San Jose Bicycle Accident Injury Lawyers

Types of Injuries Resulting from Bike Crashes

In a collision between a bicyclist and a motor vehicle, the motor vehicle always wins. Bicycle crashes often result in very serious injuries that require months or years, even a lifetime of treatment. Bicycle accident injuries may require the services of a reconstructive surgeon, orthopedic expert, oral and maxillofacial surgeon, or an ophthalmologist to name a few.

Additionally, the injury could require:

  • Physical therapy
  • Assistive devices
  • In-home care
  • Speech therapy
  • Language therapy

An unprotected human body cannot withstand the impact of a motor vehicle. When the body makes contact with the ground or another object, such as a pole or tree, serious injury will result.

Some of the injuries that are sustained by our clients as a result of collisions are:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Severe burns from contact with the asphalt or rough surface
  • Crushed or broken bones
  • Loss of eyesight
  • Loss of teeth
  • Paralysis
  • Broken bones

Get the Facts on Broken Bone Injuries

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were around 38,000 bicyclist injuries nationwide in 2011. This is a significant improvement from 1995 which saw 61,000 bicyclist injuries. Safety awareness and the introduction of bicycle-friendly infrastructure into more and more neighborhoods are dramatically reducing the number of bike accident injuries that occur each year; however, the injury rate is far from zero. Bicycle accident injuries still take place every day, broken bones being one of the most common types.

What to Expect from a Broken Bone Case

Unlike a motorist who has multiple barriers surrounding him or her for protection, a bicyclist is vulnerable to external forces. Only a helmet covers the head while the rest of the body is left bare. This is why so many crashes lead to broken bones, as there is no cushion between the bicyclist's body and impact. Physical therapy and other treatments may be called for, depleting even more finances. Finally, the victim may not recover fully from the injury and, as a result, he or she may have to deal with the following issues for an extended period of time:

  • Chronic pain
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement

Head Injuries Are Common Results of Bicycle Accidents

Head injuries are the most common serious injuries that we see in our practice. An injury to the brain will drastically change your life because your brain controls your personality. If you or a loved one is injured in a bicycle accident, even if a helmet is worn, it is important to seek medical attention immediately to rule out a brain injury. Side effects of a brain injury are:

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Slurred speech
  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Trembling
  • Loss of coordination
  • Paralysis - temporary or permanent
  • Mood swings - changes in personality
  • Memory loss
  • Weakness in arms and legs

Startling Statistics

According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, bicycling accounted for about 86,000 of 447,000 sports-related head injuries in 2009. Of all fatal bicycle accidents that occur annually, 75% involve head injuries. Although 85% of head injuries in cycling can be prevented by helmet use, in cases of extreme impact, not even helmets can protect victims from head injuries.

If an individual is able to recover fully from head trauma, he or she still faces consequences far down the line. An individual who has suffered a brain injury for the first time is three times more likely to suffer a (second) head injury. If the individual is unfortunate enough to suffer a second head injury, he or she is then eight times more likely to suffer a (third) head injury.

The Many Costs of a Head Injury

In the case of a minor head injury, or a concussion, the victim may recover completely in a timely fashion with relatively little costs, although he or she has to practice great caution in his or her daily activities due to the increased risk of another head injury. However, if the head trauma suffered by the victim is more serious, he or she may deal with the consequences for a lifetime. Permanent brain damage may lead to:

  • Dependence on assisted care
  • Medical equipment such as wheelchairs
  • Extensive therapy sessions
  • Continued treatment

If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, you will need a skilled and compassionate San Jose bicycle accident lawyer by your side. Our knowledgeable lawyers at Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP focus on helping injured clients seek restitution for their damages. We will explain your legal rights so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not you want to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver that caused your injuries. Even if you were partially at fault, you may still be entitled to compensation in the state of California.

Common Causes of Bicyclist Fatalities

Most fatal bicycle accidents occur due to misconduct on the part of motorists. Bicyclists have the right to share the road with other vehicles; in turn, motorists are legally obligated to practice safe driving around bicyclists. Yet, not all motorists choose to behave according to these expectations. Bicyclist fatalities are often caused by:

  • Drivers who pass cyclists in an unsafe or aggressive manner
  • Drivers who turn into the cyclist's path
  • Drivers who speed, or run red lights or stop signs
  • Drivers who are in an impaired state

There can also be accident cases in which a motorist is not involved at all. Bad road conditions or other instances of faulty infrastructure may also lead to fatal bike accidents. The government is expected to provide safe streets and adequate signage for bicyclists and motorists alike. If they fail to do so then they can be held liable for any harm that befalls the affected victim.

Losses and Recovery

Family members or other loved ones who were dependent on the victim of a fatal bike accident may file a wrongful death claim. Under California law, they may recover damages according to the losses they sustained upon the death of the victim, including:

  • Loss of love, society, companionship, comfort, protection, care, and consortium
  • Loss of services
  • Loss of financial contributions
  • Loss of training and advice
  • Funeral and burial expenses

Preventing Bicycle Injuries

Proper bicycle safety and training can greatly reduce the risk of injury. Protective equipment can reduce the severity of injury if a California bicycle accident occurs. For instance, wearing a helmet can reduce head injuries by 85%.

Protective equipment:

  • Helmets (required by law for minors), make sure it fits properly and adjust as needed
  • Gloves
  • Eye protection
  • Reflective and bright clothing
  • Extra padding for beginners (knee & elbow)

Mechanical:

  • Correct fit of bicycle
  • Regular safety checks
  • Proper functioning brakes
  • Suspension

Education:

  • Bicycle safety campaigns
  • Learn the proper hand signals

Environmental:

  • Proper road maintenance
  • Separate bicycle paths

Call us today for a free case evaluation so that we can begin an immediate investigation into your accident and you can focus on your recovery. You can reach our firm at (800) 900-0863.

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