Motorcycle accidents are among the most devastating vehicle accidents a person can experience. Despite its dangers, motorcycle riding remains a popular method of transportation for many people across not only Kentucky but the nation as a whole. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that motorcycle accidents accounted for nearly 10% of all traffic injuries in 2020.
One of the most common types of injury that can occur in motorcycle accidents is sternum fractures, particularly when the rider is thrown off the bike and hits the handlebars or the ground with their chest. These fractures can be extremely painful and potentially life-threatening, so it’s important to understand what your options are if you suffer one of these injuries.
Work With Experienced and Dedicated Kentucky Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
Suffering a broken bone–or any type of injury–in a motorcycle accident is an unfortunate experience, but it’s not uncommon because of a variety of factors. If you or a loved one have been injured in a Kentucky motorcycle accident, our team at Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC can help. Our team of experienced Kentucky motorcycle accident lawyers can help you understand your legal rights and what you can do to hold the at-fault party accountable. To set up a free, no-obligation consultation, contact us today.
Common Causes of Kentucky Motorcycle Accidents
Riding a motorcycle is a popular pastime for many Kentuckians, and our state has a number of opportunities for them to explore. That said, Kentucky has certain requirements for motorcyclists before they can legally ride in the state. First, they’re required to have a Class M motorcycle license or endorsement on their driver’s license. To obtain this, riders must pass both a written test and a motorcycle skills test. Additionally, all riders must wear a helmet while operating a motorcycle on public roads, as Kentucky has a universal helmet law.
Even with these regulations in place, there are a number of causes of motorcycle accidents that are outside of the rider’s control in Kentucky. Some of the most common causes of these accidents include:
- Negligence of other drivers – One of the primary causes of motorcycle accidents is the negligence of other drivers on the road. Drivers of larger vehicles may not see the smaller motorcycle, or they may underestimate the motorcycle’s speed, resulting in collisions.
- Poor road conditions – Poor road conditions can also lead to motorcycle accidents. Potholes, debris, uneven pavement, and other hazards can cause a rider to lose control of their motorcycle and crash.
- Defective motorcycle parts – Defective parts or equipment can also cause motorcycle accidents. Examples include faulty brakes, worn tires, or malfunctioning lights.
- Dangerous weather conditions – Rain, snow, ice, and other dangerous weather conditions can make roads slick and increase the risk of motorcycle accidents.
- Reckless driving by other motorists – Reckless driving by other motorists, such as excessive speeding, sudden lane changes, or failure to yield, can also lead to motorcycle accidents.
Out of all these causes, it’s often the negligence–or recklessness–of other drivers that have the most impact on accidents. The fact is, when you’re riding a motorcycle, you’re extremely vulnerable to all sorts of injuries. While there are some measures you can take to reduce this risk, like wearing high-visibility clothing and always following the speed limit, you can’t account for the actions of other drivers. Usually, this results in accidents that frequently cause sternum fractures, among other injuries.
How Do Sternum Fractures Happen in Kentucky Motorcycle Accidents?
The human sternum, also known as the breastbone, is the flat bone that is located in the center of your chest. Obviously, this area of the body is extremely fragile, connecting the first set of ribs to the ribcage and protecting the heart, lungs, and other vital organs in the chest. It also supports muscles that are involved in breathing and movement of the arm. With this in mind, it’s easy to see why the sternum is so vulnerable in a motorcycle accident, and why sternum fractures are so often serious and even fatal.
There are a number of different scenarios in which a motorcycle accident can lead to a sternum fracture, such as:
- Frontal impact collision – If a rider collides head-on with a vehicle or object, the force of the impact can cause the chest to hit the handlebars, gas tank, or other hard surfaces, resulting in a sternum fracture.
- Ejection from the motorcycle – When a rider is ejected from the motorcycle during a crash, their body can hit the ground, causing a significant impact to the chest area and potentially resulting in a sternum fracture.
- Sudden stop – If a rider comes to a sudden stop due to an obstacle in the road or another vehicle, the force of the abrupt stop can cause the rider’s chest to hit the handlebars or other hard surfaces, leading to a sternum fracture.
- Rollover accidents – In rollover accidents, a rider may be thrown from the motorcycle and may hit the ground or other objects, resulting in a sternum fracture.
Types of Sternum Fractures
Not only are there many different scenarios in which a motorcycle accident can cause a sternum fracture, but there are also multiple types of sternum fractures that can result. These can include:
- Sternal body fracture – This is the most common type of sternum fracture and involves a break in the body of the sternum. It can occur due to direct impact to the chest area.
- Manubriosternal joint fracture – This type of fracture involves the joint between the manubrium (upper part of the sternum) and the body of the sternum. It can occur due to a significant impact to the upper chest area.
- Xiphoid process fracture – This is a less common type of sternum fracture and involves a break in the xiphoid process, which is the small bony projection at the bottom of the sternum. It can occur due to a direct impact on the lower chest area.
- Comminuted fracture – This type of fracture involves the sternum breaking into multiple pieces. It can occur due to a severe impact to the chest area.
- Dislocated sternum – In rare cases, the sternum can become dislocated from the rib cage due to a significant impact, causing severe pain and difficulty breathing.
As with any injury after a motorcycle accident, your first priority should be seeking medical attention. For an injury as serious as a sternum fracture, you’ll likely need immediate attention to at least curtail the damage. From there, a specialist can provide you with a full diagnosis and treatment plan, which may include surgery and ongoing care.
What Legal Options Do You Have After a Kentucky Motorcycle Accident?
When you’ve been in a motorcycle accident in Kentucky, you have certain legal options for recovering damages–assuming your accident was caused because of the negligence of someone else. Most of the time, this will be another driver who acted negligently and caused the accident. However, there are certain motorcycle accidents that are caused by potholes or other road defects that the local or state government is responsible for maintaining. If that’s the case in your accident, you could potentially pursue a claim against that government entity.
Regardless of who or what entity is responsible for causing your accident, the claim process for recovering available damages will either go through an insurance claim or a lawsuit. Both processes involve you providing evidence of your damages, like medical bills and damage to your motorcycle. Generally, the following damages are available in a motorcycle accident claim:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Damage to your motorcycle or other property
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
As with any claim, what you’re able to recover will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. In the event that your sternum fracture requires surgery or ongoing care, you will likely have more extensive damages. Still, the only way to guarantee that your claim remains as strong as possible is to work with our team of experienced Kentucky motorcycle accident lawyers. We can help you assess the full range of your damages and help you get the compensation you deserve.
Kentucky Motorcycle Accident Victims Can Count On Kaufman & Stigger
Being injured in a Kentucky motorcycle accident is always a difficult situation, even more so when you suffer an injury as serious as a fractured sternum. With such a long road to recovery, you need experience and dedication on your side. At Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, you can count on our team to be there for you when you need it. Our dedicated Kentucky motorcycle accident lawyers have the skills and knowledge necessary to make sure your rights are protected and you are given the legal support you need.
Don’t wait to get the help you need. Contact us as soon as possible to set up a free consultation to learn more.