Bicycle accidents are unique events that result in very different injuries than car or truck collisions. Victims of bicycle accidents face myriad risks that other motorists do not, such as open exposure to the road and other objects. This can lead to injuries that you will almost exclusively find in bicycle accidents. Understanding these potential injuries can help you as a victim or the family member of an injured loved one.
An accident that involves a vehicle or other object forcing a bicycle to the ground will come with certain common injuries. When the body strikes the ground, it can result in wrist bone fractures, spinal cord injuries, and head/brain injuries. Blunt force trauma to certain areas of the body can be catastrophic. Common injuries from bicyclists striking the ground, the windshield, or other objects in accidents include:
- Head trauma
- Facial injuries
- Neurological damage
- Spine injuries
- Ruptured discs
- Bone fractures
- Wrongful death
If a vehicle strikes a bicyclist and then rolls over the individual, it can lead to broken bones, crush injuries, internal damage, and death. Head injuries are some of the most common results of bicycle accidents. California law requires helmets for bicyclists under the age of 18 but not for adults. This leads to many people biking around San Diego sans head protection. While a helmet can’t guarantee prevention of head injuries, it can significantly reduce the risk. Even with a helmet, bicyclists can suffer traumatic head and brain injuries that can result in brain damage, coma, and death.
The emotional trauma that comes after a bicycle accident can be extensive. Cyclists often feel too afraid to return to their bicycles after harmful collisions with vehicles. They may suffer post-traumatic stress disorder or other psychological issues that require therapy or medications. Injured bicyclists could suffer from nightmares, insomnia, anxiety, depression, mental anguish, and other forms of emotional distress. In the eyes of the California civil courts, these are compensable damages just like physical injuries.
In the event that a bicyclist suffers a traumatic brain injury, emotional trauma can be even more severe. Brain injuries can result in cognitive difficulties, loss of memory, confusion, and impairments of motor function. Brain injury survivors may never be the same. Lost quality or enjoyment of life are damages the courts will also recompense during a personal injury claim. The value of these types of damages will depend on the extent of impact to the victim’s life, the victim’s age, and a number of other factors. There is currently no cap on non-economic damages in bicycle accident cases in California.
Recovering After a Bicycle Accident
Even minor bicycle accidents can put victims through considerable pain and suffering. Lacerations to the face, road rash, chipped teeth, and scars can all occur in accidents law enforcement deems “minor.” Major accidents can lead to permanent injuries, disabilities, and the wrongful death of a loved one. After any type of bicycle accident in San Diego, consult with a personal injury attorney. You may be eligible for compensation for your physical injuries, emotional suffering, and financial losses through the driver’s insurance company or another party.