Bicycle accidents are common occurrences in Clay County and the larger Florida area. Bicycle injuries can change your life in an instant due to the lack of protection that bicycles offer. Being injured in a bicycle accident could lead to temporary or permanent disability, which may keep you from work or cycling in the future, not to mention the medical expenses you will have to incur. If you or your loved one has suffered a bicycle accident, you need to contact the Clay County Personal Injury Attorney to help you with a personal injury claim.

Overview of Bicycle Accidents in Florida

There are more than 6000 bicycle accidents every year in Florida. Most of these accidents include minor to severe injuries and in worst cases, fatalities. Bicyclists are vulnerable when on the road, especially from motorists. They are exposed to higher risks of injury with no protection or cover to take the impact. Most bicycle injuries occur due to several reasons, including:

  • Dooring where a motorist opens a car into the path of a bicyclists

  • Side swiping where the bicyclists are forced into the side of the car due to the motorists failure to allow enough space for the bicyclist to pass

  • Rear-ending where the motorist rear ends a bicycle due to inattention

  • Right crossing or left crossing in front of the bike (and in the bicyclist's path) especially at intersections

  • Speeding

  • Weather (such as glare from the sun, storms)

  • Motorists and other bicyclists who are operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol

  • Recklessness by other bicyclists

Whatever the cause of the accident, it can result in life-changing injuries to you or your loved one.

Common Injuries in a Bicycle Accident

Cycling comes with several risks. Whether you do it for fun, transport or exercise, getting on a bike exposes you to the risks of injuries. Though you may exercise protective measures such as obeying traffic rules and wearing safety gear, you have the risk of getting into an accident. Some of these accidents can have little to no injuries, while others have catastrophic and even fatal injuries. Below are some of the common accidents:

  1. Head Injuries

    The American Academy of Family Physicians estimates that between 22 and 47% of bicycle accidents result in head injuries. Head injuries usually occur in most vehicle collisions, including cyclists. These injuries can have life-threatening effects even when the damage does not feel great or is not noticeable.

    Most head injuries occur when you hit your head. Wearing a helmet can reduce the impact on your head, but you still need to see the doctor to rule out any internal injuries. Some of the indicators that you suffered a head injury include:

    • A cracked or broken helmet

    • A headache that does not go away or keeps getting worse

    • You lose consciousness

    • Confusion

    • Changes in vision

    Head injuries can have severe consequences, such as:

    • Traumatic brain injuries, which can be mild, moderate, or severe. Depending on the severity of the injury, you may need long-term care. Traumatic brain injuries can lead to confusion, behavioral, cognitive, and physical impairments, disorientation, and coma.

    • Concussions

    • Personality and emotional changes

    • Paralysis and loss of motor functions

    • Difficulty with speech

    These effects can have short-term and long-term effects that lead a dependent life even after treatment and rehabilitation. The effects extend to your friends, family, and other people with whom you interact.

    When you suffer a head injury, no matter how minor you feel it is, you must get medical treatment. Report any additional signs, such as headaches that you may suffer during the recovery period. Where a negligent motorist or cyclist caused the accident, you should contact your attorney to help you with your claim - medical care after a head injury can be expensive.

  2. Fractured Bones

    When cycling, your whole body is exposed, unlike in a car where the protective metal surrounds the passengers. Therefore, when an accident occurs, your body takes the impact of the accident, which may result in fractured bones.

    The most susceptible bones include those of the face, the neck, skull, back, hip, the collarbone, ribs, hands and wrists, and feet and ankle. The bones you break depends on the position of the bike, the nature of the accident, and the impact of the accident. The fractures can be:

    • Simple fractures

    • Compound fractures (they pierce the skin)

    • Transverse fractures (across the bone)

    • Comminuted fractures (at least three pieces)

    • Greenstick fractures

    • Displaced fracture (the bone breaks and moves out of alignment)

    • Non-displaced fracture (the bone breaks but remains aligned)

    The nature of the fracture determines the recovery time, the type of treatment required, and the medical expenses you will incur to fix them. Broken bones can result in permanent disability, permanent disfigurement, medical bills, and loss of earnings.

