Being involved in a bike accident is more than just an inconvenience. In many cases, these accidents lead to serious health troubles, which can have a significant impact on the lives of victims. Each year, about 900 bicyclists die, and over 130,000 are seriously injured in bicycle accidents that occur on U.S. roads. The cost of injuries and deaths related to bicycle crashes exceeds $23 billion each year. According to a report by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were 6,563 bicycle crashes in Florida in 2020. Of those, Hillsborough County, where Tampa is located, had 442 bicycle crashes.
Many different forms of injuries can result from a bike accident. Because bicyclists do not have the protection that an automobile would provide, the injuries they sustain are often very severe. If you are a resident of Tampa, FL, and have been in a bicycle accident, you must contact a Tampa bike accident attorney to learn more about how you can seek justice and fair compensation. Here’s what you should know about the severe injuries that bike accidents can cause:
Bike accidents can cause concussions, head injuries, and traumatic brain injuries. Brain injuries can have potentially life-altering changes, including learning disabilities, sensory deficits, interrupted bodily function, memory issues, and even permanent emotional and mental changes. A person with a traumatic brain injury may have difficulty writing, speaking, walking, or communicating their thoughts.
Spinal Cord Injuries
A bike rider who sustains an impact on the spine can suffer nerve damage, fractures in the bone, or damage to the disks in the spine. Spinal cord injuries often cause permanent changes in a victim’s body function, sensation, and strength. Bicycle riders are vulnerable to spinal cord injuries when they’re thrown to the hard pavement or directly hit by a motor vehicle.
These injuries are devastating and affect a victim’s social, mental, emotional, and physical aspects of life. That said, spinal cord injuries cause:
- Loss of movement
- Altered sexual function
- Breathing difficulties
- Loss of sensation
- Severe pain
- Loss of bowel and bladder control
When hit from behind, the force might propel the bicyclist into the bike’s handlebars. That can result in fractured ribs, chest contusions, or punctured lungs. A hard blow to the chest can also injure blood vessels and the heart. Without immediate medical treatment, lung damage can reduce the oxygen supply to the brain, causing additional brain trauma.
Even with a helmet, a bike accident can cause significant damage to the bicyclist’s face. The face has 14 bones, including the jaw and cheekbones, which can be broken or shattered during an accident. In addition, a bike rider can suffer a distorted face, lost or broken tooth, impaired vision, broken nose, or permanent scarring. Small rocks and pieces of glass can penetrate the skin, causing serious damage.
Soft-tissue or musculoskeletal injuries are common after a bike accident. When hit on the side, a cyclist may break a leg or get a torn ligament. If they get knocked from behind, they may experience a whiplash. A bike rider who tries to protect their body using their hands might dislocate a shoulder, hurt their wrists, or break their hands. If left exposed, fractures can also lead to more serious health issues, including internal bleeding and infections. A bone fracture can limit movement and prevent the victim from working.
In a bike accident, the victim can be seriously impacted by “trunk trauma,” causing them to bleed and stop functioning properly. In most cases, surgery is needed to repair blood vessels and stop bleeding. A damaged organ, such as a ruptured spleen, might have to be fully removed in some instances.
Back and Neck Injuries
Another serious health issue caused by bike accidents is injury to the back and neck. Bicyclists who are struck with extreme force are likely to roll or land on their backs after a crash. These can cause severe trauma to the neck and back, which can lead to lifelong pain, reduced quality of life, and life-altering economic impact.
Emotional and Mental Injuries
In addition to physical injuries, a bike accident can also wreak havoc on the victim’s mental and emotional well-being. When an accident brings trauma, the victim may be dealing with sleep difficulties, anxiety, PTSD, mental anguish, and avoidance of daily activities.
Bike riders are at a higher risk of injury every time they hit the streets. Bike accidents can cause severe and long-term health troubles, which often require extensive treatment and rehabilitation. If you’ve been injured in a bike accident, you may be eligible for compensation from the at-fault party. You need a bike accident attorney to help you investigate the incident, navigate the legal system, and obtain maximum compensation for your injuries.