With cities like Kirkland and surrounding communities, the state of Washington is one of the most beautiful states in the nation for bike riding, as well as one of the most bicycle-friendly states. However, despite its bicycle-friendliness, there were 12 cyclist fatalities in Washington in 2012, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Many more were injured, some severely so.
While some injuries may be as minor as insignificant bruising or abrasions, others may be serious. One of the most serious consequences to a cyclist is a spinal injury that causes paralysis after a bike accident.
Paralysis from Spinal Cord Injury in Bicycle Accident
The most common cause of paralysis in an otherwise healthy person is an injury to the spinal cord. While spinal cord injuries are not too common in cycling accidents, they do happen. This might be the case if the individual is thrown over the handlebars in a serious collision, for example. Trauma may also result from the car itself hitting the cyclist’s back, or from the impact of the cyclist being thrown from the bike and hitting the ground.
The area in the spine that was injured often affects the parts of the body affected.
- The spinal cord in the cervical region (neck)
- The thoracic region (mid-back)
- The lumbar region (lower back)
- The sacral region (lowest part of spine)
Injuries to the cervical spine may result in quadriplegia (all four limbs affected), while injuries lower on the spinal cord may affect only the legs and certain body systems.
The paralysis may be complete or incomplete. In a case of complete paralysis, the patient loses all feeling and mobility in the affected body regions. In a case of incomplete (partial) paralysis, the patient may retain some feeling and mobility in the affected body regions.
Liability for Paralysis after a Bike Accident
If a cyclist was paralyzed from a bike accident, then he or she may hold a negligent party liable if that party caused the accident. For example, if a driver opened her car door in the cyclist’s path – which is referred to as a dooring injury – and the cyclist flips over the handlebars, injuring his back, then the driver may be liable for any resultant damages.
Other common acts of negligence that might leave a motorist liable include turning in a bicyclist’s path, failing to leave enough room for the cyclist, driving while impaired, and other negligent or reckless driving behaviors.
If a motorist is to blame, then the injured cyclist can file a liability claim with the motorist’s insurance company. In some cases – such as when damages are extensive – the bicyclist may have to pursue a lawsuit to recover short- and long-term damages.
In some cases, a bicycle manufacturer may be liable if the bike contained a defect that caused the crash. This would require filing a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
Account for All Damages in Liability Cases for Paralysis after a Bike Accident
If you or a family member is paralyzed from a bike accident, you probably have a lot of damages for which to account. This includes any emergency treatment and surgery and lost time from work while recovering.
But your claim should also account for long-term care required, such as nursing care or future treatments. Modifications to a home or vehicle may also be necessary to allow the injured cyclist to move around the home with greater ease and drive a vehicle.
Further, account for any loss of earning capacity related to the injury. Talk to a Kirkland attorney about all of the damages to which you may be entitled – and don’t forget about emotional pain and suffering damages related to the accident and resultant paralysis.
Seek Legal Advice to Discuss Paralysis after a Bike Accident & Filing a Claim
If you suffered paralysis after a bike accident in Kirkland caused by a motorist, you have three years from the date of injury to file a personal injury claim. Call Max Meyers Law PLLC at or contact us online to get started with your case.