    Bone fractures can also affect the tissues around the broken bone. It is, therefore, crucial to get emergency medical treatment if you break a bone. Fast response is crucial to restoring the bone and reducing damage to the surrounding tissue.

    Spinal fractures can be the most devastating due to the increased risk of paralysis and permanent immobility. Spinal fractures are not as easy to detect as a broken arm. Here are some of the signs of a broken spine:

    • Difficulty walking

    • Inability to move your arms or legs

    • Back or neck pain

    • Muscle spasms

    • Tingling

    • Numbness

    • Changes in the bladder or bowel

    • Weakness

    If you experience any of these symptoms after the accident, notify the doctor so that they can conduct tests to check for spinal fractures.

    The impact of the fall during a crash can cause a broken rib. In most cases, a broken rib usually has only cracked. In some cases, however, the fracture may be severe and expose the surrounding blood vessels and organs to the risk of injury. Some of the complications that can arise from a broken rib include:

    • Torn or punctured aorta

    • Punctured Lung

    • Pneumonia

    • Lacerations on the spleen, liver or kidneys

    Broken ribs can heal on their own, but you need to get checked by the doctor to ascertain that the internal organs and blood vessels are not at risk. Broken ribs are associated with pain when breathing deeply, and tenderness and pain near the ribs.

    Suffering a skull fracture can be life-threatening if not treated promptly. A skull fracture occurs when the injury to the head is hard enough to cause a crack of multiple fractures on the skull.

    Depending on the severity of the fracture, it can be considered:

    • A simple fracture where only the skull fractures

    • A compound fracture which includes a fracture in the skull and skin

    • A linear fracture in which the fracture is in one line

    • A depressed fracture where the bones of the skull are displaced towards the brain

    Skull fracture increases the chances of suffering brain damage. You can tell the skull is fractured if:

    • You have a headache at the point of impact

    • Blood or a clear liquid flow from your ears, nose or eyes

    • Bruising behind the eyes

    • Drowsiness, confusion, and irritability

    • Difficulty in speaking or slurred speech

    • Dilated pupils

    • Difficulty breathing

    • Numbness or paralysis

    • Facial weakness

    • Loss of bladder and bowel control

    When your loved one suffers a bicycle accident with injuries to the head, you need to take.them to the emergency room as soon as possible. Early response is vital in increasing the chances of recovery and avoiding disability or the decline of the person into a permanent vegetative state.

  3. Facial Trauma

    When the bicycle accident forces the cyclist off the bike, face first, they are likely to sustain facial trauma. Facial trauma includes any form of physical trauma to any part of the face, including the eyes, nose, jaw, and soft tissues. Some of the common injuries to the face include lacerations, bruises, nasal and jaw fractures, and eye injuries.

    Eye injuries can occur due to wounds on or around the eyes, debris entering the eye and brain injuries. Eye injuries are characterized by blurred vision, eye sensitivity, double vision, headaches, and blindness (full or partial). Some eye injuries can result in permanent blindness.

    Fractured jaws can happen even when you are wearing a helmet since the chin area is not protected. The symptoms of a fractured jaw include change of facial shape, loose or lost teeth, difficulty in opening the mouth, and chewing, swelling of the face and difficulty in breathing.

    When the jaw is injured, your teeth may also suffer in the process. They may chip, crack, or be extracted, which adds to your medical expenses.

    The treatment for fractured jaws depends on the severity of the fracture. It may include options such as wiring the upper and lower teeth together, bandaging the head and chin to immobilize the jaw and implantation of plates to stabilize the jaw. You may still experience permanent pain and discomfort even after successful treatment.

    Facial disfigurement is a permanent effect of facial trauma from a bike accident. Disfigurement can include the scars you get from lacerations or bruises from the injury. They can affect the way you socialize and relate with others.

