Motorcycle accidents that lead to spinal cord injuries can have a devastating effect on accident victims. This is because of the crucial role the spine has in facilitating communication between the brain and other parts of the body. If you or a loved one suffered a spinal cord injury, you could be facing multiple surgeries, months of rehab, and mounting medical bills. At Petro Law Firm, a Birmingham AL motorcycle accident lawyer can answer your questions and explain your options. Contact us today to learn more.
What Types of Spinal Cord Injuries Do Motorcyclists Typically Sustain?
Located within your spinal column, the spinal cord transports messages to and from the brain. It helps your body perform all of its essential functions — and an injury to the spinal cord can be catastrophic. Think of it like a highway: the brain and your nerves are constantly sending messages through it — and an injury acts like a roadblock that stops this communication.
There are two general types of spinal cord injuries:
- Complete: Damage that causes a complete loss of motor and sensory function below
- Incomplete: Cord damage that limits, but does not completely preclude, communication
However, spinal cord injuries can occur at any level of the spine, including the cervical (neck), thoracic (mid-back), and lumbar (low back). At each level, you may suffer different symptoms and limitations
When you damage the cervical spinal cord, you may suffer quadriplegia, or complete paralysis from the neck down. This condition requires intensive medical care and support services. You may also suffer respiratory issues, decreased sensation, bowel and bladder incontinence, and problems with sexual function.
While your mid-back is more stable and protected than other levels, you can still injure it. If you damage your thoracic spinal cord, you may become paraplegic, losing function in your legs or from the waist down. Again, you may also have issues with bladder and bowel control and sexual function.
Spinal cord injuries in the low back can also cause paraplegia and other related symptoms.
You can also suffer a cord injury in the lowest level of your spine, or tailbone. You may experience paralysis from the hips downward, along with bowel, bladder, and sexual issues.
Treating Spinal Cord Injuries
Depending on the nature of your motorcycle crash and spine injury, you may need surgery, physical rehabilitation, medications, and ongoing medical care. At this time, there isn’t a cure for a complete spinal cord injury — although doctors are searching for treatment options.
How Can You Protect Yourself From Spinal Cord Injuries?
Unfortunately, you can’t prevent every motorcycle wreck. However, there are some ways that you can help reduce your risk of a life-threatening spinal cord injury.
- Wear a helmet. The research is clear: motorcycle helmets save lives and help protect your head and neck during a crash. There is no evidence that motorcycle helmets cause or contribute to spinal cord injuries.
- Use other protective gear. Bikers should always wear protective gear, such as a padded jacket or vest. They can absorb the forces of impact during a crash.
- Don’t drive while impaired or distracted. People driving cars and trucks aren’t always on the lookout for motorcycles. While their behavior can lead to civil liability, you should also operate your bike with a clear head and an awareness of potential road hazards.
Do I Need a Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer After a Motorcycle Crash?
While most bikers are very responsible, there’s an unfair stereotype that they’re reckless and wild. Unfortunately, insurance companies may use public perception to deny your claim. In Alabama, if you’re even 1% at fault for your motorcycle crash, you cannot recover damages for your injuries — even if they involve a devastating spinal cord injury.
To protect your rights, you’ll need a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer. Our attorneys know how to carefully investigate crashes and fight the insurance companies’ smear campaigns.
What Is My Spinal Cord Injury Worth?
While every spinal cord injury is different, many of these claims involve significant damages. Depending on the severity of your injury, you may receive compensation for:
- Medical bills, including your ambulance ride, hospitalization, surgeries, and rehabilitation
- Long-term care, including home health aides and other support providers
- Wheelchairs, walkers, and home improvements that make your home and vehicle accessible
- Lost income and wage earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium with your spouse
Calculating spinal cord damages isn’t an easy process, and you may need to consult with a long-term care planner and other experts before you understand the full value of your personal injury claim.
For this reason, you should never accept an insurance company’s settlement offer before you consult with a Birmingham AL motorcycle accident lawyer. You may end up accepting an unfairly low settlement, forcing you to pay for your future medical and other needs.
Petro Law Firm Can Help
Spinal cord injuries can change your life forever. At Petro Law Firm, we help motorcycle accident victims recover the compensation they deserve and offer them the emotional support they need. To request a consultation, contact us today.