There have been many advancements in motorcycle safety over the years, from improvements to helmet designs to padded jackets that prevent serious trauma, but these are still some of the most dangerous accidents on New York roadways. Motorcyclists are exposed to numerous elements in a collision and can sustain a significant amount of trauma as a result of a negligent driver. One of the most devastating injuries is biker’s arm, which often leads to long-term disabilities.
If you or someone you loved suffered biker’s arm after a collision with a negligent driver, then you may be able to recover compensation in a motorcycle accident claim. But to do that, you will need the aid of an experienced New York biker’s arm attorney. Insurance companies are unlikely to provide proper compensation for your injuries, least of all biker’s arm. But with the aid of Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, you may be able to hold the at-fault driver accountable for your injuries. Call us at (212) 986-7353 to learn how our legal experts can represent you in a claim.
During a motorcycle accident, riders are often thrown from their bikes and slammed against the pavement. This collision can cause internal trauma within their arms and shoulders, often leading to nerve damage. Sometimes this occurs due to a broken bone that tears the nerve, while other times it is merely due to increased pressure.
This nerve damage ultimately leads to a condition called biker’s arm, which presents with several different symptoms, including:
- Weakness in the affected arm, often significantly weaker than the opposite arm
- Numbness in the fingers, hand, wrist, arm, and shoulder, sometimes presenting as pins and needles
- Chronic pain that runs down from the shoulder and presents as a burning or throbbing sensation
- Paralysis in the fingers, hands, or arm
The type of symptoms you experience, and the extent of the damage can also be related to the specific nerve that was damaged. There are three specific nerves that branch off from the brachial plexus, which is located in the neck and shoulder, that, when damaged, can cause biker’s arm:
Ulnar Nerve – Located within the elbow, this nerve extends down into the fingertips and allows us to manipulate small objects. Because it allows us to have extensive control over our fingers, it is also known as the “musician’s nerve.”
Median Nerve – This nerve controls your forearm, the palms of your hands, and the base of your thumb. It allows you to close and open your hands, turn your wrists, lift objects with your forearm’s muscles, and even sense certain sensations with the skin of your hands.
Radial Nerve – Running along the back of your triceps, the radial nerve allows you to flex your upper arm, bear weight on your arms, and control certain parts of the hands and wrists.
Because the symptoms of biker’s arm are not always immediate, motorcyclists may not notice the damage until well after the accident. Most will have some form of pain or numbness as a result of an accident, often due to shock, causing them to ignore most symptoms at first. However, if any of the above symptoms present in the days after the accident or if you steadily develop numbness in your arms or hands, then you may have biker’s arm.
It is important to see a doctor as soon as you can after a motorcycle accident. Getting immediate medical treatment can ensure you receive proper treatment for your injuries and prevent fatal injuries as a result of brain trauma or internal damage. However, if with immediate treatment, there are still long-term consequences of biker’s arm.
Biker’s arm is not an easy injury to recover from and can last for years to come depending on the extent of the nerve damage. When recovering from a motorcycle accident, it is important to understand that the healing process is a marathon, not a race. You will need to work closely with your physicians, surgeons, and physical therapists to gain full control over your arm. Our body’s nerves are extremely small and take a significant amount of time to heal on their own.
During the recovery process, you may have to contend with limited control over your arm and chronic pain. While your doctors will do everything they can to repair the damage and get you back to full health, there is the possibility that you may have permanent weakness in your arm, chronic pain, and even partial paralysis if the nerves cannot be repaired. All of this adds to a costly medical bill and months to years of lost wages.
Treating nerve damage is no easy task, especially after a motorcycle accident. Being hit by a car and slammed against the ground, plus any injuries you sustained from your bike, can cause extensive damage throughout the body, not just the arms. Your initial treatment at the ER will work to treat any immediate injuries that could prove fatal down the line, and afterward, your doctors will work on minimizing any long-term damage like biker’s arm.
In the days to come, your doctor may recommend diagnostic tests like X-Rays, CT-scans, and MRIs to determine what nerves are damaged and how to treat them. Then you will need one or more surgeries to repair the damage, medication to deal with the pain, and physical therapy to regain control over your arm’s muscles. This can be extended if you have any additional soft-tissue damage or broken bones that also need healing.
Altogether, you are looking at a costly medical bill and months out of work. However, all of this can be included in a motorcycle accident claim if a negligent driver caused your injuries. When you file a claim against an at-fault driver’s insurance policy, you can recover compensation for:
- Medical bills, both past and future
- Lost wages
- Lost career opportunities if you are left disabled
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment
But all of this is dependent on the nature of your accident and how your injury relates to the driver’s actions.
Chronic pain, numbness, and paralysis are all difficult conditions for someone to deal with, but insurance companies rarely show much sympathy for them. If you attempt to file a claim on your own, the insurance adjuster may prove dismissive, stating that you are overexaggerating your injuries or that the treatment costs should not be so expensive. That is why working with a motorcycle accident attorney who has experience dealing with traumatic injuries could be your best option.
At Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, our legal team looks at both the legal and medical side of an injury claim. We have extensive experience working with medical experts to diagnose our clients’ injuries and can use their findings to support your injury claim. Insurance companies often reject a motorcyclist’s claims because they do not believe that an auto accident caused it. They may argue that your injuries were work-related or due to overuse and are unconnected to the collision. However, our attorneys can utilize your medical records, work history, and the accident report to clearly outline how the other driver caused your injury.
Contending with biker’s arm on your own is extremely stressful. You are likely struggling to pick up everyday objects, having difficulties keeping up with tasks at work, and are in a great deal of pain. Add on top of the stress of filing an insurance claim and negotiating with the insurance company can make matters a whole lot worse. But there is help available.
If you choose to work with the New York motorcycle accident attorneys at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, our team of experts can shoulder the legal burdens for you. We will focus on dealing with the at-fault insurance company, collecting evidence, and reviewing the accident report to ensure you receive the maximum available compensation. In turn, you only have to focus on healing from biker’s arm and getting back to full health. To learn how we can help you in a free consultation, call us at (212) 986-7353.
Michael Fitzpatrick obtained a settlement for a 58-year-old man who was riding his motorcycle when he was struck by the defendant's vehicle exiting a driveway.
Kenneth J. Halperin represented a motorcycle driver in upstate New York who was ejected from his motorcycle when he ran over a patch of small rocks in a roadway, causing him to lose control of his bike.