    The treatment you receive for facial trauma depends on the nature of the injuries and can include bandaging, suturing, surgeries, and radiography. In some cases, you may need expensive cosmetic surgery to restore your facial structure.

    The symptoms of facial trauma include:

    • Pain

    • Bruising

    • Swelling

    • Deformity of the nose

    • Sunken cheekbones

    • Misaligned teeth

    • Numbness of the lip and chin

    • Profuse nose bleeding

    Although facial injuries are not fatal, you need to get treatment to check whether your airways are blocked. Facial trauma leads to blockage of the airways due to swelling and bleeding.

  4. Dislocated Joints

    Joints are said to have dislocated when there is an abnormal separation between them. The impact of a fall from a bicycle can lead to dislocation of the joints on the shoulder, knees, fingers, or toes.

    Joint pain is usually characterized by:

    • Intense pain

    • Deformity around the joint

    • Stiffness and difficulty in moving the joint

    • Weak muscles

    In a bicycle accident, you can dislocate a joint when using the hand to break your fall. Joint dislocations can lead to other injuries to the surrounding soft tissues and ligaments. Returning the joint in position requires the assistance of a qualified doctor to avoid causing further damage to the surrounding tissues.

    Your doctor will use imaging to determine whether the blood vessels, nerves, and tissues surrounding the joint are injured. The doctor may need to pull the bones apart and rotate them before returning them into their correct position. Attempting to fix a dislocated joint could result in trapped blood vessels and nerves, which results in additional problems, immediately and in the future.

    Immediately after the treatment, you will experience relief but may still have some soreness from injuries to the neighboring tissues. Recovery may last a few weeks to a few months, depending on the affected joint, which could affect your ability to earn or engage in activities you previously enjoyed.

  5. Road Rash

    When you fall off the bike, you are likely to get scrapes on the hands, arms, shoulders, legs, and thighs, and the face. Road rash is either first, second, or third degree.

    Minor road rash includes redness of the skin and some scrapes. This is called first-degree road rash. Second-degree road rash includes scrapes that break the skin, which exposes the wound to foreign bodies. You will need to see the doctor for cleaning and dressing of the wounds. Third-degree road rash is more serious and may include damage to the skin, muscle, and nerves. It usually penetrates all the layers of the skin; therefore, it takes longer to heal and leaves permanent scars. Like in second-degree road rash, foreign bodies may enter the wound. If these foreign bodies cause infection, it may worsen the injury and fatalities.

    If you can, it is advisable to clean the wound thoroughly and dress it as a first aid measure to prevent infection of the wound. You should also keep it clean until it heals.

  6. Neck Injuries

    Neck injuries are common in most bicycle accidents. They occur when the head is suddenly tossed or moved in various directions. Neck injuries include sprains, muscle strains, injury to the tendons, ligaments, and nerves.

    The neck is very mobile, which makes it prone to injuries during an accident. Some of the symptoms of neck injury include:

    • Sharp pain

    • Loss of range of motion

    • Stiffness

    It is possible to have a neck fracture after a bike accident, which can be very painful. In other cases, the spinal discs in the neck become displaced, which leads to leakage of the spinal fluid. This fluid puts pressure on the spine and spinal nerves resulting in sharp neck pain.

    If you experience symptoms such as severe neck pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness, the discs of your neck may have separated. Treatment for separated disc includes physical therapy or surgery.

    Whiplash is a common neck injury, which results from the sudden movement of the body, causing the muscles and ligaments of the neck to stretch. The symptoms of whiplash are mainly felt hours after the accident. It is accompanied by symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, and problems with vision.

  7. Pelvic Trauma

    Pelvic trauma is an injury to the tissues, organs, or bones in the pelvic region. Bicycle accidents are one of the causes of pelvic injuries such as pelvic fractures, internal injuries, injury to the reproductive system, and damage to the blood vessels in the pelvic region.

