When Bicycle Accident Causes Paralysis

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Some bicycle accidents end in potentially serious spinal cord injuries. A traumatic spinal cord injury could result in temporary or permanent paralysis, or loss of sensation or mobility in the extremities, chest and other areas.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 200,000 people currently live with spinal cord injury in the United States. Many such injuries are related to sports accidents and motor vehicle accidents, which may include bicycle accidents.

Types of Spinal Injury Leading to Paralysis

The location of the spinal injury can affect the degree of paralysis:

  • spinal injury in the neck or cervical region - loss of sensation and mobility in the legs, arms and chest;
  • spinal injury in the thoracic region - loss of sensation and paralysis in the chest and legs;
  • lumbar spinal cord injury - loss of sensation and paralysis in the legs; and
  • sacral spinal cord injury - loss of sensation and mobility in the hips and legs.


Not every spinal cord injury is exactly the same. The degree of paralysis and loss of sensation may vary. Some injuries cause complete paralysis, while others cause incomplete paralysis where there may be some sensation and mobility. The patient’s doctor will obviously provide more individualized diagnosis and prognosis. Some other effects of a spinal cord injury are listed below.

Consequences of Paralysis

The patient may also suffer problems with bladder management and bowel control, and may experience pain and respiratory problems. There may be impaired sexual function as well. Bicycle accident victims who suffer paralysis may also suffer from a condition called dysphagia, characterized by difficulty swallowing.

Patients might also suffer from a condition called autonomic dysreflexia, which is potentially life threatening, characterized by:

  • extreme hypertension;
  • severe headaches;
  • lowered heart rate; and
  • cognitive dysfunction.


The patient may also suffer spasticity or stiffness in the muscles, and muscular fatigue or weakness may set in. Patients who are paralyzed might also be at greater risk of depression, lowered self-esteem, anxiety, and stress.

Filing a Claim if You Suffered Paralysis

If you or a loved one suffered paralysis in a bicycle accident, you may file a claim or lawsuit against the party that caused your bike accident. You must establish that the other party caused your accident, though.

For example, witness testimony may indicate a driver veered into the bike lane and struck you. Video surveillance may show a car running a red light. Other evidence could be useful to establish liability as well.

Your attorney can help you provide evidence of not only the other party’s liability, but your damages as well. If you have suffered paralysis as a result of a bicycle accident in Redmond, you may file a claim that takes into account not just your short-term medical expenses, but also the long-term expenses for your care and rehabilitation.

Discuss your options for compensation with a lawyer at Max Meyers Law PLLC. Call us at 425-399-7000 to set up a consultation.

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Max is a Kirkland personal injury attorney handling cases in Seattle, King County & surrounding in WA State.