Bicycling can serve as a form of recreation, exercise, or cheap, green transportation. However, as the number of bicycles on the road rise so, too, have traffic accidents involving bicyclists. In fact, more than 1,000 bicyclists are killed—and almost 500,000 are injured—in car v. bike crashes each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Many of those injuries and deaths occur right here in California; data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that Florida, California, and Texas account for 40 percent of all traffic accident-related bicycle fatalities, despite having only 27 percent of the nation's populace.
Car accidents involving bicyclists can result in a number of serious injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), which can cause devastating lifelong impairments. If you, or a loved one, sustained a TBI in a bicycle accident caused by another motorist or entity's negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for injuries and other losses. Here's what you need to know if you're considering taking legal action.
How Bicycle Accidents Can Lead to TBIs
A bicycle lacks the exterior protection of a traditional passenger vehicle, making bicyclists particularly vulnerable to serious injury in the event of an accident. Bicyclists may be injured when hit directly by a vehicle, or while taking evasive maneuvers to avoid an accident. Many bicycle crash victims can suffer significant impacts, whether due to the vehicle hitting the cyclist, the cyclist hitting the ground, or another object. While TBIs can be caused by hitting one's head in an accident, receiving a blow to the head isn't always necessary, as a violent blow or jolt to the upper body can also result in a TBI by a violent shift of the head.
Types of TBIs
TBIs are categorized by severity, as well as type of injury. For example, TBIs may be classified as mild, moderate, or severe. Mild TBIs, also known as concussions, can heal on their own with medical supervision, time, and plenty of rest, or they can last for years. Moderate and severe TBIs are more likely to cause significant mental complications and possibly permanent or long-lasting impairments.
TBIs may also be described as “open” or “closed.” A closed TBI is one caused by a jolt or blow, while designating a TBI as “open” indicates that the injury was the result of the scalp or skull is broken, fractured or penetrated by an object.
TBI Signs and Symptoms
Bicycle accident victims suffering from a TBI may lose consciousness or experience any of the following symptoms:
- Concentration and memory problems
- Sensory issues, including sensitivity to light, sound, and touch
- Speech and comprehension difficulties
- Mood swings and personality changes
Seeking Compensation for a TBI
Depending on the severity and circumstances of the injury, a TBI can cause lifelong physical, cognitive, and behavioral deficits that may make it difficult for the victim to hold a job or care for themselves. Many TBI patients require extensive medical and assistive care, the cost of which can quickly mount. Fortunately, filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party allows victims to pursue compensation for economic and non-economic losses, including:
- Accident-related medical expenses (this can include doctor office visits, specialist visits, surgical procedures, hospital stays, prescriptions, medical-related travel expenses, etc.)
- Lost wages
- Loss of income
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
A knowledgeable personal injury attorney, in conjunction with the proper medical care, can help you determine which types of damages may be applicable to your specific bicycle accident case.
Consult an Experienced California Car Accident Attorney
A bicycle accident can turn a victim's life upside down, leaving their physical, personal, and financial future in serious jeopardy. If you sustained a TBI in a bicycle accident caused by someone else's negligence, the skilled attorneys with the Inland Empire Law Group can help you fight for the compensation you need and deserve. Contact us today at (888) 694-3529 or (909) 481-0100 to schedule an appointment for a free initial case consultation. Don't wait—the time to file a lawsuit is limited.