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Spinal Injury Patterns in Motorcycle Accidents: What the Science Can Tell Us

spinal-injury-patternsStudying a population of nearly 4,000 patients from the UK’s Trauma Audit Research Network Database, researchers found that spinal injuries occurred in 11.2% of motorcyclists and 14.1% of car occupants involved in automobile accidents. Although researchers found greater instances of spinal injuries in car occupants, more severe injuries were noted in motorcyclists. To learn more about the findings of the study and what they mean for drivers today, read on for a short summary and analysis.

Spinal Injury Patterns Resulting from Car and Motorcycle Accidents

A study published in the medical journal Spine concluded that “Spinal injury patterns may reflect differing mechanisms of injury between the restrained car occupant and unrestrained motorcyclist.” After examining the records of 1,121 motorcyclists and 2,718 car occupants involved in automotive trauma, the researchers consistently found that the motorcyclists were more severely injured, experienced more extremity trauma, and had a higher mortality rate than car occupants involved in accidents. Motorcyclists also developed spinal injury patterns consistent with forced hyperflexion of the thoracic spine.

The Role of Seat Belts

The researchers discovered that seat belts, more than any other factor, explained the differences in type and level of severity in spinal injuries. However, car occupants using seat belts also showed higher instances of cervical injuries, neck injuries, and facial injuries due to “abdominothoracic seat belt restraint.” Although these injuries are obviously not ideal, the takeaway is that they are the cost of preventing more serious spinal injuries.

Other Notable Findings

Although the significance has yet to be determined, the following correlations were also noted in the study.

  • Mean ages of victims were 30.2 years for motorcyclists and 37.8 years for car occupants.
  • Victims were predominantly male: 88.9% of motorcyclists and 60.6% of car occupants.
  • Isolated spinal injuries occurred in 23.8% of motorcyclists and 33.9% of car occupants.
  • Thoracic spine was the most common injury in motorcyclists (54.8%).
  • Cervical spine was most commonly injured in car occupants (50.7%).

Whether you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident or car accident, an experienced Denver injury lawyer at our firm can answer your questions and help you seek justice. Contact our firm today for a free consultation.



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