When a motorcycle crashes, the motorcyclist can sustain a variety of significant injuries. Motorcyclists are exposed to serious injuries with no seat belt, airbag or metal frame to protect them. This can result in damage to vital parts of the body, including the spinal cord. The spine carries messages from the brain to the body. If it sustains an injury in a motorcycle crash, the victim can suffer permanent paralysis.
Complete vs. Incomplete Spine Injuries
There are two main types of spinal cord injuries: complete and incomplete. These terms are used to describe the level of damage done to the spine. With an incomplete injury, the patient will maintain some degree of feeling and function below the point of injury. This means the victim will not suffer total paralysis, or the loss of sensory and motor function. A complete spinal cord injury, on the other hand, can cause irreversible paralysis.
Paralysis Caused by Spinal Cord Injuries
Paralysis refers to a loss of the ability to feel or experience sensations and move or function. With a spinal cord injury, paralysis typically affects the body from the point of injury down. There are several types of paralysis:
- Paraplegia is the loss of movement and feeling in the lower half of the body, or from the waist down. It can occur if the middle or lower back is injured in a motorcycle accident.
- Quadriplegia is paralysis of all four limbs and the trunk of the body, often caused by injury to the upper portion of the spinal cord.
- Anterior cord syndrome is a loss of sensation below the point of injury (as well as possible issues controlling body temperature) due to an injury to the front of the spinal cord.
- Posterior cord syndrome is a loss of coordination caused by injury to the back of the spinal cord. Sensory function is typically retained.
- Central cord syndrome can cause paralysis in the arms but not the legs, often caused by damage to only the middle of the spinal cord.
- Brown-Sequard syndrome is a rare type of spine injury that only affects the right or left side of the body.
How much a motorcycle crash victim is affected by paralysis, if at all, will depend on the severity and location of the spine injury. Unfortunately, there is currently no way to repair spinal injuries or reverse paralysis.
Spinal Cord Injury Symptoms
If a motorcyclist’s spine suffers an impact, blunt-force trauma, concussion, contusion, bruising, a disk injury, dislocation or a vertebral fracture in an accident, the victim may experience symptoms such as:
- Extreme pain in the back, neck or head
- An intense stinging sensation caused by nerve damage
- A feeling of pressure in the back, neck or head
- Trouble breathing
- Weakness or loss of coordination
- Trouble walking or balancing
- Loss of movement or function
- Exaggerated reflexes or muscle spasms
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Tingling or numbness anywhere in the body
- Altered sensations or loss of sensation
- Changes in sexual function and sensitivity
If there are any signs of a back or spine injury after a motorcycle crash in Albuquerque, the victim should immediately obtain professional medical care. Prompt treatment can help prevent a back injury from being exacerbated and causing permanent paralysis.
Recovering Compensation for a Spine Injury Caused by a Motorcycle Accident
If you or someone you love suffered a spinal cord injury in a motorcycle accident, you may be able to recover financial compensation with a personal injury claim. You may have grounds to file a claim if someone else’s negligence caused the motorcycle accident, such as a motor vehicle driver.
The Albuquerque motorcycle accident attorneys at The Fine Law Firm can help you hold someone accountable and pursue the case results you deserve after being diagnosed with a spine injury. A settlement or verdict could cover your related medical bills, lost wages, disability, pain and suffering, and more. Contact us at (505) 889-3463 for a free legal consultation with an attorney.