Riding a bicycle is an excellent alternative mode of transportation. Sadly, others on the road do not like sharing the road with bicycle riders, leading to accidents. Since many drivers do not see your bicycle as a legitimate form of transportation, they will not offer you the same respect as other vehicles on the road.
As a bicycle rider, you are not doing anything wrong by getting around on your bike. You are saving the environment and taking advantage of all the incredible health benefits.
When a bicycle accident occurs, you will suffer the brunt of the injuries and damage. The driver will often be unscathed while you have months or years-long recovery ahead. One of the most common outcomes is suffering brain trauma. There are fatal complications that can arise from so-called mild brain trauma. A mild TBI designation is a preliminary diagnosis of symptoms and not a final diagnosis of the injury’s effects.
While your doctor or another medical professional might diagnose the TBI as “mild,” that does not mean you will not face any complications or lifelong trauma. If you have any symptoms of a TBI or a doctor deems your TBI to be mild, stay vigilant for lasting effects or other complications. Even a mild TBI can lead to costly or even fatal consequences.
Common head injuries
A cyclist is in additional danger when a car strikes them. The sheer weight and size of the other vehicle are enough to cause severe injury and death. Many cycling accidents result in cyclists being thrown off their bikes and landing on the pavement or another vehicle.
Even a seemingly minor accident results in severe damage because bikes do not have the same protections as cars. A bicycle doesn’t have airbags, seatbelts, or other devices to keep the person safe. A cyclist has their entire body exposed to the world and accident injuries.
While helmets help a cyclist who has fallen off a bicycle, they do not prevent all injuries. Whether you wear a helmet does not factor in your liability claim. Do not apologize or say you should have worn more protective gear.
You have done nothing wrong, and it is the other driver whose negligent actions led to your damages and injury. Whenever a person hits their head, it can lead to head trauma, likely a traumatic brain injury.
The most common head injuries cyclist suffer after a bicycle accident are:
- Concussions: One of the most common head traumas is concussions. These injuries can happen in car accidents and while playing any contact sport. A concussion often falls into the mild TBI category, even though there is nothing mild about a concussion. The symptoms will take weeks or months to resolve. Post-concussion syndrome can prolong the pain and suffering of many victims. The American Academy of Neurology categorizes Concussions into three grades to show severity. You will receive a rating on examinations ranging from one to three. The higher the grade, the worse the doctors believe your concussion to be.
- Skull fractures: It is challenging to break bones in the skull since it is firm. However, there is such extreme force during a bicycle accident that it can cause the head to crack or suffer a skull depression. Your skull will shift inward during a depression, and pieces of your skull can chip off. A skull fracture results in surgery and puts pressure on your brain tissue. You can suffer internal bleeding or a brain tear. These are very serious, and you should not take any head injury lightly.
- Traumatic brain injury: When your brain suffers blunt trauma, it can lead to cognitive, physical, and behavioral impairments. TBIs are very complex and range in severity and symptoms. There are also many potential complications and possible death from a TBI. A TBI has a mild designation and is likely to resolve within a year. However, many possible effects exist, and a TBI can cause other illnesses and diseases.
- Maxillofacial trauma: Similar to a skull fracture, your face can sustain fractures. Head trauma can cause damage to your eye sockets, nose, forehead, jaw, or cheekbones.
- Hematoma: The inside of your skull has many moving parts. When your brain suffers so much pressure, it can lead to life-threatening circumstances. When blood pooling or clotting happens inside the brain, it is an intracranial hematoma. An intracranial hematoma is a complication of head trauma, and you cannot take the matter lightly. There is no set recovery time for a hematoma.
A TBI designation is difficult because head trauma is a complex injury, and you can face various symptoms and conditions. There is no way to tell the kind of head injury you will suffer from a bicycle accident. Injuries vary on a case-by-case basis, and your treatment must be unique to your specific circumstances.
Head Injury Symptoms
There is a range of symptoms you must look out for after a head injury from a bicycle accident.
You and your family should stay alert for the following symptoms as it can mean there is permanent injury or a complication:
- Difficulty with speech
- The inability to concentrate
- Memory loss
- Double vision or blurred vision
- Emotional instability
- Personality changes
- Sensory concerns
- Failure to control your bladder and bowel
- Change in sleep patterns
- Ringing in the ears
- Loss of consciousness
- Difficulty in dealing with creative thinking tasks
- Depression and anxiety
There are many other ways you will change after head trauma. The above list only covers a few of the most common. While not every bicycle accident will result in head trauma, it is always possible, and you should stay alert for any of the above symptoms or other cognitive changes.
Some of the other injuries you will suffer after a bicycle accident are:
- Broken bones
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Internal injuries
- Damage to the spinal cord
- Face and eye injury
- Soft tissue injury
- Chest and abdominal injury
Even if you believe the fall from your bike was minor, seeking medical attention and attending all medical appointments is essential. There are many complications you can suffer after head trauma or other injuries.
