Motorcycle accidents are among the most fatal traffic accidents because motorcyclists are so much more vulnerable than drivers protected inside a vehicle. While vehicles offer a protective cage of steel that is meant to minimize the impact to the occupants in the event of a crash, motorcyclists often face immediate contact.
Motorcyclists can suffer serious injuries such as paralysis, leaving them unable to work as they once did for the rest of their lives. Complications include:
Paralysis results from serious back and neck injuries. In some cases, you may become paralyzed after a serious head injury. Paralysis typically occurs after the spinal cord has been severely damaged, impeding the brain’s ability to control the limbs through electrical impulses. Paralysis is not always a permanent condition and it comes in multiple forms. Some may be paralyzed from the neck down while others are able to move their limbs but not walk. Others experience only partial loss of function and sensation. If you are paralyzed, your condition may vary depending on which vertebrae were damaged.
Paraplegia is a condition that causes paralysis of the lower half of the body. Quadriplegia affects the arms as well as the legs. It is common for both paraplegics and quadriplegics to require the use of a wheel chair or other assisted devices.
Diagnosing Injuries to the Spinal Cord
Motorcyclists who have been involved in an accident usually require immediate medical attention. If you are unable to move after an accident or have any sensations of weakness or numbness in the body, you may have spinal cord damage. Your medical team may order diagnostic tests to assess the damage (note: hold on to your medical records, your motorcycle accident lawyer can use them in working on your injury claim). MRIs and CT scans can determine where the damage has occurred and how severe it is.
In some cases, a myelography is used to assess subtle forms of damage. In this procedure, the doctor injects dye into your spinal cord nerves and uses x-rays or scans to examine the condition inside the spine. Electromyography measures electrical activity within the muscles to determine how much damage was done to the spinal cord and assess how badly your movement is impaired. This type of procedure is useful when it is not clear whether you will be able to walk or perform other crucial activities over time.
If you have lost sensation or movement, more than just your muscular development will suffer. Paralysis can result in the following problems:
Paralysis can cause serious respiratory problems and paralyzed individuals often require the help of a ventilator to breathe properly. Other complications include bowel and bladder control issues. These problems may necessitate treatment through a catheter, surgery or bowel training programs. Sexual dysfunction is another common paralysis-related complication that may be treated through therapy and medication.
The type of treatment your complications require depends on the severity of the damage. Some people can function well with the help of braces and other stabilizing devices, while others require a wheelchair or scooter. Wheelchairs often require extensive modifications to the home and vehicle, which can be quite expensive.
Most paralysis victims require a combination of medical, technological, therapeutic and surgical treatment. You may also require external stabilization and transportation aides.
Personal Injury Claims After an Accident
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be eligible for compensation. If the other driver acted negligently, he or she may be held responsible for at least part of the damages you sustained. Even if you were partially responsible for the accident, the other driver may be held responsible for a portion of your damages in most states. It is important to consider a variety of factors when filing a personal injury claim, from the extent of your injuries to whether your insurance policy will cover all of your expenses, such as:
There are more expenses involved with paralysis than your initial hospital bills and transportation costs. Always consider the long-term damages and whether your ability to earn a living will be affected by your injuries. A lawsuit can provide you with compensation for your immediate injuries as well as the likelihood of additional expenses in the future. Many long-term therapy programs are expensive and some are not covered by health insurance policies. It is important to ensure that you are compensated for your pain and suffering, permanent disability, emotional damages and reduced quality of life as well as for tangible expenses such as medical bills.
Working with a motorcycle injury attorney is the best way to ensure that your interests are represented. A motorcycle accident attorney has the experience it takes to deal with insurance companies, opposing legal counsel and court deadlines. To maximize your chances at winning a lawsuit, work with an attorney who understands the various complications that arise after paralysis and is willing to help you build a strong case for compensation.
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