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5 Common Bicycle Accident Injuries: How a San Antonio Bicycle Accident Lawyer Can Help

Written by Tom Crosley
Jan 31, 2022 Catastrophic Personal Injury, Motorcycle & Bicycle Accidents, Personal Injury, Vehicle Wrecks
  1. 1. Cyclists Are Incredibly Vulnerable During a Bicycle Accident
  2. 2. #1. Head Injuries and Bicycle Accidents
  3. 3. #2. Neck and Back Injuries and Bicycle Accidents
  4. 4. #3. Broken Bones and Bicycle Accidents
  5. 5. #4. Soft Tissue Injuries, “Road Rash,” and Bicycle Accidents
  6. 6. #5. Bicycle Fatalities
  7. 7. What Should You Do After a Bicycle Accident?
  8. 8. Who Is to Blame for Your San Antonio Bicycle Accident?
  9. 9. How to Get Compensated for Your Bike Accident Injuries
  10. 10. Crosley Law: San Antonio Bicycle Accident Lawyers With a Track Record of Success

5 Common Bicycle Accident Injuries: How a San Antonio Bicycle Accident Lawyer Can Help

As avid cyclists, the team at Crosley Law knows how satisfying—and dangerous—bicycles can be. While it’s always in your best interest to use protective equipment and follow all local ordinances, even careful cyclists can end up with serious injuries after bicycle accidents with cars, trucks, and commercial vehicles.

Our San Antonio personal injury lawyers represent bicycle accident victims throughout Bexar County, helping them rebuild and get the answers they deserve. Over the years, we’ve seen almost every bicycle injury imaginable, and have worked with respected experts to document their injuries and calculate our clients’ losses.  

Keep reading to learn more about common bike accident injuries, and what you can expect when you pursue compensation for your lost income, medical bills, and pain and suffering. We’ll also discuss when you should contact an experienced San Antonio bicycle accident attorney and how they can help.

Cyclists Are Incredibly Vulnerable During a Bicycle Accident

For many people in San Antonio, cycling is a way of life. Our city has ample greenways and is promising more dedicated bike lanes in the future. However, San Antonio consistently ranks as one of the most dangerous cities for cyclists and bike riders in the United States.

No matter how responsible a bicyclist you are, you cannot fully protect yourself from reckless or distracted drivers. Most passenger cars and trucks weigh between 3,000 and 4,000 pounds, and that’s before they’re filled with cargo and people. Even if you’re wearing a helmet and other protective gear while on your bike, your body cannot easily endure the kind of forces you experience during a car-bike wreck.

Every year, about 900 people suffer bicycle fatalities in the United States—and more than a half million people head to the emergency room due to bicycle-related injuries. Many times, they suffer multiple, catastrophic injuries).

Now, let’s explore five of the most common injuries bicyclists experience during a crash.

#1. Head Injuries and Bicycle Accidents

While head injuries occur in 22% to 47% of bicycle accidents, they cause 60% of bicycle-related deaths and serious disabilities. After a bike collision, you might experience traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and other head trauma:

  • Concussion: During a concussion, or “mild traumatic brain injury,” a trauma causes the brain to strike the inside of your skull, damaging brain cells and changing your brain’s chemistry.
  • Intracranial Hemorrhaging: Bleeding around your brain is known as intracranial hemorrhaging, and it reduces oxygen supply and causes dangerous levels of pressure in your skull.
  • Eye Injuries: Cuts, abrasions, and debris can damage your corneas and other eye structures if you are struck by a vehicle while cycling.
  • Dental Injuries: Trauma can fracture, chip, or move a tooth’s position.

Unfortunately, some brain and head injuries are difficult to diagnose or might take time to develop. If you have questions about a bicycle-related head injury, it’s in your best interest to consult with a personal injury lawyer.

Correct use of a bicycle helmet may reduce your risk of head, facial, or dental injuries, but they cannot prevent every injury. While neither Texas nor the city of San Antonio has a mandatory bicycle helmet law, we encourage riders to wear a properly fitted helmet on every ride.

RELATED VIDEO: Traumatic Brain Injury Frequently Asked Questions

#2. Neck and Back Injuries and Bicycle Accidents

Neck and back injuries are all too common during car-bike wrecks, especially if you are thrown over your bike’s handlebars. In a 2021 study published in The Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine, 81% of sports-related spinal injuries occurred on bicycles—and the overwhelming majority of those cases involved a motor vehicle accident.

#3. Broken Bones and Bicycle Accidents

Bike riders frequently break bones during a car collision, especially their arms, collarbones, legs, hands, wrists, feet, ankles, skull, pelvis, and ribs. Fractures typically occur when a bicycle rider experiences blunt trauma during a fall or high-speed collision. Sometimes, serious bicycle crashes cause multiple fractures that require intensive medical treatment.

