Everywhere you look, bicycle accidents are on the rise each day. In California, there are various causes of bicycle accidents that range from dangerous and poor road conditions, careless drivers, even pedestrians. Bicycle accidents can cause severe injuries to the victim both physically and emotionally, and in some cases, can result in death. Fortunately, the laws on personal injury in the state of California allows for individuals injured during a bicycle accident to sue the persons responsible for compensation. The victim, after the accident, needs to seek immediate medical treatment, and the person responsible for the accident should pay for it. If you get involved in a bike accident or a loved one is, getting in touch with a personal injury lawyer is crucial. Get in touch with us at The LA Personal Injury Law Firm today, and we will ensure your interests are well taken care of.
Common Bicycle Injuries
Bicycle accidents can be very traumatic. They are unique and common in California with its significant population and thousands of cyclists. Bike accident victims face various kinds of risks that are not exposed to other motorists. They are openly exposed to road hazards as well as other objects. This kind of exposure leads to various injuries that, in most cases, are unique to bike riders. It is essential to understand these potential risks and to take every precaution necessary to prevent them.
Injuries sustained during a bicycle accident can be categorized into two areas. Victims of these accidents will suffer both physical and emotional or psychological trauma. When the cyclist’s body hits the ground or collides with a vehicle, the victim will suffer many injuries to their body. The injuries will range from broken bones to head traumas, among others. Below we shall discuss in detail each type of injury a person can get and what it means to them.
Psychological trauma after a cyclist’s accident can be overwhelming. The injuries will range from fear to get back on the road to post-traumatic stress disorders. Some of these issues may require extended periods of therapy and medication for the victim to feel normal again. Below, we shall also discuss the emotional and psychological trauma in greater detail.
- Physical Injuries
These are the kinds of injuries a cyclist would suffer on their body after an accident. The injuries will depend on the level of impact and where the accident occurred. Some injuries can lead to permanent disabilities, while others can result in the death of the victim. Because of the severity of the injuries, one can sustain, the law requires cyclists to wear protective clothing. One of the most commonly advocated protective gear is the helmet. Although the helmet does not guarantee that a person will not suffer head injuries, it, however, reduces the risk significantly. Brain and head injuries are some of the injuries that can cause fatality to a cyclist, and being able to reduce the risk by wearing a helmet is a prudent thing to do.
Some of the physical injuries common in bicycle accidents include:
When a cyclist hits the ground or is involved in a collision where he or she hits their head hard, they may suffer head and brain injuries. One can experience a fracture of the skull that, in some cases, can lead to bleeding to the brain. One of the signs of brain trauma would be losing consciousness. Some injuries can lead to a person going into a coma, which can affect their likelihood of recovery. In some cases, the victim can go into a coma for prolonged periods and other times. The trauma can lead to fatality.
Head traumas can also result in disorientation and memory loss. A cyclist can lose their memory immediately before the accident and will not be able to recall what happened. Dizziness and severe headaches are also other symptoms a cyclist can suffer from after a crash. One of the common results after an accident is a concussion. When the accident happens, the brain can get shaken in the skull leading to a concussion.
Head injuries can lead to many complications if not addressed immediately. Some of the other complications victims can suffer from include:
- Feeling nauseated and frequent vomiting
- Speech challenges
- Feelings of Fatigue and drowsiness
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Difficulties in maintaining balance and dizziness
- Loss of concentration and memory challenges
- Numbness in the toes and fingers
- Seizures and convulsions, among others.
Head traumas are severe and can lead to permanent injuries to the victims. Trying to be a more mindful cyclist as well as wearing a protective helmet can significantly reduce the risks associated with head injuries.
Spinal cord injuries are one of the most common injuries in bicycle accidents. The complete exposure of a cyclist’s body leads to severe injuries of the body. Spinal injuries due to bicycle accidents have been reported to account for at least 3% of spinal cord injuries in America. The injuries to the spine can be so severe in some cases leading to permanent paralysis. When this happens, it drastically changes the life of a person, and they become dependent on others.
A victim of a bicycle accident can also suffer from a slipped disc. There are many medical terms used to describe a slipped disc. Some of them are prolapsed disc, disc protrusion, or even a herniated intervertebral disc. The ligaments of the spinal cord are what keeps the spinal discs in position inside the vertebrae. The discs are designed to act as shock absorbers keeping the vertebrae from having friction from each other.
If during the accident, a person suffers an injury of the spinal disc, the soft tissues underlying it may swell and put pressure on the spine. Sometimes the displaced disc may come back to its position, but sometimes it may lead to a severe injury that involves dislocation of the disc.
When the disc is dislocated, a person can suffer severe back problems that may affect the rest of their lives. In some cases, the victim is forced to go for surgery to correct the dislocated disc. Injuries to the spine can also lead to damage to some nerves. This can lead to neurological challenges causing one to lose feeling in some parts of their body.
