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Motorcycle crashes can result in spinal injuries for riders

Even the safest motorcycle rider can, unfortunately, suffer serious injuries when a negligent or distracted driver collides with them. Far too many drivers fail to keep a lookout for motorcycles and fail to see them when they should. Failing to keep a proper lookout when driving could be considered negligence, and negligent drivers are the cause of many motorcycle accidents. And, when a crash occurs, motorcycle riders -- and their passengers -- are much more vulnerable to injury than occupants of enclosed vehicles.

One of the more frequent types of injury to motorcycle riders and passengers is an injury to the spine. One study reviewed records of 1,121 riders involved in crashes and found that 11.2 percent had suffered spinal injuries. Injuries to the thoracic spine -- the section of the spine in the middle and upper back connected to the rib cage -- were most prevalent; 54.8 percent of the spinal injuries occurred in this region. The lumbar, or lower, spine was injured in 29.4 percent of the cases, and the cervical spine -- the region comprising the neck -- was injured in 27 percent. Some of the victims suffered injury to more than one region of the spine.

When a motorcycle rider or passenger suffers a serious neck or back injury, extensive medical care and rehabilitation are often necessary. A significant spinal injury can lead to permanent disability and even paralysis. When the accident is the result of another driver's negligence, the injured rider may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit and claim compensation for medical expenses, loss of income and pain and suffering.

Source:, "Spinal injuries in motorcycle crashes: patterns and outcomes," A. Robertson, P.V. Giannoudis, T. Branfoot, I. Barlow, S.J. Matthews, R.M. Smith, July 2002

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