If there is one thing above all others bicyclists have to be on the lookout for while riding, it is cars. Careless and distracted drivers are both the most common and the most serious, danger to bicyclists. According to the Insurance Safety Institute, just under 75% of bicycling deaths result from being hit by the front end of a car. In total, over 500,000 bicycle accident injuries are reported each year, with car vs. bicycle collisions being by far the most common cause of injuries requiring medical treatment.
Common causes of bicycle accident injuries
Bicycle accidents can happen in as many ways as a person cares to imagine. Unexpected terrain changes, including holes or abrupt changes in ground level, certainly pose a serious risk to bicyclists. However, by far the most common causes of bicycle accidents are cars and trucks. Although front-end hits are the most likely to result in serious injury and death, “dooring” is far more common. Dooring occurs when someone inside a car hits a bicyclist with their car door.
Another common cause of bicycle accidents is the right turn. This is especially common with large trucks, but it happens with cars, too. Bicycle riders frequently line up at intersections to the right of cars. Cars and trucks then make a right turn without looking and hit the bicyclist. Left turns can be just as dangerous, especially if a bicyclist is in the oncoming lane and crossing alone. Drivers of cars and trucks are typically looking for oncoming cars and trucks to yield to, and if they do not notice the much smaller oncoming bicycle, they simply drive right through the bicyclist.
Common injuries associated with bicycle accidents
Bicycle accident injuries can cover the range from scrapes to serious and life-changing trauma. Just like in motorcycle accidents, the type of injury will often depend on the speed and direction of impact. Brain, neck, and spine injuries are frequently seen in bicycle accident cases. Unfortunately, soft tissue injuries can be difficult to detect immediately after a collision. Here is a list of some of the more common injuries associated with bicycle accidents:
- Brain injury – concussion and traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Facial injury – including lacerations that can result in permanent scaring, as well as dental damage
- Bone fracture – this could be anywhere, but ribs, jaws, wrists, hands, and arms are common as bicyclists often try to shield themselves from impact by throwing their arms and hands out just before impact with either a car or the ground.
- Road rash
- Joint separation – fractures can coincide with joint separations. Especially in the shoulder, AC and CC joints can sometimes be torn, frayed, or completely separated by impact with a car or truck, as well as the ground.
- Spine and nerve damage
Medical examination and treatment
When in doubt, get an examination from a qualified medical expert. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, it is very important that you obtain all needed medical treatment without delay. If you do not, not only can your condition become worse, but insurance companies can and will argue that your failure to seek medical treatment made your condition worse, so they are no longer responsible. Here are some common problems people experience after bicycle accidents that they fail to recognize or treat:
Brain injuries have a very wide range of related symptoms that people sometimes miss. Because bicyclists often hit their heads during or after impact with a car, they are at risk of missing a head injury when their adrenaline is elevated in the immediate aftermath of a bicycle accident. It is a natural response to get up quickly after being hit by a car. It is also natural for many people to want to “shake it off” or “walk it off” and reassure everyone that they are fine. Brain injury symptoms like nausea, blurred vision, changes in hearing or even an intense headache can go unnoticed in that scenario. I have had clients tell me that in the days after a head injury, they went to get new glasses, not recognizing the correlation.
Bicyclists can suffer fractured ribs, and suspect that a rib is fractured, but decide to do nothing about it because they think doctors will just tell them to wait for it to heal. Broken ribs can be sharp. So that is not a good approach. Fractured ribs can cause internal bleeding or puncture a lung. Get it to check out.
Bicyclists who were injured because of a careless or distracted driver didn’t ask for any of the pain, suffering, inconvenience, or expense that has come to them. If you have been injured by a bad driver, you may have done nothing wrong at all. Even so, it is important to get the medical examinations and treatment you need to make sure you are on the best path to maximum recovery.
Why choose Denver bicycle accident lawyer Vernon Ready?
Bicycle accidents can happen in any number of ways, resulting in a variety of injuries. It helps to have a well-rounded Denver bicycle accident lawyer with experience dealing with insurance companies, judges, and jurors. I can help you focus on getting healthy again by handling the legal side of your case for you.
Communication: It is important to feel that you get along well with your personal injury lawyer. What you are going through is personal to you, and the entire experience will be better if you feel comfortable calling and asking your questions. My clients tend to know what is going on with their cases, what is coming next, and why. They know those things because I welcome their questions, and take my time explaining the process and out options to them. I do not use case managers, legal assistants, or paralegals to screen calls from clients. If you want to discuss your case I am only a phone call away, and I allow my clients to schedule meetings with me directly through my online calendar. If I miss a call from a client, I guarantee a call back within 24 hours of a voicemail.
Passion and compassion: I care about each of my client’s cases and each outcome. Part of my job is to help decision-makers like insurance adjusters and jurors see how an injury has impacted a real person’s life. My clients are not files, and so they are not treated like files. The more I am able to learn about a client’s injuries and their true impact on that client’s life, the better able I am to do my job. Nothing is more rewarding in this work than finding out how and why my client’s case is different, unique, and more valuable, and then making others see that too.
No up-front fees: I only get paid if I recover money for you. Since I am paid a percentage of what I recover for you, you have some assurance that if I accepted your case I believe in your cause and want to help you get your best possible outcome. I love the work I do, and not requiring any upfront fees means justice is accessible to you regardless of your starting financial circumstance.
When should you hire a bicycle accident lawyer?
When could you benefit from having an expert talk to the insurance company on your behalf? How soon do you think letters demanding protection and preservation of important evidence should go out? Since you pay nothing upfront to get your case started and moving in the right direction, what do you gain from waiting?
I understand that many people prefer to attempt to resolve their case on their own before considering whether they “need” a lawyer. However, early offers from the at-fault insurance company tend to benefit them, not you, the injured party. Early offers from insurance companies usually do not account for the full cost of medical bills or the need for future medical treatment, because they are made well before those numbers are known. In addition, most insurance companies regularly make lower offers to people who try to resolve cases themselves because they do not believe those people are likely to pursue a successful lawsuit against them. Because in the end, the real value of a case is determined in part by the risk of a loss at trial, insurance companies do not pay as much on claims that are not being handled by a knowledgeable trial lawyer.
Every conversation the injured party has directly with the insurance carrier is another opportunity for them to assert some inconsistency or discrepancy that they can later attempt to use to their own advantage. You can avoid the need to explain away those allegations by simply having an expert deal with the insurance company for you. The sooner you have a bicycle accident lawyer working for you the better off your case is likely to be.
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident that was not your fault, call me today. The consultation is free, you are not obligated to retain me, and while internet research is a fantastic tool, it is no substitute for discussing the specific facts of your case with an attorney. Call 303-339-8846 now, or click above to access my online calendar and schedule a call. I look forward to talking to you about your case.