The legs may be vulnerable in a motorcycle accident, as the bike may fall on the legs and given the relative lack of protection that motorcycles offer compared to passenger vehicles. Because of the obviously important role legs play in someone’s life, a severe injury can be debilitating. And in some cases it may even result in permanent disability.
Types of Leg Injuries Sustained in a Motorcycle Accident: Fractures
Different parts of the leg can be broken; some suffer a single break and others experience multiple leg fractures in different locations.
Fractures will significantly impact an individual’s recovery if they happen:
- to the tibia (shinbone);
- fibula (outer lower leg bone); and
- femur (thighbone).
A relatively minor break is a stable fracture, where the broken ends of the bone are still aligned and typically stay in place when healing. In a displaced fracture, the broken ends aren’t aligned, which often requires surgery.
A transverse fracture is a horizontal fracture, while an oblique fracture occurs at an angle. A spiral fracture, as its name implies, is a spiral-shaped fracture.
More serious types of fractures include a comminuted fracture, where the bone shatters into three or more pieces, and an open (or compound) fracture, where the bone pierces through the skin. This can cause damage to other tissue such as tendons, muscles and ligaments. An open fracture may also leave the patient susceptible to infection.
Leg Injury in a Motorcycle Accident: Traumatic Amputation
If the leg is crushed, which could happen if it becomes pinned underneath the motorcycle or another object, the leg could be partially or completely severed. When it’s partial, a surgeon can sometimes reattach the leg. But in a complete severance of the leg, the accident victim may learn to adapt without or get fitted with a prosthesis.
Injuries to the Leg in a Motorcycle Accident: Knee Injuries
The knees can be injured as well. Some of the types of knee injuries include:
- meniscus tear; and
- a laceration into the joint.
However, in a serious motorcycle crash it may be unlikely that only the knees are injured, the rider may experience significant and extensive lower extremity injuries.
Hurting the Leg in a Motorcycle Accident: Achilles Tendon Injuries
The tissue that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone (Achilles tendon) can also be damaged in a motorcycle accident. Because of the limited blood supply, the tendon is prone to injury. Injuries could include a laceration of the tendon or a ruptured or torn tendon.
Prognosis of a Leg Injury after a Motorcycle Accident
The nature of the leg injury will determine the prognosis. Fractures can take a few months or longer to heal. This depends on the type and its severity. Part of a successful recovery may include physical therapy. Of course, if there were multiple and/or severe fractures, it’s possible the leg will never function as it once did.
The prognosis for someone who has suffered a traumatic leg amputation is dependent on several factors like:
- underlying health conditions; and
- level of the injury (above-the knee versus below-the-knee).
The injury could likely alter one’s life, but many go on to live full, productive lives.
A knee injury or Achilles tendon injury may require conservative treatments, or may require surgery. Many recover from these injuries, though some severe injuries may have lasting effects.
Seeking Compensation When a Motorcycle Accident Causes Leg Injuries
Even those who sustain a fracture can expect a long road to recovery. This means substantial medical costs, which will be even higher for a severe injury.
It’s important to also consider future medical needs, such as:
- a wheelchair;
- additional surgery; and
All of these medical costs should be considered in a claim if someone else was at fault for the motorcycle accident. These injuries can also impact the person’s ability to work. Some will be unable to work for several months and others may never be able to return.
Compensation could address:
- lost wages;
- loss of earning capacity;
- pain and suffering;
- disfigurement; and
- permanent disability (if applicable).
Make sure you get help recovering compensation if your injuries are severe and alter your lifestyle. Gacovino, Lake & Associates helps motorcycle accident victims who suffer extensive and serious damages, so call us today to set up a consultation – 800-550-0000.