Bicycle Accident Brain Injury Claims: What You Need to Know
In the US, 80,000 cycling-related head injuries end up in emergency rooms for care each year.
While bike riding is excellent exercise, affordable transportation, and an efficient way to get around Houston, some real risks are connected to bicycling in the city.
Sadly, not all motorists heed cyclists as they should. With high levels of distracted driving from technology and traffic, the risks can be significant for a bicycle rider in the city.
A bicycle accident can cause significant injury to the rider, especially brain-related injuries.
Read on to learn more about the impact of a bicycle accident and how a bicycle accident lawyer can help you following your accident.
Cycling Around Houston
Cycling in an urban area is wise. You can get around more easily, often avoiding the traffic that cars get stuck in. Riding a bike is good for the environment and the wallet, and it’s much cheaper to maintain a bike than an automobile.
Yet, it is also fraught with danger. Not all areas of the city offer bicyclists designated lanes to ride. As more and more people turn to cycling, a more thoughtful approach to infrastructure will be needed.
Motorists also need to pay more attention to the laws protecting bike riders. Motorists should give cyclists at least 3 feet between them and bike riders. Commercial vehicles should give cyclists at least 6 feet between them and the bike rider.
Bike Accidents and Common Injuries
Unsurprisingly, when an accident involves a bike rider and a motorist, the bike rider is much more likely to be injured, often severely.
The good news is that the number of injuries from bicycle accidents injuries decreased by approximately one-half over the last decade.
The news is not so good for adult riders; in fact, the numbers remained almost constant for adult injuries during this nine-year span.
It also shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that bike-related accidents and injuries are more likely to occur in urban areas like Houston. When a bike accident with a motorist occurs, it’s almost always attributed to human error.
Common Injuries Resulting from a Bike Accident
The injuries can be extensive when an accident between a cyclist and a motor vehicle. Injuries seen often include:
- Brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal injuries/organ damage
- Fractured bones
A brain injury from a bicycle accident can occur even when a cyclist wears a helmet. You might be surprised to learn that even when the head isn’t what’s hit, often a brain injury occurs in a bike accident.
The vital force of a motor vehicle can cause the rider’s brain to crash into the hard interior of the skull and cause a significant brain injury.
Let’s take a closer look at the types of brain injuries commonly seen with bike-related injuries.
Traumatic Brain Injury
The result of bicycle accident brain injuries often leads to traumatic brain injury, and TBI is, in some ways, a general term for any damage to the brain.
A traumatic brain injury can occur from actions like blunt trauma, a severe shake, or penetration. A TBI can happen to any of the many parts of the brain and can cause cognitive, physical, and/or behavioral impairments.
A TBI can take a long time to heal, and in some cases, they can have the victim impaired for life. Depending on the part of the brain impacted, the traumatic brain injury can impact your life in many ways.
Concussions are one type of traumatic brain injury. While some might characterize a concussion as a less severe brain injury, a concussion can have a massive impact on your life.
Concussion symptoms might include:
- Headache or pressure inside the head
- Balance problems
- Double or blurry vision
- Light or noise sensitivity
- Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
Symptoms of a concussion last a few weeks or much longer. Some victims of traumas also suffer from a complication called post-concussion syndrome.
The skull is a solid bone in the body tasked with protecting the brain. Yet, skull injuries are common, especially related to bicycle accident injuries.
A skull fracture can happen from:
- Depressions in the skull
- Cracks in the skull
- Chips in the skull
- Shifts in the skull bones
Any of these types of injuries are significant to the brain. Remember, the skull protects the brain. These injuries to the head can ultimately cause injury to the brain, too.
Up to 40% of brain injury patients will develop an intracranial hematoma. A hematoma is a blood clot that forms on the brain’s surface or inside the brain.
A hematoma can cause intracranial pressure on the brain. Usually, this will require emergency surgery so the clot doesn’t cause damage to the brain.
Like TBIs, an intracranial hematoma can impactful symptoms and require a long recovery.
Bike accidents so often injure the head, another type of commonly seen injury is maxillofacial trauma. This happens when damage, like fractures, to other parts of the head.
This might include fractures to the:
- Eye sockets
While they may or may not directly impact a brain injury, it’s not uncommon to see the type of injury in conjunction with a traumatic brain injury.
Symptoms of a Brain Injury
The brain is responsible for all body functions. So, when one or more parts of the brain suffer injury, the rest of the body will feel the effects.
The symptoms of a traumatic brain injury from a bike accident can cover many ailments and impact everyday life.
A range of symptoms might include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Loss of memory before and after the crash
- Difficulty thinking, making decisions, reasoning, problem-solving
- Difficulty paying attention and concentrating
- Slurred speech
- Nausea or vomiting
- Word-finding difficulty
- Feeling confused, disoriented, or dazed
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to noise and light
- Balance problems
- Ringing in ears (Tinnitus)
Some symptoms might be short-term while the brain works to heal. Others can be permanent symptoms following a traumatic brain injury.
Can You Sue As a Result of a Bike Accident?
You might wonder if a bicycle accident lawsuit is a common practice. If the cyclist was hit and injured because of the negligence of a motor vehicle driver, you could file a personal injury claim.
This wouldn’t be any different than one motorist causing damage and injury to another motorist.
There could be parties beyond the motorist responsible for the accident too. This might include:
- Other bicyclists
- Equipment manufacturers
- Owners of hazardous private or public property
If you’ve been injured in a bike accident, you need to talk with an attorney specializing in personal injury law.
Type of Damages to Seek
The TBI and its severity will impact the type and extent of damages you might seek when you file a lawsuit.
Permanent injuries can change the trajectory of a person’s life. You might seek damages for:
- Past medical bills
- Medical bills expected to be incurred in the future
- Lost earnings
- Earnings expected to be lost in the future
- Permanent disfigurement
- Permanent disability
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of an everyday life
- Funeral and burial costs in the event of a wrongful death
A skilled attorney will know how to calculate what should be included in a claim for damages.
Seek Help from an Experienced Bicycle Accident Attorney
If you’ve suffered a brain injury from a bicycle accident, you must seek the assistance of a bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible after your accident.
The attorney can begin right away gathering evidence and witnesses for your case. You also want the attorney’s guidance about how to proceed after your injury.
This type of attorney is experienced and knowledgeable in negotiating with insurance companies. One thing you don’t want to do is talk to or let an insurance company trick you into a quick settlement.
The more quickly you can get an accident attorney working on your behalf, the more you can concentrate on the healing process.
Houston Bicycle Brain Injury Accident Attorney
More and more people in Houston are using bicycles as their primary mode of transportation. It’s not surprising the statistics are related to bicycle accidents.
The scary part is the severity of injuries resulting from a bicycle accident, especially to the brain. Sadly, brain injuries can take a long time for recovery or, worse yet, be permanent.
If you’ve been involved in a bicycle accident, we can help. Contact us today to discuss your case so we can get to work protecting your rights.