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Spinal Cord Injuries You Might Suffer in a Motorcycle Crash

On Behalf of | Nov 8, 2023 | Motorcycle Accidents

Since the spine carries impulses from the brain to control the motion of the body, spinal injury can affect many bodily functions, sometimes causing partial or complete paralysis. The effects of paralysis are not only physical but also emotional, mental, and social.

Unfortunately, medical science has not yet discovered a way to repair spinal injuries, so you might need lifelong care if you suffer one after a motorcycle crash. For this reason, the claim you file against the negligent driver and/or other defendants who caused your accident could be extremely high. Understanding your injury and working with an experienced attorney can help you get fair compensation for your damages.

Spinal Cord Injury Symptoms

Immediately after your accident, you might not have any symptoms at all. In the days following the crash, though, any of the following symptoms could mean that you have a spinal cord injury:

  • A feeling of pressure or pain in the back, head, or neck.
  • A loss of bladder or bowel control.
  • Sexual dysfunction.
  • Problems with coordination or balance.
  • Weakness or immobility in any part of the body.
  • Numbness or tingling in fingers, toes, or other extremities.
  • Breathing problems.
  • Back or neck stiffness.
  • Trouble with balance, mobility, or coordination.

It’s important to get medical attention as soon as possible after a motorcycle accident. A doctor’s exam and/or X-rays might reveal injuries you don’t even know you have. The time between your injury and your treatment can affect the complications you might have and how much recovery you might experience.

Types of Spinal Cord Injuries


Motorcyclists who suffer complete spinal cord injuries lose all feeling and movement below the place on the spine where the injury occurred. The result could be paraplegia, which means loss of movement in the trunk, legs, and feet, or quadriplegia (also known as tetraplegia), which means paralysis from the neck down, including the arms and hands.


Accident victims with incomplete spinal cord injuries maintain some degree of sensory and motor function below the point of the injury. Just how much function remains depends upon the specific injury. Some examples are:

  • Anterior cord syndrome. Only the front of the spinal cord is affected. Victims who suffer anterior cord syndrome might lose sensation below the point of injury and/or have problems with body temperature.
  • Central cord syndrome. Only the middle of the spinal cord is affected. Victims with central cord syndrome might lose the ability to move their arms but still be able to move their legs.
  • Posterior cord syndrome. Only the back of the spinal cord is affected. Victims with posterior cord syndrome might lose some of their coordination but still be able to feel sensations.
  • Brown-Sequard syndrome. Either the right or left side of the spinal cord is affected, but the opposite side is intact. Victims with Brown-Sequard syndrome might lose the ability to move one side of the body but maintain sensation there, while they lose sensation but maintain the ability to move on the other side.
  • Cauda equina lesion. The nerves between the first and second lumbar regions are affected, causing a complete or partial loss of sensation.

Spinal Stenosis

Stenosis occurs when the accident dislocates or fractures the back, putting pressure on the spinal nerves and causing pain, loss of feeling, weakness, and/or a tendency to fall down easily.

Have You Suffered a Spinal Cord Injury in a South Dakota Motorcycle Accident?

Just as medical attention is critical to understanding and dealing with your injury, consulting an experienced motorcycle accident attorney is critical to receiving the compensation you deserve for your medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact us online, start a chat, or call us at 605-644-5003 to schedule a free consultation. We take cases on a contingency fee basis, so you pay no attorney fees until we win your case.