Follow-up visits will put you on the right track to recovery. Some symptoms will delay showing, and your medical team can catch them through follow-up visits. There will be ongoing testing, and you must cooperate. Your condition can worsen over time, especially if you are not getting the treatment you need. Even a mild head injury can cause complications months or years later. Do not skip any medical appointments and follow all medical recommendations.
Head injury complications
A head injury is only one ailment you need to watch out for. Look for other head trauma complications.
Some complications from bicycle accident injuries involve:
- Seizures: When there are seizures that constantly happen after a head injury, it can result in post-treatment epilepsy.
- Blood vessel damage: You will be at a higher risk of stroke.
- Leg blood clots: There will be loss of movement or less movement during recovery, which can lead to blood clots in your legs. These clots result in pulmonary embolism, which is fatal.
- Bacterial infections: A fever is the first indication of a condition in the brain. After a penetrating injury, the protective tissues will become weak and susceptible to infections.
- Hydrocephalus: The brain can experience a buildup of cerebrospinal fluids. The only available treatment is to place a brain shunt.
- Consciousness disorders: When a person is unaware of what is happening around them or loses consciousness regularly, it can be a sign of a condition.
- Vertigo: Dizziness and vertigo are common complications after a head trauma that can indicate further damage.
- Headaches: A head trauma can cause a person to suffer chronic and severe headaches. These headaches can become so debilitating that they cause a person to be unable to complete everyday functions.
Always look out for these complications after a bicycle accident as it can mean several underlying issues are going on. Stay in contact with your medical professional and head injury bicycle accident lawyer to protect your legal and medical rights.
Treating head injuries
Treating a head injury varies depending on the head injury and the severity. Head traumas will require a range of treatments, from sutures to surgery. Most head trauma will require extensive treatment and attention. It is crucial to obtain treatment immediately. Even if a head trauma seems to resolve within a few months, it can rear its ugly head years later.
Even if you think your symptoms and side effects subside, you will need to undergo various cognitive tests to ensure there is no lingering trauma. All of these medical treatments are costly, reaching well into tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
During an evaluation, medical professionals will be looking for specific symptoms before requesting further testing.
Look for these symptoms:
- Breathe: Trouble breathing or chest pain can indicate a punctured lung or broken rib.
- Stomach: Look for sore or tender spots upon pressing on your stomach.
- Bleeding: Look for external and internal bleeding. You can see external bleeding, but internal bleeding requires further treatment.
- Movement: If a body part cannot move, this indicates a fractured bone.
- Spine and neck: Numbness, tingling, or lack of movement are vital signs of damage to your cervical or lumbar regions.
- Head: If your head moves extremely fast during an accident, imaging will be required.
You will also suffer cuts and bruises or road rash. While these seem minor compared to other injuries, you should not ignore them. A cut can become infected, leading to further complications like sepsis. There are any number of complications minor injuries can lead to if left untreated. As a cyclist, you have the right to obtain medical care after an accident.
Seek medical attention and get a diagnosis on what you are facing, then call a head injury lawyer.
How do bicycle accidents happen?
Liable parties in a bicycle accident can change your life forever. You must file a bicycle accident claim to recover compensation for your damages. However, you must file a lawsuit against the correct party. There are multiple scenarios and parties whose negligence contributes to bicycle accidents. As a cyclist, you are not liable for your injuries as you did nothing wrong.
Parties that cause bicycle accidents include:
- Equipment manufacturers
- Property owners that have a hazard on their property
- Government entities
You often think the sole responsibility lies on the motorists that hit you, but there can be other parties who contribute to your accident. You must call a head injury bicycle accident attorney to discuss negligence and compensation.
Bicycle accident victims can recover damages
The severity of your head trauma will have a lasting effect on the rest of your life. All you did was ride your bicycle to get to your next destination. You did nothing wrong, yet you must suffer the consequences of a negligent party’s choices. There will additionally be financial burdens you face resulting from head trauma.
When you work with a head trauma lawyer, they can seek damages for:
- Permanent disfigurement
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disability
- Medical expenses up to maximum medical improvement
- Reasonable compensation for future medical expenses
- Lost wages for time off work
- Cognitive rehabilitation
- Future lost earnings due to your injury
- Wrongful death benefits
You must meet several time limits and deadlines when filing a bicycle injury claim. However, there is no deadline for when the case will resolve. Many accident victims become impatient, but you should not. Your injuries are extensive, and you will require significant compensatory damages to get back on your feet.
Depending on the parties, the deadlines for filing a claim will vary. You must meet some deadlines within a year of the accident and others within two years. Move quickly to speak with a head trauma lawyer to discuss your options and hold the correct party accountable for their actions.