#4. Soft Tissue Injuries, “Road Rash,” and Bicycle Accidents

Soft tissue injuries involve more than just cuts, bruises, sprains, and strains. While many soft tissue injuries heal over time, others have long-term effects. Sometimes, injured bicycle riders require skin grafts, surgeries, and other significant medical treatment.

For example, soft tissue injuries to the neck and back can cause chronic pain and permanent disabilities. Serious “road rash” can cause scarring and traumatic tattooing if dirt or debris becomes embedded in the skin. Organ damage can also occur during a car-bicycle crash or if you forcefully hit your bicycle’s handlebars.

#5. Bicycle Fatalities

As we mentioned above, hundreds of people die every year after a car-bicycle wreck. In 2020 alone, 80 people died in Texas due to fatal bicycle injuries. Many of these individuals suffered catastrophic damage to their internal organs, brain, and spinal cord. In these cases, their loved ones might have wrongful death claims against the at-fault driver.

Case Study: Wayne C.’s Family Gets Answers After a Fatal Wreck

We represented Wayne’s family after a massive tractor-trailer struck his bike in an intersection. Because Wayne died at the scene, he could not refute the truck driver’s claims that he had run a stop sign and caused the bicycle accident. However, Wayne’s family was convinced that the experienced cyclist was not to blame.

Initially, Wayne’s family worked with another law firm, but got nowhere after years of negotiations. Finally, they turned to Crosley Law. We quickly built a compelling claim that highlighted the trucking company’s wrongdoing:

  • Wayne had been biking in a designated bike lane.
  • The trucker drove by multiple road signs warning them to look out for cyclists.
  • According to the San Antonio Police Department, the 18-wheeler had documented 21 safety violations at the time of the crash, including a non-functioning right turn signal, cracked axles, and defective brakes.
  • The trucker’s driver’s license had been revoked due to past traffic violations.
  • The truck driver was attempting to turn into a driveway that had been improperly designed, and he had to make an unreasonably wide turn to enter the facility

Armed with this information, our San Antonio bicycle accident attorney aggressively negotiated with the negligent companies. Eventually, the insurers agreed to pay a $1,075,000 settlement to Wayne’s family.

RELATED:  A Cyclist Loses His Life in a Truck Wreck: Wayne C.’s Story

What Should You Do After a Bicycle Accident?

It’s hard to think rationally after a bicycle crash. Your adrenaline is racing, and you might be in severe pain. First and foremost, you should call 911 to get prompt medical treatment for your injuries and get police dispatched to the scene of the collision.

If you can safely move out of the roadway, you should do the following:

  • Cooperate with police and emergency medical staff on the scene
  • Get contact and insurance information from the negligent driver
  • Take pictures of the accident scene and your injuries
  • Identify witnesses who saw the crash and get their contact information

These preliminary steps will help document the collision and might provide helpful evidence in your claim. Unfortunately, when a bicyclist is hit by a car, their injuries are often catastrophic. 

After getting immediate medical attention, then, one of the best steps you can take to preserve evidence and strengthen a potential lawsuit is contact an experienced San Antonio bicycle injury lawyer. Insurance companies may deny your bicycle-related claim or make an unreasonably low settlement offer. A lawyer can help you understand your claim’s value and advocate on your behalf, giving you time to focus on your physical and emotional well-being.

Who Is to Blame for Your San Antonio Bicycle Accident?

Not all bicycle wrecks are caused by rider error. Environmental hazards, mechanical failure, and other people’s negligence are other common causes of bicycle injuries. If you were injured in a bicycle collision, a personal injury lawyer can help you assess who is responsible and what sources of compensation may be available.

Depending on the nature of your crash, you may have claims against:

  • A negligent driver or motorcyclist who crashed into you
  • A manufacturer or seller if your bicycle had defective or dangerous parts
  • A government entity if a road defect led to your injuries
  • Your own auto insurance policy if you have coverage for personal injury protection or uninsured/underinsured motorists protection

These are just a few examples of claims that an injured cyclist may have. Speaking to a qualified and experienced personal injury attorney will give you a clearer picture of who is at fault in your bicycle injury lawsuit. In our practice, we find that most clients do not realize that they may be covered under certain provisions of their automobile liability insurance policy even though they were riding a bicycle, not driving a car.

In some cases, we have obtained as much as $100,000 in extra settlement dollars for our clients by pursuing such claims. This is one of the reasons why we recommend to our clients that they carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

Case Study: Carl R. Suffers Multiple Injuries and Faces Victim Blaming

We represented Carl, a cyclist who was hit by a distracted driver. He suffered catastrophic injuries:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Multiple broken bones (tibia, fibula, ribs, sternum, spine, and pelvis)
  • Bowel perforation
  • Bruised and collapsed lung
  • Facial lacerations and a broken nose

He was rushed to the hospital due to his potentially life-threatening injuries.

