Head Injuries and bike Accidents
Cycling is a popular activity for exercise, recreation, or environmentally-friendly transportation. However, any time you ride a bike, you are at risk of suffering serious injuries in a bicycle accident. Head injuries are particularly common in these types of crashes due to the vulnerability of the cyclist and the nature of most bicycle collisions. Learn the ins and outs of bicycle accidents and head injuries from our experienced bike injury accident attorneys, at Bohn & Fletcher, LLP.
Head Trauma Is Common in Bicycle Crashes
When a motor vehicle weighing several thousand pounds hits a cyclist, the cyclist usually does not stand a chance of avoiding trauma and injuries. Often, the impact of a crash sends a cyclist off their bike, which means they can land on the motor vehicle, the pavement, or other nearby or moving objects.
Bicycles do not have airbags, crumple zones, or restraints like cars do; so, cyclists have their bodies almost entirely vulnerable to the physical trauma of a crash. It is common for cyclists to suffer multiple injuries in an accident – often traumatic brain injuries.
When you fall off—or get thrown off—your bike, you often have little opportunity to catch yourself or control how you land. It is common to hit your head, which is why head injuries are so common in this type of crash.
Helmet Protection and Head Trauma
The data is clear: Wearing a helmet can significantly reduce your risk of sustaining a severe head injury in a bicycle accident. That said, it is still certainly possible to suffer severe injuries even when you are wearing a helmet. Victims should never assume that their injuries will self-resolve simply because they were wearing a helmet when their accident occurred.
Importantly, in some cases, severe head trauma after a bicycle accident may actually be a sign that the helmet that you were wearing had a defective design or manufacturing flaws. As a result, if you or someone you know sustains a head injury while wearing a helmet, it is always a good idea to save the helmet and have an attorney review the facts of your case. In some instances, you may file a claim against the manufacturer of the helmet.
Common Head Injuries
When you hit your head, several different types of injuries can result, but all of them have the potential to be severe.
Some common head injuries to cyclists include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI) – TBIs refer to any injury to the brain caused by trauma (usually from blunt trauma, a severe shake or penetration). Depending on which part of your brain is injured, a TBI can cause cognitive, physical, and/or behavioral impairments. TBIs can range in severity as some patients recover with lin a year or less while others suffer permanent disabilities and effects that impact many aspects of their life.
- Concussions – Concussions are a form of traumatic brain injury, and medical professionals often categorize them as “mild” TBIs. However, as many concussion victims, doctors and scientists can attest, this type of brain injury can actually be quite serious. Its impacts on someone’s life can be far from merely “mild.” Concussion symptoms can last for weeks or months. Some people experience a complication called post-concussion syndrome that can significantly prolong their struggles and suffering.
- Skull fracture – While the skull is a particularly strong bone in the human body, it can certainly fracture due to the right trauma. Skull fracture might involve depressions in the skull or cracks, and pieces of your skull might chip off or even shift inward. Shifting skull fractures can cause the skull piece to pierce or put pressure on your brain tissue causing it to tear or bleed resulting in a TBI. Some people with skull fractures need surgery.
- Hematoma – Up to 40 percent of people who sustain head trauma will develop intracranial hematomas, or blood pooling and clotting on or inside the brain. This can increase intracranial pressure, which can be life-threatening. Hematomas can have many symptoms similar to other TBIs, and the recovery time can vary depending on the patient.
- Maxillofacial trauma – Head trauma can also involve fractures to your face (such as your cheekbones, eye sockets, nose, forehead, or jaw).
Treatment for Head Injuries
The treatment that a head injury requires will depend on the type of injury sustained. For example, facial lacerations may require sutures, while a TBI may require emergency surgery. Our heads are the centers of our information processing systems, containing many of our major sensory organs and the brain.
As a result, any head injury has the potential to be serious and require immediate and long-term medical attention. Not surprisingly, the medical bills incurred as a result of a head injury can be significant. In cases involving brain surgery, it is not uncommon for the injured person’s expenses to reach well into the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In cases involving concussions, which are invariably a serious matter, your treatment plan may involve nothing more than pain-relieving medications and weeks or months of cognitive rest which can mean weeks or months of missed work. For this reason, even head injuries that do not require intensive hands-on medical intervention can nonetheless leave people with significant losses.
Recovering for Your Losses After a Bicycle Accident
Thankfully, in many cases, people who suffer head injuries in bicycle accidents can recover compensation for their losses by filing a bicycle accident claim. As is the case with other types of accidents, if bicycle crashes result from someone else’s negligence, those injured may seek compensation under state law.
Several parties may cause a serious bicycle accident, including:
- Equipment manufacturers;
- Owners of hazardous private or public property through a premises liability claim.
The most effective way to determine whether you have a claim, and against whom you may assert it, is to have a bicycle accident lawyer near you review the facts of your case. For more information in regards to general bicycle accident info review our blog on “Bicycle Accident Statistics.”