One of the most devastating injuries to sustain from a motorcycle accident is a spinal cord injury (SCI). Many times this is the result of being violently ejected from the bike. The prognosis will depend on the location and severity of the injury.
How Spinal Cord Injuries Occur in an Accident
The spinal cord is made up of nerves that send signals between body parts and brain. These signals are disrupted when there is an injury that damages the spinal cord.
This may result from a fracture to the vertebrae in the spinal column, for example, which can affect the nerves in the spinal cord. The fractures can cause pieces or parts of the bone to press onto the nerves or cut into the spinal cord tissue. Although rare, sometimes the spinal cord can be completely severed in an accident.
If the injury is complete, there is a total loss of movement and sensation below the level of the injury. If it’s incomplete, there may still be some sensation and movement below the point of injury.
Treatment and Prognosis of a Spinal Cord Injury
When there is a vertebral fracture, surgery is oftentimes necessary not only to repair the vertebrae but also to remove fragments of bone from the spinal column. Surgery may also repair damage to the spinal cord itself, though damage to the spinal cord often results in permanent impairment.
Other forms of treatment for a damaged spine may include:
- mobility aids (wheelchair, braces);
- medication; and
- spinal traction in order to keep the spine from moving.
Rehabilitation is almost always necessary after surgery or at some point in the future for those who don’t undergo surgery. This may include occupational, physical and other forms of therapy.
The prognosis can be good for some. But even then, healing may take several months or even longer. For others, the injury is life-altering and the patient may be permanently disabled.
Recovering Damages When a Motorcycle Accident Leads to SCI
The medical costs for this type of injury can be substantial. The long-term (and sometimes lifetime) care that is necessary can be quite extensive.
If someone else’s negligence caused the motorcycle accident, such as the driver turning left in front of the bike at the intersection of Byberry and Hulmeville in Bensalem then it’s important to consider taking legal action via an insurance claim and/or lawsuit against the at-fault party in order to recover those costs.
A claim may also address lost wages during recovery as well as lost earning capacity if the spinal injury results in permanent impairment that prevents the victim from working. Of course, the impact of a spinal cord injury can be significant physically and emotionally.
Non-economic damages could address:
- pain and suffering;
- mental anguish;
- disability; and
- reduced quality of life.
By consulting with an attorney, an injured victim can better understand his/her rights. Legal counsel is also important to gather the evidence necessary to prove someone else was negligent and to establish the extent of the SCI effects on the individual’s life and financials. Contact Cordisco & Saile LLC if your loved one was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident that caused a spinal cord injury. Call us at 215-642-2335.