Spinal Injuries

The nature of cycling leaves riders vulnerable to the possibility of a spinal cord injury in a bicycle accident, especially when a motor vehicle is involved.

Spinal injuries can result in serious and lifelong consequences, up to and including paralysis and death.

If you have suffered a spinal injury as a result of a Boston bicycle accident, the injury lawyers at Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers and BikeAttorney.com can help.

Serious spinal cord injuries often require physical therapy, surgical interventions, chiropractic care, epidural injections and more. The long-term effects can make maneuvering around an urban environment even more difficult. Simple tasks of daily life can become cumbersome or impossible.

Injured riders may be entitled to compensation for:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental/ emotional anguish
  • Future medical expenses
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of life enjoyment

Our experienced legal team will work to ensure you receive the maximum compensation for your bicycle accident injuries.

What is a Spinal Cord Injury?

There are many types of spinal cord injuries that occur with varying degrees of severity. In a bike accident scenario, we’re talking about an injury that is caused by a sudden, traumatic blow to the spine that either dislocates or fractures the vertebrae.

Most injuries to the spinal cord don’t sever it completely, but the extent of damage will depend on how many axons (nerve cell extensions responsible for sending messages to the brain) have been damaged or destroyed. In some cases, the site of the spinal injury will allow for a nearly complete recovery. In other cases, it can result in total paralysis.

There are two basic types of spinal cord injuries:

  • Complete – Person has total lack of motor or sensory function below the injury site.
  • Incomplete – Person retains some motor or sensory function below the injury site.

Generally, the most severe injuries occur as a result of injury to the cervical spine, which are the vertebrae near the top of the neck and back. Damage to the spinal cord in this area is associated with paralysis – including tetraplegia and quadriplegia – that may necessitate assistance with daily needs and around-the-clock care.

Damage to the thoracic spine – or middle of the back – can also result in paralysis, though injuries generally affect the truck and legs, as opposed to the hands.

It is also possible to suffer damage to the very lower part of the spinal cord, called the lumbar spine. Severe damage to this area is generally associated with some loss of function in the hip or legs and issues with voluntary control of bowel or bladder movements.

Spinal Cord Injuries and Bicycle Accidents

In general, bicycling is a favored form of exercise by people with back pain because it’s gentler on the spine. The problem is when a person falls or is thrown off the bike, particularly after being hit with the full force of a moving car or truck.

Although we don’t know how many bicycle accidents in Boston result in spinal injuries, we do know that certain types of cycling are associated with higher rates of spinal cord injury.

A study published in The American Journal of Sports Medicine indicated mountain bikers accounted for 4 percent of all spinal trauma admissions in British Columbia over a 13-year stretch. Of course, that has much to do with the fact that those on mountain bikes are traveling at high speeds over extreme terrain with long vertical drops. Bicyclists in urban Boston aren’t dealing with the same challenges, but what the lead researcher stated about the connection between spinal injuries and bicycle accidents remains true for all:

“Helmets will not protect you from these injuries, nor will wearing Ninja Turtle-like body armor.”

Another study conducted by Irish researchers with the National Spinal Injuries Unit analyzed in depth three spinal cord injuries suffered by different cyclists. Each incident involved the rider being thrown over the handlebars while traveling downhill. Researchers concluded there are a range of spinal injuries – from mild to catastrophic – that can result from bicycle accidents. Further, while most victims are male, females may suffer more serious injuries because, “they tend to be lighter and thus more easily thrown over the handlebars.”

If you have suffered a spinal cord injury as a result of a Boston bicycle accident, call our offices today.

Contact the Boston Bicycle Accident Lawyers at Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers and BikeAttorney.com at 617-777-7777.