Compared to motor vehicle accidents, crashes involving bicycles and passenger cars are far from common. But while cyclists are less likely to crash than motor vehicle drivers, they are far more likely to sustain serious injury in their accidents. This fact shouldn’t be surprising; drivers are surrounded by walls of protective metal, while bikers are out in the open.
Bicycle Accident Injuries In Philadelphia
Understandably, bicyclists involved in traffic accidents generally require lengthier hospital stays and face much higher medical expenses than their vehicular counterparts. In many cases, cyclists must pursue personal injury lawsuits, rather than relying on the insurance system, to secure adequate compensation for their injuries.
In this guide, our Philadelphia bike accident lawyers will discuss the most common injuries caused by bicycle accidents.
Head Injuries In A Bike Crash
Even those cyclists wearing properly-sized, properly-fit helmets can sustain severe head injuries in a bicycle accident. In fact, around 75% of biking-related fatalities directly result from trauma to the head. Surprisingly, bike accidents account for more head injuries than football, soccer, and other “concussion-centric” sports.
About Traumatic Brain Injury
Many cycling accident head injuries occur when a bicyclist is thrown over their bike’s handlebars and onto the pavement below. One of the most common head injuries suffered by bicyclists is a Traumatic Brain Injury, which results from a blow to the head that disrupts the brain’s proper functioning. A Traumatic Brain Injury can have devastating physical, emotional, social, and financial effects.
Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms
Unfortunately, the symptoms of a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) may not become apparent until much later. While immediate unconsciousness is a primary sign, many sufferers do not go unconscious at all. Potential symptoms of a TBI include:
- Memory loss
- Inability to recall new information
- Severe headaches
- Blurred vision
- Sleep disturbances
- Debilitating mood swings
TBI is real and extremely serious. Because symptoms may arise over time, bicycle accident victims must seek medical attention immediately after their accidents. Visit our “What Should I Do After A Bike Accident?” FAQ for more information on strengthening insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits in Philadelphia.
Bicycle Accident Road Rash
Because cyclists are not enclosed by their vehicles, they often make direct contact with the road during an accident. “Road Rash” is a form of skin abrasion that results from a body part violently scraping against another surface.
Like burns, cases of Road Rash are ranked in degrees:
- First Degree Road Rash leaves the skin red, but largely unbroken.
- Second Degree Road Rash breaks through the skin’s outer layer, but leaves deeper layers unharmed.
- Third Degree Road Rash removes all layers of skin, exposing underlying layers of tissue and fat. This form is extremely serious, leaving cyclists at risk of potentially-fatal infection. Third Degree Road Rash requires immediate medical treatment, often surgical intervention.
Bike Crash Knee Injuries
Many falls, including those common in bicycle accidents, result in knee injuries. ACL tears, in which the anterior cruciate ligament is torn, are particularly frequent. These serious knee injuries can stem either from being directly struck by a motor vehicle, falling to the ground, or through a violent distortion of the leg. Knee bones, including the femur, tibia, and patella, are commonly broken during bicycle accidents.
Treating Knee Injuries
Knee injuries in which ligaments are harmed often require surgical reconstruction. In less severe cases, arthroscopic techniques may be used to reduce the potential for infection. In an arthroscopic procedure, two incisions are made over the knee joint, rather than opening the joint fully as in surgery. A small camera is inserted through one incision, and a surgical instrument through the other. Arthroscopic surgery is commonly used to repair torn cartilage (or “meniscus”) and to reconstruct the ACL.
Even knee injuries that do not necessitate surgical intervention may require lengthy periods of convalescence. Bicyclists suffering from knee injuries may face periods of time during which they are unable to work.
Serious Injuries Require Trusted Legal Counsel
If you were injured in a Philadelphia bicycle accident, you may be facing severe injuries. While filing an insurance claim may seem the natural course of action, most insurance companies are unwilling to fully compensate injured cyclists. Many injured Philadelphia bicyclists choose instead to pursue legal action.
Not sure if you should consult a bicycle accident lawyer? Visit our “Do I Need A Lawyer?” FAQ to find out. Ready to take the next step, learn more about your possible claim, and begin seeking justice? Contact our Philadelphia bike accident attorneys today for a free consultation.