What Is a ‘Biker’s Arm’ Motorcycle Injury?

North Carolina Department of Transportation statistics indicate that more than 3,000 motorcyclists suffer injuries in accidents in our state every year. As these statistics reveal, when collisions between motorcycles and motor vehicles happen, motorcycle riders and passengers typically will suffer the brunt of the impact. This is true for three main reasons:

  • Vehicles simply outweigh motorcycles. Standard passenger vehicles weigh around 4,000 pounds or more, while standard motorcycles weigh around 400 pounds. In other words, vehicles are about 10 times heavier than motorcycles.
  • Motorcycles provide no structural protection. Nothing absorbs the impact of the collision. When a car strikes a motorcycle, it is essentially a direct hit on the motorcyclist.
  • Motorcycles lack restraints. Upon impact, no seat belt will keep a rider or passenger strapped in. As a result, motorcyclists typically are ejected from the bike in accidents.

Another frequent cause of injuries in motorcycle accidents is the motorcycle landing on the rider’s arm after he or she is knocked off the bike. It can cause the motorcyclist to suffer what is commonly called “Biker’s Arm” or “Rider’s Arm.”

What Is Biker’s Arm?

Biker’s Arm is a broad term for the nerve damage that a motorcyclist can suffer in his or her arm and hand when the motorcycle – again, typically weighing around 400 pounds – lands on the arm. The nerve damage can result in partial or complete paralysis of the arm and hand. The motorcyclist may, in turn, need extensive medical treatment. The injury may also limit the motorcyclist’s ability to work and enjoy life as he or she did before the crash.

Biker’s Arm usually involves damage to one or more of the following nerves which branch from the brachial plexus located at the base of one’s neck:

  • Median nerve – This nerve transmits signals to the front of the forearm and to muscles in the palm of your hand at the base of the thumb. It is sometimes called “the laborer’s nerve.”
  • Radial nerve – This nerve controls movement of the muscles located at the back of your upper arm, or triceps. It also controls movement in the wrists, fingers and part of the hand.
  • Ulnar nerve – This nerve runs behind the elbow and controls fine movements of the fingers. It is often referred to as “the musician’s nerve.”

What Are Symptoms of Biker’s Arm?

Biker’s Arm is a type of injury that may not be immediately apparent to a victim. Some of the symptoms of Biker’s Arm that you should pay attention to after a motorcycle crash are:

  • Weakness – Some nerves transmit motor signals. If these nerves are damaged, you may experience loss of function in your arm and hand.
  • Numbness – If nerves which carry sensory signals sustain damage, you may experience partial or complete numbness in your arm and hand. Some people describe it as a “tingling” feeling.
  • Pain – In some cases, a person may feel a burning or throbbing sensation at the site of the nerve damage. This pain may radiate through the limb.

You should always see a doctor after a motorcycle accident of any kind. However, this is especially true if you detect any of the above symptoms. The sooner your injury is diagnosed, the sooner you can begin treatment.

Also, timely medical documentation of your motorcycle injury will be important if you pursue an injury claim in the aftermath of your crash. If you wait too long to see a doctor, an insurance company may try to argue that your motorcycle accident didn’t cause your injury, or the insurer may try to downplay the serious nature of the harm that you have suffered.

What Type of Treatment Can You Get for Biker’s Arm?

When you go to a doctor with Biker’s Arm symptoms, the doctor may order you to undergo one or more imaging tests. An X-ray, MRI or CT scan can help the doctor to determine the nature and extent of your nerve damage. The doctor will also want to know whether you are experiencing loss of sensation and control in your arm and hand.

The type of treatment that the injury requires will depend on the severity of the nerve damage. If you have sustained minor nerve damage, the doctor may simply prescribe pain medication, analgesics, massage or physical therapy. The treatment will focus on helping you to cope with a period when the nerves will essentially repair themselves.

However, if you have suffered severe nerve damage such as a cut nerve, you may need surgery. In the aftermath of the surgery, you could require extensive physical therapy and additional follow-up treatment.

Our Goldsboro Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Can Help You

When you suffer a motorcycle injury such as Biker’s Arm, you may quickly see your medical bills pile up. Your situation can become even more challenging if the injury prevents you from being able to return to your former line of work, or if it keeps you from working at all. The loss of income can have a devastating impact on your life.

However, if another driver’s negligence caused the injury, you may have many options available to you. It will be important for you to seek help from an experienced motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible. The attorney can help you to understand and explore all of your options.  

For instance, at Strickland Agner Pittman, we can help you to file a claim against the at-fault driver and seek recovery of damages through the driver’s liability insurance policy. Those damages can cover your:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost income and diminishment of future earning ability
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • All other related, out-of-pocket costs you have incurred.

Depending on the facts of your case, you may also be eligible to file a claim with your own insurance company such as an uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) claim. We will identify all sources of compensation available to you with the goal of maximizing the amount of your financial recovery. To learn more, contact us today and receive a free consultation through our office in Goldsboro, Kinston or Fayetteville.