In some cases, spinal injuries lead to fatalities. The victim can suffer intense spinal trauma that can cause damage to some organs or internal bleeding, leading to death. Lower back problems are also experienced after a bicycle accident that can lead to significant discomfort and high medical bills in physiotherapy.
Cyclists are at a higher risk of suffering from broken bones as compared to other motorists. This is because they have no protective cover like motorists, and when an accident happens, their bodies bear the direct impact. Following a bike accident, any bone can break. Some of the bones will include:
- Facial injuries – a cyclist can suffer from broken cheekbones, broken nose, or even broken or chipped teeth. These kinds of injuries may result in one needing reconstructive surgery. In some cases, these surgeries may disfigure a victim more.
- Skull – the skull is made of bone, and it protects the brain. With direct impact, the skull can be broken or suffer a fracture that can be dangerous to the victim.
- Neck Injuries – during an accident, a cervical vertebra can break, which is found between the shoulders and the skull. If it does, it results in a severe injury to the victim. When the vertebra is broken, the spine may lack adequate protection. As a result, death or paralysis may be the ultimate result.
- Back Injuries – just like a broken neck, a broken back is also dangerous to the victim. When a vertebra that protects the spine breaks, it exposes the spinal cord to significant risk and injury that may result in permanent disability.
- Collarbone – this is one of the most common injuries following a bike crash. This will lead to difficulties in moving your hands or doing things that were normal before using your arms.
- Broken ribs – when one breaks their ribs, it can lead to excruciating pain. With broken ribs, a person may find themselves missing work for several weeks until they are completely healed.
- Broken legs and arms – when you collide while riding a bicycle, one can fall badly, resulting in breaking your limbs or fracturing them. This is also a painful experience that may cause you to miss work or depend on others to do things for you.
- Wrists and hands – instinctively, bikers will put their hands out during an accident in an attempt to protect themselves. As a result, the hands can get a severe impact that may lead to having them broken as well as their wrists.
- Ankles and feet – when the accident happens, the feet of a cyclist can be caught up under the cyclist or the car they get to a collision with. This may result in one breaking their feet or ankles, making it difficult to walk.
- Internal Injuries/Bleeding
Many individuals involved in bicycle accidents may suffer from internal injuries or bleeding, especially if the impact was severe. There are various types of internal injuries a victim can suffer from. Some of these may include:
- Brain hemorrhage when the skull breaks or suffers a fracture
- Damage to internal organs such as the liver, heart, lungs or spleen
- Torn lungs as well as other organs when the ribs break
- Bleeding of the blood vessels when they get torn
- Thigh fracture leading to bleeding inside the leg
Internal bleeding is very dangerous. Because it cannot be physically seen, a person may assume they are well and refuse to go to the hospital. Internal bleeding, in many cases, leads to a fatality, and one should not ignore a thorough medical check after an accident.
There are two leading causes of internal bleeding. Trauma from a blunt force is one of the significant reasons for internal bleeding. The body may experience a hard impact that will not result in the breaking of the skin, but injuries internally. These may not be easily detected but are very dangerous.
The other cause of internal bleeding is when a sharp object pierces the skin, breaks it, and penetrates inside, causing damage to the internal organs. This is known as penetrating trauma. It is easy to detect injuries from this kind of trauma as compared to trauma from a blunt force.
Some of the severe kinds of internal bleeding injuries include bleeding in the heart, head, spleen, large vessels of the blood, lungs, and liver. Although some injuries are not hard to detect, some are because they are not visible. So as not to miss a significant injury that may lead to fatality, one is advised to look for the symptoms below after an accident:
- Pain in the abdomen that keeps getting worse with time
- A big bruise that may be dark in color on any part of your body but more on your chest or back
- Experiencing low blood pressure
- When you experience dizziness, severe headaches, unconsciousness or shortness in breathing
- Swelling, tightness or pain in the legs
- Noticing blood in your urine, stool or vomit
- Experiencing shock
Even when the accident may seem to have been a minor one, it is possible to suffer internal injuries, and it is crucial to get checked and be on the lookout for the above symptoms.
- Femur Fractures
These are among the most severe kinds of injuries a cyclist can suffer from, especially if involved in a collision with a vehicle. When one suffers from this kind of injury, seeking immediate help in a hospital is essential. The longest bone in the human body is known as the femur. Depending on how severe the injury is and its location, injuries of the femur come in various types. If the injury is multiple can result in excessive loss of blood, which can be life-threatening. After an accident, the victim should look for the following symptoms:
- Experiencing excruciating pain on the thigh
- Bruising or internal bleeding in the thigh
- Being unable to move or lift the thigh
- Noticing a sudden deformity in the thigh
- Having a tingling feeling and numbness on the thigh
- Experiencing spasms in the muscles of the thigh
- Noticing that your leg is abnormally swollen
When the femur injury is likely to lead to fatality, additional symptoms may be experienced that include:
- Excessive bleeding that is impossible to control
- The victim suffers low blood pressure
- The victim may lose consciousness and feel confused
- Bones may be seen protruding out
Femur fractures come in three types. These are:
Proximal Femur Fracture
This kind of fracture is also referred to as the femoral neck fracture. This fracture happens at the highest part of the thigh bone that is next to the hip joint. When a person experiences this, they may be treated by use of crews and plates. Sometimes, hip arthroplasty is used as a form of treatment.
