Common Bike Accident Injuries
Bicycle accident injuries vary widely, both in their form and their seriousness. Though, one thing is consistent with all bike accidents: When a vehicle collides with a bike, the cyclist almost always bears the brunt of the impact. Bike riders are inherently exposed to danger.
A crash can lead to catastrophic injuries and even fatalities. Some of the most common bike accident injuries that our bike accident attorneys in GA have seen include:
- Road rash;
- Deep cuts and lacerations;
- Ligament damage;
- Joint damage;
- Muscle tears;
- Dental injuries;
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs);
- Severe psychological injuries;
- Neck injuries;
- Back injuries;
- Broken bones;
- Spinal cord injuries; and
- Partial or total paralysis;
Bicycle Accidents Caused By Road Debris
Road debris can be the cause of vehicle and bicycle accidents. However, road debris poses a very dangerous threat for a cyclist. Often a motor vehicle can usually run over the road debris. Cyclists don’t always get that choice. A bicyclist must quickly react when coming onto a branch or a piece of lumber. A tiny piece of glass or a piece of tire rubber can easily cause a bicycle accident. Darting out into the flow of traffic to avoid debris on the road is legal in most states, but it is not the safest thing to do.
In 2012, 40% of fatal bicycle accidents were rear-ended crashes. Many bicyclists are leery of being hit by a motor vehicle from behind. The only option the bicyclist may have is to run over the road debris. Flat tires and bent wheels or even a wreck with direct impact may pursue. Road debris tends to collect where motor vehicles do not drive such as the edges and shoulders of the roadway.
Bicyclists Could Be Seriously Injured
Roads that cyclists travel on should regularly be maintained by the county or city. Road debris and gravel does accumulate in the lanes where the bicycle goes. When the small bicycle wheels come in contact with the trash and debris it can and often does cause the bicyclist to lose balance and wreck. In bicycle-friendly areas, it is not uncommon for a bicycle to collide with another bicycle.
The injuries that are suffered in many bicycle accidents necessitate immediate medical attention. Bicyclist injuries can result in injuries to internal organs, broken bones, and severe injuries to the extremities that may lead to permanently diminished function or possible amputation. In pursuance of a bicycle accident claim, the injured could be eligible for compensation for the loss of the capacity to earn a living, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. Rehabilitation costs could be extensive.
Establishing and confirming negligence is crucial to finding any financial restoration. Who is responsible for leaving the debris on the roads and highway? Any claim of negligence will depend on who exactly was negligent. If an injured cyclist is to win a claim after an injury involving debris causing a road hazard two elements must be proven.
- Someone violated a duty of care that is owed to the injured bicyclist
- The violated duty of care resulted in the injury to the bicyclist.
In a bicycle accident case involving road hazards in Covington, the negligent party could be a government agency.
Negligence From A Private Party
If a bicycle accident is caused by the negligence of a private party, such as cargo falling off a truck on the road, the facts must be investigated to conclude who is the responsible party. Tree limbs, construction materials, or any cargo falling on the road can cause a road hazard. The driver owes a duty to bicyclists to take precautions to keep the load secured.
Motor vehicle operators should understand how to secure a load of cargo and the road securement laws and the penalties for littering. Penalties are in place for failing to comply with regulations. Drivers should regularly inspect their loads and cargo to ensure that they are safe and secure. If the driver is transporting cargo for an employer, the employer’s liability is in question.
If the driver of the vehicle or the employee is acting within the standard procedure of employment, the employer would then be liable. Employers will have higher insurance caps helping the bicyclist’s chance of recovery. The bicyclist must prove the negligent act was committed during the time of employment, rather than just a personal pursuit of the employee.
What to do if you are Involved in a Bicycle Accident
Call 911 and wait on the police
It is crucial that you call 911 (or the local police department) to make sure that the police arrive at your scene and file a proper police report, even if you do not believe you are injured. It is easy to be in shock after an accident and not feel an injury until hours after an accident. Also, sometimes minor injuries develop into more serious or permanent conditions.
Staying at the accident scene and waiting on police also ensures you have the contact information of the other driver. Negotiating with the driver is never a good idea. Some drivers may apologize or accept the fault of the accident, but later turn and deny their negligence or even their presence at the accident.
Another advantage of waiting for the police to arrive at the scene of the bicycle accident is that the police might go ahead and ticket the driver. This could prove useful if you need to file a claim or settle a case with the insurance company.
Tell your side of the story
When the police arrive, be sure to speak up and tell your side of the story. Sometimes, a police officer might take a statement from the person driving the car and neglect to talk to the cyclist. Make an effort to speak with the police officer and make sure he or she takes your statement.
Remember to report your injuries, also, even if they still seem minor at the time. You never know when those injuries will develop into something more serious and it’s better to be safe than sorry. If the police refuse to include your side of the story in the statement, you can always ask to have the report amended later.
Gather contact information
You need to obtain the name of the automobile driver, along with his or her phone number, address, driver’s license number, car tag number, and insurance information. If possible, gather names and contact information from everyone at the scene, especially those who witnessed the accident. The police report may not include all of this information. If you are injured and cannot gather this information on your own, ask a bystander to help you gather the information.
Document the events
Take a moment to recount what happened in the accident. How did the accent happen? Where was it? When was it? What were the road, traffic, and weather conditions like? As soon as possible, write down all of this information for your records. You may need this information later.
Seek Medical Care
You need to seek medical care as soon as possible after the bicycle accident, even if your injuries seem minor. If the injuries do become a larger issue, seeking medical attention early will be proof that you sustained injuries in the accident. The medical records will document the injuries and the extent of your injuries at the time.
Also, take photos of any injuries you sustained after the accident. Keep a journal of your symptoms and keep the journal up to date with notes and photos of your injuries.
Preserve the evidence
If your bicycle or other property was damaged in the accident, do not fix anything or have it inspected. Take photos of any equipment that was damaged (bike, helmet, clothing, etc), and keep it in the exact same state it was on the day of your accident. Do not wash your clothing. Be prepared to send your equipment to your attorney if requested and no one else.
Seek an attorney
Accidents involving both cars and bikes are a complex legal situation. You will want to seek out a personal injury attorney in Georgia who understands bicycle laws and has handled bicycle accident cases in Georgia. We can advise you on what to do after your bicycle accident, negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, or represent you in a lawsuit if needed.