Spinal Cord Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents
If you are hit by a car while riding a motorcycle, you may be thrown into the air and hit the ground or another object, such as a passing car. Unlike a passenger or driver of a car, you are not protected by an enclosure, seatbelt, or airbag while on a motorcycle. Accordingly, you are more likely to experience a spinal cord injury. People who sustained spinal cord injuries in motorcycle accidents should discuss their options with the experienced Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyers at Van Sant Law.Spinal Cord Injuries and Motorcycle Accidents
The spinal cord is divided into four sections: sacral, lumbar, thoracic, and cervical. Each of these parts of the spine guard different nerve groups that are responsible for bodily functions. Sacral spinal cord injuries affect the pelvic organs, the buttocks, the backs of the thighs, and the hips. Lumbar injuries affect the legs and hips; in some cases, people with lumbar spinal cord injuries must use a wheelchair or walk with braces. Thoracic spinal injuries affect the abdominal muscles, mid-back, and upper chest. Cervical spinal cord injuries are the most severe level of spinal cord injury; they affect the head and neck region above the shoulders.
There are two categories of spinal cord injuries. Complete spinal cord injuries cause permanent damage to the portion of the spinal cord affected. They can result in quadriplegia or paraplegia. Incomplete spinal cord injuries occur when there is partial damage to the spinal cord. Your ability to move and your sensation depend on the portion of your spine that is injured and the severity of your spinal injury.Liability for Spinal Cord Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents
Your attorney will need to establish another person or entity's liability for a motorcycle accident to recover damages for spinal cord injuries arising out of it. A motorcyclist is mostly unprotected from the force of a collision with a larger vehicle. A motorcyclist could wind up with a complete cervical spinal cord injury, while those inside the larger vehicle may walk away without a scratch. To hold the driver of the larger vehicle responsible, you will need to establish that he owed you a duty to use reasonable care and breached that duty, such that you sustained spinal cord injuries.
There are many ways in which a driver may breach the duty to use reasonable care around motorcyclists. Sometimes motorcycle accidents are caused by drivers who fail to yield at an intersection. Drivers may also breach their duty to use reasonable care by tailgating, speeding, passing too closely, dooring, failing to obey traffic signs and signals, texting while driving, or drunk driving.
Insurers are aware that juries may be biased against a motorcyclist. Therefore, even when the liability of their insured is clear, they may scrutinize a motorcyclist’s conduct to determine whether he was comparatively negligent. When comparative negligence is raised, the jury will determine the total damages and assign a percentage of fault to each person or entity believed to be at fault. Your damages can be reduced by an amount proportionate to your fault. If you were 50% or more responsible for your own spinal cord injuries, you will be barred from recovering damages in Georgia.Damages
The amount and nature of the damages in cases involving spinal cord injuries in motorcycle accidents depend on the severity of the spinal cord injuries. The more severe your spinal cord injuries, the greater the damages that a jury is likely to award. In most cases, once liability is established, you can recover compensatory damages. Moreover, in cases of egregious actions or omissions by the defendant, such as drunk driving, you may be able to recover punitive damages. These are damages meant to punish the defendant and deter future wrongdoers.Retain an Atlanta Attorney
If you sustained spinal cord injuries in a motorcycle accident, you should talk to the seasoned personal injury lawyers at Van Sant Law. We maintain offices in Atlanta, Alpharetta, Athens, Cumming, Duluth, Lawrenceville, and Gainesville, and we represent clients across the state of Georgia. We can sign you up electronically without face-to-face interaction when needed, but we can also visit you in your home. Call us at 855-GA-INJURY or complete our online form.