Motorcycle accidents can lead to devastating injuries, including traumatic brain injury and severe road rash. Among the most debilitating is a spinal cord injury that causes paralysis. Victims of these accidents and their families can explore their options to recoup expenses and recover compensation for damages they suffer as a result of the accident and injury.
Overview of Paralysis and What It Could Mean in an Accident Claim
When the spine is damaged, it can result in temporary or permanent paralysis. It could be partial, meaning that there is some function and sensation remaining in the affected area, or it could be complete, meaning there is a total loss of function and sensation in the affected area. It is further classified as paraplegia (affects the lower limbs) or quadriplegia (affects all four limbs).
These types of injuries can happen when a motorcyclist is thrown from the bike, pinned by an object (such as a vehicle), or otherwise suffers trauma to the spinal cord.
It will be critical to determine fault for the accident because paralysis is a costly injury that could lead to substantial medical bills and lost earnings, not to mention other damages for which an accident victim can be compensated in an injury claim.
Impact of Paralysis on Damages Recoverable in an Injury Claim
As noted, paralysis can lead to hefty medical bills because the extent of treatment required to repair any damage in the spinal region and treat the condition as much as possible.
An injury claim, when settled, can supply funds for rehabilitation and medical expenses like:
- physical therapy;
- mobility aids;
- braces; and
Coupled with the loss of mobility, someone who suffers paralysis might experience additional complications. Trying to come to terms with this drastic and unexpected injury can cause many people to go through stages similar to the grieving process, which can lead to depression.
Sexual, bladder, and bowel dysfunction are other complications that patients might experience. Some may also experience respiratory problems if they suffer from quadriplegia. Such challenges can increase medical costs.
Patients may also be unable to work in some cases, leading to lost wages and earning capacity. They may also require long-term nursing care to assist with daily tasks, including bathing, eating, dressing, and more.
Some might need to make modifications to their homes to accommodate a wheelchair. These damages can create a significant financial burden, and those who file an injury claim against a party responsible for the motorcycle accident and resulting paralysis can recover compensation for these damages.
Damages might also include noneconomic damages like pain and suffering, reduced quality of life, permanent disability, and mental anguish. It’s important to discuss with an attorney the various damages that may be recoverable in a personal injury claim, and which may apply to a particular case.
Other Factors That Can Affect Recovery in a Motorcycle Accident Claim
Claimants must consider the negligence laws in their state when pursuing compensation for damages. In New York, for example, claimants can recover damages even if they are up to 99 percent at fault for the accident; they’d only recover damages minus their percentage of fault, though.
Some defendants may try to deflect at least partial fault onto the injured biker in these claims. They may argue the biker was speeding or otherwise driving dangerously. It’s important to present adequate evidence to establish the other party’s fault in these cases.
Use of a motorcycle helmet may be a factor in some cases, especially if the motorcyclist suffered a cervical spinal injury. New York requires helmet use among all riders, but if a rider was in violation of this law, he might be comparatively negligent if not using the helmet contributed to injury severity. This may require expert testimony regarding whether helmet use could have mitigated or prevented the injury.
Talk to an attorney about your case and the many details that may impact recovery. Call Gacovino, Lake & Associates at 800-550-0000 to schedule a free consultation about your case.