While bicycling is a wonderful form of transportation and carries immense health benefits, the nature of the activity is dangerous. Unlike riding in a motor vehicle, bicyclists are not afforded the same protection and open themselves up to collisions.
Protective equipment and clothing can be worn, but it’s unlikely these things will prevent all injuries. Being as careful as possible and preparing for the worst is the only way to minimize the risk.
The attorneys at Davis Law Group, P.S., have over 20 years of experience representing bicycle accident victims. They’ve found the following injuries to be the most common in bicycle accident cases.
Collisions between cars and bicyclists are the No. 1 cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Cyclists may also suffer major brain injuries if a road isn’t properly maintained or their bicycle has a faulty design or part.
A TBI is life-threatening. While they can vary from mild to severe depending on the force of impact, they should all be taken seriously. You may have a TBI if you experience these symptoms:
- Loss of coordination
- Unusual sleep patterns
More severe symptoms include:
- Problems concentrating
- Blurred vision
- Severe headache
- Memory loss
Bicyclists knocked from their bike by a car or pedestrian are at risk for potentially serious face and eye injuries. These can be extremely painful and result in scarring that may last a lifetime.
A jaw fracture – medically referred to as a “mandibular fracture” – is a fracture of the bone that causes the mouth to open and close. Breaking the jaw bone requires a great deal of force, and often coincides with spine and head injuries. To fix a broken jaw, the victim’s jaw is wired shut to put the bite back in place.
Eye damage can occur when a bicycle accident occurs, though cyclists can lessen their risk of eye injury by wearing eye protection. Things such as broken noses and chipped teeth may also occur, injuries that are not life-threatening but can have a significant impact on your short-term quality of life.
When a bicyclist loses control, or is struck by a vehicle, there’s a good chance bones will be broken. The fall from the bike to the ground, as well as the collision, can be significant, causing all sorts of damage to the bicyclist.
Bicyclists typically try to brace themselves when they’re knocked from their bike. Doing so with their hands often results in broken bones. The scaphoid, radius, or ulna bones are three of the easiest bones to break. When these wrist bones break or fracture, it can cause extreme pain and swelling.
A doctor might recommend two types of treatment for a broken wrist:
- Nonsurgical: A cast is placed around the hand/forearm all the way up to the elbow. How long the cast is required depends on the severity of the injury.
- Surgical: A metal implant may be required to provide support to the bone and help it heal correctly. Screws or wires may be used.
Internal injuries can be difficult to diagnose on the scene of a bicycle accident. The following are common signs of internal injuries:
- Loss of consciousness
- Swelling or pain in the abdomen
- Discolored skin
- Light-headedness or fainting
Internal injuries are serious and almost always warrant a trip to the hospital. Any of the symptoms above may be caused by any of the following internal injuries:
- Tears in the aorta, superior or inferior vena cave or branches
- Tears, cuts or blunt trauma to organs (spleen, liver, etc.)
- Bleeding around the lungs (hemothorax)
- Bleeding around the heart
Joint and Ligament Injuries
Any injuries to “soft” areas on the body – ligaments, tendons, muscles, etc. – are referred to as soft tissue. The following are examples of joint and ligament injuries:
- Sprains: damage to a ligament due to overextension
- Contusions: bruises
- Strains: overuse of muscle
Soft tissue injuries are usually associated with a great deal of soreness, swelling, bruising and stiffness. While nowhere near life-threatening, they can influence a bicycle accident victim’s quality of life. An avid bicyclist may have trouble getting back on a bike if a soft tissue injury is severe enough.
Other Bicycle Injuries
- Lacerations: Cuts and scraps may seem minor, but can be devastating if not treated
- Dental injuries: The face is exposed to danger in a bicycle collision
- Spinal cord injuries: The second-most serious injury in a bicycle accident, following only brain injuries
- Death: Victims may pass away after a serious bicycle collision
Legal Help After A Bicycle Accident
If you have suffered any injuries after being in a bicycle accident, it may be in your best interest to file a personal injury claim. An attorney will be able to tell you whether someone was negligent or reckless in causing harm to you, and whether you might be able to collect damages to cover your losses.
Have the facts of your claim reviewed by Davis Law Group today. Call (206) 727-4000, fill out the contact form on this page or use the chat feature below for a free case evaluation.