Femoral Shaft Fracture
Of all the femur fractures, this is the most common. It results when the collision happens at high speed. Doctors to treat this usually put a metal rod inside the thigh bone to hold it together.
Supracondylar Femur Fracture
This kind of fracture happens above the knee. This injury also involves injuring of the cartilage and may lead to a complete knee replacement.
When a bicycle accident happens, the face is usually exposed. A cyclist can suffer from severe facial injuries that may lead to deformity or disfigurement of the face. Injuries that result in disfigurement come with consequences that last a lifetime. The victim of the injuries will suffer mental and physical trauma as a result. Depending on the impact of the accident, many victims are forced to undergo reconstructive surgery. In addition to this, the victim will suffer low self-esteem and may feel embarrassed by their looks. Because of the emotional and psychological trauma due to disfigurement, the victim will need therapy to cope.
When a person suffers from a facial disfigurement, they may experience other related difficulties such as eating, breathing, talking, smelling, and even seeing. Facial disfigurement injuries are known to cause severe emotional pain as compared to physical pain.
- Emotional Injuries
These are injuries that a victim of an accident may suffer long after the initial physical injuries. Although they are not obvious to see, they often cause the most severe damage to the victim. Most victims of accidents can suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome, also known as PTSD.
There are various symptoms a victim of a crash can suffer from that will result in them going for therapy to cope. These symptoms are often divided into three groups:
- Re-experiencing – this includes when the victim experiences flashbacks of the incidence, nightmares as well as constantly thinking of the event.
- Avoidance – this is another category in PTSD. The victim will find it challenging to remember the events following the accident. In some cases, the victim will avoid any activities or deeds that can remind them of the accident. The victims are often filled with guilt and feelings of depression, as well as emotional numbness.
- Hyperarousal – this is another category of PTSD. The victim post the accident will easily get startled, have difficulties sleeping, is always on edge, and extreme bouts of anger.
Most victims of bicycle accidents may not realize they have post-traumatic stress disorder. When they experience the above symptoms, they may play it down to think it is as a result of the physical injuries, and it will go. However, it is essential to understand that just like physical injuries are real, emotional injuries are equally real and can be damaging.
It is essential to understand the signs to watch out for to seek help. Psychological and emotional strains can make a person unable to continue doing what they previously did with ease. One may find it difficult to go back to work, be unmotivated in life, be depressed, and anxious. In some cases, these feelings can make it difficult for the victim to heal from the physical injuries they suffered from as well.
Some of the signs a victim or a loved one should look for include:
- Having frequently recurring memories and flashbacks
- Being obsessed with discussing the accident details
- Having constant dreams regarding the accident
- Having feelings of anxiety or stress when you remember the accident
- Losing interest in cycling and bicycles altogether.
- Finding no interest in any other activities that previously interested you
- Experiencing difficulties in remembering the accident
- Finding yourself detached and withdrawn from friends and family
- Finding it difficult to fall asleep or sleeping for short periods
- Finding it challenging to focus on anything or remember
- Always being alert and startled for no good reason
- Being overly irritable as well as increased mood swings
The physical injuries that one suffers usually lead to someone having psychological injuries. If one had their face disfigured, they often feel different and not attractive or good looking anymore. Their self-esteem gets seriously injured, and they put themselves down.
Some accidents can result in complete detachment of a limb. A person is likely to feel they are not whole and will resent the fact that they are not able to walk as they used to. Depending on others to do things for a person can equally be psychologically traumatizing. When a person could see, hear, speak, smell, among other things well, and suddenly they are not able to can be overwhelming. Learning to walk, talk, or be independent again is not easy for the victim.
These kinds of things result in psychological injuries that are not easy to heal like physical injuries, but with proper therapy and medication, a victim can overcome them. When you see the signs in yourself as a victim or a loved one, it is vital to get help and find joy in life again.
Find a Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
In California, bicycle accidents are widespread due to the vast population that uses them. The injuries victims of these accidents can suffer are overwhelming both physically and emotionally. A person needs to be more mindful when cycling, but when the accident happens, one must consult a personal injury lawyer immediately. A victim needs to get compensation for the injuries to seek proper medical attention as well as recover any lost income. Get in touch with us at The LA Personal Injury Law Firm, and let us help you get justice. Call us today on 310-935-0089, and we will gladly help you with your case.