Motorcycle accidents, even those that occur at relatively low speeds, can result in a number of serious injuries. One injury you may be unfamiliar with is known as rider's arm.
About Rider's Arm
Rider's arm, sometimes called biker's arm, is a type of motorcycle accident injury that occurs when someone instinctively tries to break his fall by extending his arms straight out. When the motorcycle lands on the extended arm, internal damage to the radial, median, and/or ulnar nerves can result. Here is a brief look at how these nerves affect the body:
- The radial nerve allows for feeling on the skin on the outside of the thumb, back of the hand, index finger, middle finger, and a portion of the ring finger. It transmits the signals necessary to straighten the elbow, move the wrist, and wiggle the fingers.
- The median nerve is responsible for giving feeling on the skin throughout most of the hand—including the palm, index finger, middle finger, and thumb.
- The ulnar nerve gives the skin feeling on the outer part of the hand, palm, little finger, and ring finger. It sends signals to bend the wrist and fingers, in addition to allowing the fingers to move from side to side.
Types of motorcycle accidents associated with rider's arm include:
- Bad weather accidents
- Construction zone accidents
- Blind spot accidents
- Speeding accidents
- Left turn accidents
- Inexperienced rider accidents
- Drunk driving accidents
Wearing a sturdy jacket with elbow pads can possibly reduce the risk of suffering from rider's arm, but this type of injury can still occur even if you are wearing full protective gear.
Symptoms of Rider's Arm
Symptoms of rider's arm will vary depending on which nerves are affected, but they can include:
- Being able to move the arm but not the fingers
- Having little or no control over the muscles in the shoulder and elbow
- Diminished sensation in the arm, hand, or fingers
- No movement or sensory function in the entire arm
- Limited movement in both arms
The symptoms of rider's arm, much like whiplash, may not appear immediately. Symptoms that do appear immediately could also indicate a potential spinal cord injury. For your own safety, it's crucial to seek a complete medical evaluation after a motorcycle accident.
Treatment for Rider's Arm
Treatment for rider's arm depends on the extent of the injury. A minor to moderate case can be treated with chiropractic care, massage, and physical therapy. Prescription analgesics may also be used to provide pain relief.
In a severe case, the nerve damage from rider's arm may lead to permanent loss of arm function. The type of paralysis that is experienced will depend on which nerve in the arm was damaged.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim
If the motorcycle accident that caused your injury was the result of another party's negligence, you can file a personal injury claim seeking reimbursement for several types of accident-related expenses, including:
- Medical care, including emergency care and follow-up visits
- Lost wages from the time you were recovering from your injuries
- Applicable loss of future earning potential, if your nerve damage has caused paralysis that limits your ability to return to work
- Pain and suffering, including both physical pain and emotional trauma
To win your case, you must be able to document your damages and establish that the defendant is liable for your injuries. Types of evidence that can be used to build your case include copies of your medical records, witness testimony, surveillance video, dash cam footage, photos of the accident scene, and reports filed by law enforcement.
If you were speeding or partially at fault for the accident that caused your injuries, Louisiana law still allows you to file a personal injury claim. As a partially at-fault biker, your settlement will be proportionally reduced to reflect your financial responsibility for your injuries.
How Neblett, Beard & Arsenault Can Help
Neblett, Beard & Arsenault's experienced personal injury attorneys are committed to protecting Louisiana residents who've sustained serious motorcycle accident injures due to the negligence of others. Contact us online or call our office directly at 318.541.8188 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your legal options.