    Pelvic trauma is common where the accidents result in a direct impact with the pelvic region of the bicyclists. Such injuries happen when motorists fail to give the right of way to bicyclists at intersections.

    Symptoms of pelvic trauma include:

    • Pelvic pain

    • Difficulty or inability to walk

    • Deformed pelvis

    • Rectal bleeding

    • Urinating blood or the inability to urinate

    • Numbness and weakness in the legs

    • Hypotension

    Pelvic trauma requires surgery to treat. It can be a complicated process with challenges such as the risk for over bleeding and injury to the bladder and urethra. Pelvic trauma could permanently affect the stability of the lower body and restrict mobility.

  8. Amputation

    Amputations in bicycle accidents occur either during the accident or during treatment. Parts of the legs, fingers, toes, or hands may be lost due to impact. At the hospital, the doctor may surgically remove limbs that are severely injured.

    Amputations can be devastating, physically, and psychologically. Apart from the challenges in mobility and handlings tasks you previously completed, you may develop self-esteem issues, depression, and anger.

    After treatment, you may require rehabilitation and counseling to help you come into terms with the new you and adjust to living with the missing limbs.

    Losing limbs also restricts the activities you can engage in, which can reduce the quality of life. You can use prosthetics (artificial limbs) which could be quite expensive.

    If the negligence of another caused the accident, you could sue them for damages, including your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

  9. Internal Abdominal Injuries

    Internal abdominal injuries from bicycle injuries are usually fatal - mostly because they can go undetected, where there are no visible injuries. Internal injuries to the abdomen can include those on:

    • The abdominal wall

    • Blood vessels in the abdomen

    • Internal organs like the kidneys, spleen, liver, and pancreas

    • The stomach area, the uterus, intestines, and the bladder

    Internal bleeding is the largest complication arising from an internal abdominal injury. Other complications include hematoma rapture and intestinal blockage.

    If during the accident you were hit or fell on your abdomen, you should inform your doctor. The doctor will check your abdomen to ensure that it is in good shape.

  10. Death

    Death is perhaps the most devastating injury after a bicycle injury. Your loved one can die immediately after the accident or due to an injury from the accident. Injuries such as head injuries and spinal injuries are likely to cause the death of the bicyclist. The family can sue the negligent party for wrongful death damages to recover damages for medical expenses, burial costs, lost wages and non-economic damages such as loss of companionship, pain and suffering and loss of parental care.

What To Do After An Injury

When you are injured in a bicycle accident, the severity of the accident determines whether you are capable of moving or not. For serious accidents, you will probably be taken to the emergency room immediately. Seeking medical treatment should be your priority after the accident.

During the doctor’s examination, you need to discuss any pain you may be feeling. You can also express concerns if you think you may have sustained an internal injury.

If you are conscious after the accident, try to breathe in deeply to determine whether you have any broken ribs. If you experience some pain, you need to have the doctor check for broken ribs and soft tissue injury.

Seeking medical treatment after the accident helps your case. Without prompt medical care, the insurer may belittle your claim on the basis that the injuries are not as serious as you claim, or were not a result of the accident.

If you suspect a head, spinal or neck injuries, limit movement as much as possible to avoid worsening the condition.

Contacting a personal injury lawyer is also as important. Personal injury lawyers understand the laws surrounding bicycle accidents and injuries. They will help you in collecting evidence, presenting, and negotiating your claim. Keep your medical records, bills, and receipts of any expenses you incur due to your injury.

Find A Personal Injury Attorney Near Me

Finding a personal injury attorney who has your best interests at heart can be a frustrating process. The Clay County Personal Injury Attorney has years of experience in handling claims for bicycle-related injuries. Our experience and dedication to customers sets us apart as a go-to companion who will do the work for you as you recover from your injuries. We work to ensure that the settlement you receive compensates you for your damage. We achieve this by gathering as much evidence as possible, including interviewing witnesses and presenting their testimony in court. Call our Clay County personal injury lawyer today at 904-494-8242 for a free consultation and evaluation of your case.