Minor Bicycle Accidents Can Have Major Consequences
Bicycling is a healthy, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly way to get from place to place. Many choose to cycle for transportation, recreation, sport, or even as part of the way they make their living. Unfortunately, as is the case with any physical activity, riding a bicycle also exposes individuals to a significant risk of serious injury.
When you’re involved in an unexpected bicycle accident due to someone else’s careless actions, you need to know that help is available. No matter how your accident occurred, the experienced Clearwater bicycle accident lawyers at the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, can help you hold negligent parties liable for their actions.
The Most Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reports that 6,058 bicyclists were injured in traffic accidents during 2012 alone. The state currently leads the nation in bicycle accidents, accounting for 16% of all bike accident cases in the U.S. during a recent year. It is probably safe to assume that the total number of bicycle injuries is significantly higher than this figure when factoring in those injured in non-traffic accidents. For example, some bicyclists may be involved in an accident if a part of their bicycle malfunctions or if there are dangerous hazards or conditions on a bike path, sidewalk, or road.
Due to the lack of protection afforded by a bicycle, cyclists can sustain injuries to any part of the body. Many accidents involve multiple injuries, ranging from minor to severe. When a bicyclist is thrown from their bike and hits a car, the ground, or other objects, there’s no telling what damage the impact will cause.
Broken Bones and Fractures
Due to the position of your upper body while cycling, injuries to the wrists, hands, and arms are common in bicycle crashes. Damage to the teeth is also a possibility, with corrective dentistry being among the most expensive treatments required after an accident. Additionally, broken bones can sometimes cause additional problems, such as in the case of a broken rib that punctures surrounding organs.
Neck and Back Injuries
Common injuries to the neck and back after a bicycle accident include whiplash, dislocation, and more serious issues, such as herniated discs. Neck and back injuries may require multiple surgeries in addition to physical therapy to treat.
Contusions and Soft Tissue Injuries
A contusion is the medical term for bruising. However, when broken capillaries affect large muscle groups and areas of the body, the resulting injuries can be severe. This type of damage to muscles, ligaments, and tendons can occur due to sudden twisting, overextension, or impact during a crash.
Blunt force trauma can lead to internal bleeding, organ damage, or even organ rupture. These types of internal injuries are not always detectable immediately after an accident, and injured bicyclists may not know about them until complications arise.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Falls or collisions can cause injury to the spine or spinal cord, leading to temporary or permanent paralysis and other neurological issues. Spinal cord injuries can be life-changing and require extensive treatment, including physical therapy and rehabilitation, or assistive devices such as wheelchairs and home modifications.
Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Head injuries can range from mild concussions to severe TBIs, which can have long-lasting effects on cognitive and physical functioning. Wearing a helmet can significantly reduce the risk of head injuries or their severity. However, brain injury is often unavoidable and can cause long-term difficulties and even permanent disability.
Road Rash and Lacerations
When a cyclist falls off their bike or is involved in a collision, the friction between their skin and the ground can result in varying degrees of injury to the skin and underlying tissues. Cuts or tears in the skin can also be caused by contact with sharp objects, broken glass, or other debris during a crash.
Torn Ligaments and Tendons
Impact with the ground, vehicles, or other objects can result in bruising or internal injuries to muscles, ligaments, and organs. Additionally, Injuries to muscles, ligaments, and tendons can occur due to sudden twisting, overextension, or impact during a crash.
Some of the above injuries can cause long-lasting pain and physical limitations, even with proper treatment. While some bicyclists require surgeries and long periods of recovery, others may never fully recover from their injuries at all.
Get Treatment As Soon As Possible
Regardless of what types of injuries occur in an accident, you should ensure you receive proper medical treatment as soon as possible. Even if you think you feel okay, only a professional will be able to observe the true extent of the damage. What you think is a sprain may actually be a broken bone, and what you think is just a bump on the head could be a brain injury requiring immediate attention.
Damages Caused by Florida Bicycle Accident Injuries
Those that have suffered severe injuries as a result of a bicycle accident will often have to contend with the damages that will arise as a result. Bicycle accident injuries have the potential to inflict life-changing wounds and long-term complications due to a driver's negligent choices.
Identifying who bears responsibility for the changes you face is the crux of every bicycle accident injury claim. A skilled personal injury attorney will be able to identify and calculate your damages accurately and consolidate the surrounding evidence into a case that thoroughly represents your losses. Some of the most common damages that may be claimed in a bicycle accident injury case include:
- Lost Wages
- Medical Expenses
- Loss of Earning Potential
- Pain and Suffering
Helmets Do Not Always Prevent Head Injuries
Florida law only requires bicyclists under the age of 16 years to wear a helmet, which means many adult riders may be tempted to go without head protection. It’s no surprise, then, that the majority of bicycle accident deaths occur in those aged 20 and older.
Still, your choice to wear or not wear a helmet does not negate the responsibility of others to act responsibly. In some bicycle accident cases, the negligent party may try to limit their liability by claiming that an injured bicyclist would not have received a head injury had they been wearing a helmet. However, statistics published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) indicate that helmets can reduce the risk of injuries to the head by approximately 50 percent, as well as a reduction of 33 percent for neck or face injuries. This data demonstrates that, even if a bicyclist is properly wearing a safety helmet, they still have the potential to suffer severe head and brain injuries.
Our attorneys know how to stand up for your rights. We know that whether you were wearing a bicycle helmet or not, you receive full and fair compensation. Additionally, if you suffered a head injury because your helmet was defective and therefore did not provide adequate protection, we can help you hold the helmet manufacturer liable for the serious injuries and losses you suffered.
Call a Clearwater Bicycle Accident Law Firm Today to Retain Legal Representation
After a bicycle accident, victims are often confused, upset, hurt, and do not know where to turn next. Fortunately, in many cases, an experienced bicycle accident attorney can help victims secure financial compensation for their losses.
The lawyers of the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, have been helping people throughout the state of Florida obtain justice through the legal system since 2009. We work hard to make sure that every client we represent gets the full and fair value of their legal claim. Additionally, unlike many other personal injury law firms, all legal work is performed and processed by an attorney who is a member of the Florida Bar rather than delegated to non-attorney support staff.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756