Bike Injuries: Types, Causes and When You Need to Hire a Bicycle Accident Attorney
Have you been involved in a bicycle accident that resulted in injuries? Hire a bike accident attorney today.
If you are someone who believes that bicycling is the best and healthiest mode of transportation, you’re probably right. However, the Centers for Disease Control warns that while cyclists make only about 1% of the country’s trips nationwide, you nevertheless face a much greater risk of serious injury and death than do motor vehicle drivers and passengers. In fact, in 2015 alone, 467,000 cyclists were injured in a crash and more than 1,000 of them died from their injuries. Furthermore, these injuries and deaths resulted in $10 billion in lifetime medical costs and loss of productivity. It’s easy to see why you may want to hire an attorney if you yourself become involved in a crash.
Bicycle Accident Injury Types
Most people only think in terms of cuts, scrapes, abrasions, bruises, strains, sprains and other minor wounds. Unfortunately, these bicycle accident injuries represent only the tip of a very large iceberg. Your bicycle offers you no protection whatsoever in the event of an accident. You could easily suffer one of the following:
Traumatic Brain Injury
When you receive a sharp blow to your head, your head and neck violently jerk back and forth. For example, when you hit your head on the pavement or another hard surface during a bicycle accident. This, in turn, causes your brain to just as violently “slosh around” inside your skull. The result could be a traumatic brain injury, despite the fact that you’re wearing a helmet. No two TBIs are the same, but you can expect to experience any or all of the following symptoms:
- Loss of consciousness
- Blurry or double vision
- Tinnitus (ringing in your ears)
- Difficulty speaking
- Difficulty thinking, understanding and/or remembering
- Dizziness and/or loss of coordination
You could also later develop personality changes, such as an increased level of anger, anxiety and/or depression.
Spinal Cord Injury
Any neck or back injury you receive in a bicycle accident requires immediate medical attention. If you damage your spinal cord or crush one or more of the vertebrae surrounding it, you could wind up partially or totally paralyzed from your point of injury downward. Paraplegia results from a lower back SCI. This means that you will have little or no voluntary movement or sensation in your legs, feet, hips and the parts of your torso below your waist.
Quadriplegia results from an upper back or neck SCI. This type of injury means that you will have little or no voluntary movement or sensation anywhere in your body. Either way, you could be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of your life. In a worst-case quadriplegic situation, you may not be able to care for yourself or perform any of your routine daily functions, leaving you dependent on others to get you in and out of bed, feed you, bathe you, dress and undress you, comb your hair, brush your teeth, etc.
Your arms and legs are at particular risk of breaking in a bicycle crash. Depending on the severity of your injury, this could result in lasting mobility or dexterity problems. Worse yet, it could result in the necessity of amputating your affected limb(s). You also face a strong likelihood of breaking one or more ribs, which could easily negatively affect your ability to breathe properly.
Obviously, you’ll be able to see any bleeding coming from your bicycle crash wounds. What you will not be able to see, however, is the internal bleeding that may well be going on inside your body, particularly in your abdominal area. Gut injuries represent one of the biggest dangers in a bike crash due to all the organs and soft tissues in this part of your body. Many such injuries, and the internal bleeding they cause, can easily become life-threatening in a short amount of time.
Bicycle Accident Injury Causes
Not surprisingly, the biggest cause of bicycle crash injuries is being struck by a car, truck, bus or other motor vehicle. All of these vehicles are substantially larger than your bike. Not to mention they’re more powerful and likely traveling at a much higher speed. All of these factors come together to form the perfect storm for your sustaining serious injuries.
Do not lull yourself into a false sense of security just because you ride in a designated bike lane. Studies have shown that painted bicycle lanes offer you no protection whatsoever. In fact, statistics show the following:
- When drivers overtake you while you’re riding on the shoulder of a street or road, they leave an average of 5.5 feet between you and their vehicle.
- When drivers overtake you while you’re riding in a designated bike lane, they leave only an average of 3.5 feet between you and their vehicle.
- If you’re riding in a narrow lane or on a street or road with a speed limit of 35 mph or greater, whether or not in a designated bike lane, motor vehicle drivers give you the least amount of space.
Bicycle Accident Injury Lawsuits
If someone hits you while you’re out riding your bicycle and causes you injury, you have every right to sue the negligent person for monetary damages. Naturally you will need to hire an experienced bicycle accident attorney to file and pursue your claim. If you win your case, you can expect the judge or jury to award you both economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages represent your medical bills, ambulance bill and your other out-of-pocket expenses to which you can attach a precise amount. Noneconomic damages represent the things to which you cannot attach a precise amount. In particular, your pain and suffering, future medical and rehabilitation expenses, future loss of income, loss of your enjoyment of life, etc.
Keep in mind, most states set a limited amount of time during which you can file your personal injury lawsuit. If you do not file your suit in accordance with these statutes of limitation, you may lose your chance to receive any compensation.
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