Request a Consultation
Lawyers meeting

What Spinal Injuries Could Motorcyclists Sustain?

Posted on September 6, 2021 in

Spinal cord injuries are amongst the most serious types of injuries that can occur in a motorcycle accident. However, not all spinal cord injuries are exactly alike. There are various types of injuries that can occur to the spine that can have both short- and long-term effects on a motorcyclist. Here, we want to discuss the most common types of spinal cord injuries that motorcyclists can face in Colorado.

What Spinal Injuries Could Motorcyclists Sustain?

Why are Motorcyclists More Susceptible to Spinal Cord Injuries?

The simple reality is that motorcyclists are more vulnerable on the roadway than others inside traditional vehicles. There is no metal frame, airbags, or seatbelts to protect a motorcyclist. When a collision occurs between a motorcyclist and another vehicle, motorcycle drivers and passengers often sustain two impacts – one with a vehicle and another with the ground. Both of these impacts can lead to spinal cord trauma.

The Spinal Cord Sections and Motorcycle Accident Injuries

There are various types of spinal cord injuries that a motorcyclist can sustain in the event an accident occurs. The severity of these injuries depends on the nature of the collision, the speed of those involved, and how quickly a motorcyclist is able to receive treatment.

The spinal cord is divided into four sections: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral. Each of these parts of the spinal cord guard different nerve groups responsible for various bodily functions.

  • Sacral spinal cord injuries could affect the buttocks, pelvic organs, back of thighs, in the hips.
  • Lumbar spinal cord injuries can affect the hips and legs, and it is not uncommon for victims of injuries to this area who need a wheelchair or braces to walk.
  • Thoracic spinal cord injuries can affect the abdominal muscles as well as the upper chest and mid-back.
  • Cervical spinal cord injuries are the most severe type of spinal cord injury that can affect the head and neck region and cause symptoms throughout the entire body.

Spinal cord injuries can either be “complete” or “incomplete.”

  • A complete spinal cord injury will cause permanent damage to the portion of the spine impacted. This can lead to either paraplegia or quadriplegia, depending on where the spine injury occurs.
  • An incomplete spinal cord injury occurs when there is partial damage to the spinal cord. This can often affect a person’s ability to move as well as their sensation, depending on the portion of the spine injured.

The Cost of These Injuries

When we look at data available from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), we can see that there are around 17,000 new spinal cord injuries that occur each year. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries in the US. These injuries can bring significant costs to victims and their family members. Medical care for the first year of treatment can reach as much as $1.1 million, depending on the level of injury that has occurred. Every subsequent year of medical care can reach as much as $200,000.

However, these are only partial costs. Individuals who sustain spinal cord injuries may not be able to work or earn an income to support themselves or their family members. Additionally, those who sustained severe spinal cord injuries in a motorcycle accident will likely need assistance from medical devices, and they may have to completely remodel their homes or purchase new vehicles to help with mobility.