However, because Carl could not speak for himself, he was partially blamed for his crash. (A witness claimed that Carl’s headlight was not operating at the time of the wreck.)

So, even though there was no denying that the truck’s driver had caused the collision, their insurance company refused to compensate Carl for his injuries.

Thankfully, he contacted a San Antonio bicycle accident lawyer at Crosley Law. We worked with multiple experts, including accident reconstruction engineers, doctors, economists, and even jury focus groups to build his case. After hearing our well-prepared arguments during mediation, the insurance company agreed to pay Carl $1.5 million for his injuries and losses.

RELATED: The Crosley Law Team Secures a $1.5 Million Settlement for an Injured Bicyclist: Carl R.’s Story

How to Get Compensated for Your Bike Accident Injuries

When someone else’s carelessness causes you injury, you deserve to be compensated for what you’ve lost, from money for medical bills to daily quality of life. However, to get the accountability you deserve, you will need to file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

If you’re working with a San Antonio personal injury lawyer, they’ll help you investigate your bicycle accident claim and handle all the important details. You can help your lawyer by keeping the following these simple steps:

  • Keep your medical bills, records, and receipts in a safe, easy-to-find place.
  • Track your daily pain and how the injuries affect your life as a record of your non-economic costs.
  • Avoid talking about the accident or your injuries with an adjuster or on social media, as anything you say could be twisted by the insurance company.
  • Go to your medical appointments and follow the instructions you’re given to show you’re doing all you can to heal.

While the exact amount you may get in a bike accident settlement depends on the various factors of your specific case, doing these things can put the odds in your favor for fair compensation.

Factors That Might Complicate Your Personal Injury Case

Certain things can make your case for compensation more complex in terms of fault and what you can be compensated for. Always be honest with your bicycle accident lawyers about the incident itself and how it changed your life. Consider the following as you discuss your case:

  • Pre-existing conditions: Even though the insurance company might make a big deal about your pre-existing conditions (and try to offer you an unfairly low settlement), it doesn’t mean you aren’t eligible for compensation. However, you will probably need to work with a San Antonio bicycle accident lawyer and medical experts to strengthen your case.
  • Contributory negligence or comparative fault: Like in Carl’s case, insurance companies often try to shift blame to innocent cyclists. If you were not wearing a helmet or reflective gear, the adjuster might try to argue that you caused or contributed to the crash. Our attorneys often work with engineers, doctors, and other experts to clarify the situation.
  • Uninsured or underinsured motorist: Bicycle crashes can cause serious or fatal injuries. If the at-fault driver has a tiny insurance policy (or no liability coverage), you will need to find other insurance policies that apply to your case. These might include your uninsured/underinsured motorist and personal injury protection (PIP) However, any time multiple insurance companies get involved, prepare for a fight. A San Antonio bicycle accident lawyer can help you negotiate with all the competing adjusters and companies.

If you’re not sure what to do next, reach out to the team at Crosley Law. Our personal injury lawyers have a long history of handling complex bicycle injury claims in San Antonio and across Bexar County—and consultations are always free.

Crosley Law: San Antonio Bicycle Accident Lawyers With a Track Record of Success

If you were seriously injured in a bicycle accident, contact Crosley Law Firm for a free consultation. We understand the pain and frustration you’re dealing with. We will strive to get you the medical care you need and the settlement or jury award you deserve. 

Simply complete our online form or call us at 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000 to schedule an appointment with a San Antonio bicycle accident lawyer today. We offer in person, virtual, and phone consultations.

References

Hauser, B. M., Gupta, S., Hoffman, S. E., Zaki, M. M., Roffler, A. A., Cote, D. J., Lu, Y., Chi, J. H., Groff, M. W., Khawaja, A. M., Smith, T. R., & Zaidi, H. A. (2021). Adult sports-related traumatic spinal injuries: do different activities predispose to certain injuries?, Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine (published online ahead of print 2021). Retrieved Dec 28, 2021, from https://thejns.org/spine/view/journals/j-neurosurg-spine/aop/article-10.3171-2021.1.SPINE201860/article-10.3171-2021.1.SPINE201860.xml

Pedestrian and Pedalcyclist Injuries and Crashes, 2020. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved from https://ftp.txdot.gov/pub/txdot-info/trf/crash_statistics/2020/07.pdf

Ramirez, Q. (2020, January 14). San Antonio named one of deadliest U.S. cities for cyclists, study says. News4SA. Retrieved from https://news4sanantonio.com/news/local/san-antonio-named-one-of-deadliest-us-cities-for-cyclists-study-says

Thompson, M. (2001, May). Bicycle-related injuries. American Family Physician. Retrieved from http://www.aafp.org/afp/2001/0515/p2007.html.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

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