Paralysis is an extremely serious consequence of severe injury to the spinal cord. Unfortunately, this is far too common in motorcycle accidents. While you can survive bad spinal injuries, paralysis is life-altering and requires care for the rest of your life.
How Do You Become Paralyzed?
Paralysis results from serious damage to parts of the spine that could be sustained in a motorcycle accident. Government statistics point out that motorcycle drivers are 26 times more likely to lose their life in a crash than a car occupant.
For those who survive, the risk of spinal damage is still very high for the same reason that death comes at such a higher rate for motorcycle operators: no structural protection.
Some of the different kinds of accidents that might lead to spinal damage include:
• Head-on collisions
• Being rear-ended
• Rear ending a vehicle and flipping over the bike
• Being sideswiped by a vehicle that is passing you or changing into your lane
• Hitting obstacles
• Going over the road
Paralysis Is Determined by the Location of the Damage on the Spine
Where the spine has been damaged affects the type of paralysis that results. For example, damage to your lumbar, the lower spine near the tailbone, may result in weakened legs. Lower spine injuries could result in full-time use of a wheelchair (paraplegic). However, they won’t render you quadriplegic, which is someone who can’t use their arms or legs.
The higher up the spinal cord damage is, the more serious the repercussions will be. Severe damage close to the cervical spine, which is at the neck level, is likely to cause more complete paralysis.
Many consequences can result from paralysis, including:
• Inability to walk
• Inability to lift arms and use hands
• Difficulty breathing
• Problems with digestion
• Choking risk
• Increased risks of infections
• Loss of sexual function
• Loss of bladder and bowel control
• Reduced life expectancy
How to Recover From Paralysis
If you become paralyzed in a motorcycle accident, the paralysis you suffer will most likely be permanent. However, some partial paralysis may be overcome with medical treatment and physical therapy.
Occupational therapy quickly becomes an important term for those who suddenly become paralyzed as a result of an injury. This is the branch of therapy that involves adjusting to altered lifestyles and physical restrictions. An occupational therapist will help patients learn how to operate their wheelchairs and assist with other daily activities that can no longer be performed by a paralyzed person.
For many newly paralyzed individuals, there is a great feeling of loss at no longer being able to take part in many of your favorite activities. Riding a motorcycle is a prime example. Athletes of all kinds will find their lives drastically altered, and depression is a high concern for paralysis victims.
Thus, it is critical to seek mental health assistance from professionals as well as loved ones. A very effective strategy for many individuals with paralysis is finding new hobbies that they are able to do in their new and more limited condition.
It is vital that newly paralyzed people find ways to adjust to their new condition, continue to pursue happy and meaningful lives, and get answers to frequently asked questions.
For victims of paralysis whose condition was caused by a motorcycle accident, legal remedies are available in many cases that guarantee a fair shot in court at claiming damages. Compensation can be granted to cover medical costs, emotional distress, and loss of opportunities and work due to paralysis.
Contacting a qualified attorney is advisable, rather than attempting to pursue lawsuits on your own. Many lawyers offer free consultations to review your case and walk you through what a civil action would like. Attorneys can also calculate damages based on the details of your situation and various state laws. This can help you get a better sense of what the likely outcome of pursuing a case might be.