damage to the arteries and nerves accounted for only 4%.

Knee Injuries

Fractures to the top of the tibia (tibia plateau) account for 37% of motorcycle knee injuries. Patella fractures (knee cap) and tears to the meniscus and other ligaments are tied at 18% of knee injuries each.

Lower Leg Injuries

Tibia and fibula fractures made up a staggering 95% of all leg injuries. Only 3% of leg injuries involved crush injuries and partial or complete traumatic leg amputations.

Ankle Injuries

Tibia and fibula malleolar fractures, which are the prominent bony structures on either side of the ankle, accounted for 90% of motorcycle ankle injuries. Around 9% of injuries involved ankle dislocation.

Foot Injuries

Fractures to the metatarsal or tarsal (the longest bones in the foot), calcaneus (heel bone), and talus (the bone that sits above the heel) are the most common parts of the foot to be injured in motorcycle crashes. Together they account for 84% of foot injuries. The rarest foot injuries in a motorcycle accident are those to the toe, amputations, crush injuries, and degloving.

Medical Costs of Motorcycle Accidents Involving Leg Injuries

Medical bills for a motorcycle accident can range from thousands of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars for acute hospital care. An injured rider may have suffered multiple fractures or tears to their leg or sustained traumatic damage to their upper body and head. These costs can continue to increase if an injured victim requires long-term care, rehabilitation, surgery, skin grafts, and other costly medical procedures and treatments.

Unfortunately, some motorcycle riders do not have health insurance. Lack of health insurance can make the treatment process even more stressful. The at-fault driver’s insurance company may pressure an injured motorcyclist to settle before they understand the full extent of their injuries.

When considering the cost of a motorcycle injury, you must take into account not just the treatment immediately after a crash but also the possibility of long-term complications, missed days from work, and potential disability. This is especially true if someone suffered a critical injury such as losing a leg or receiving a traumatic brain injury after a motorcycle accident.

Read More: What Is My Motorcycle Accident Case Worth?

Best Ways to Protect the Legs While Riding a Motorcycle

To reduce the possibility of motorcycle leg injuries, riders should invest in leg protection. The best motorcycle leg armor not only protects your lower extremities from road rash but also severe impacts.

Jeans do not offer protection, and neither do jeans with kevlar mixed into the thread. Proper kevlar jeans need to have a lining of kevlar. You could also buy kevlar liners and wear them under any kind of pants.

Research what type of motorcycle leg armor is best for you. Mesh and textile gear, along with knee and hip pads, are recommended. There are many options available for motorcyclists, both casual riders and regulars.

Whether a car hits or clips a bike, the rider will be flung from their motorcycle, forcing them to slid over the pavement. Regular clothing will not offer protection, and certain kinds of material like polyester will even cause burns.

Atlanta Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

After a motorcycle accident, it can be tough to figure out what to do. The insurance company may be trying to blame you for what happened. The hospital bills are overwhelming.

You deserve a motorcycle accident attorney in Atlanta who has your back and can shield you from the insurance company’s tactics. At Gary Martin Hays & Associates, we’re well-versed in the laws regarding motorcycle injury claims. We know who to call, what paperwork to file, and how to quickly move the legal process along.

Our Georgia motorcycle accident attorneys can put you in touch with experienced doctors for every step of your recovery. With us, you don’t pay anything out of pocket. Our Zero-Fee Guarantee means we don’t take out attorney fees until we win your case.

Call for a free case evaluation today to get the help you need.

Source: “Lower Extremity Injuries in Motorcycle Crashes” - NHTSA

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