Bicycle Accidents and Spinal Cord Injuries – What You Need to Know
Bicycle accidents can lead to serious, life-changing injuries. Riders usually have no protection from the force of collision beyond a helmet. Unfortunately, however, even the best helmet cannot fully protect you from injuries to the neck, spine, and back. This fact means that bicyclists involved in serious collisions can suffer serious trauma to the spinal cord that can lead to significant complications like paralysis. It is important for spinal cord injury victims to hire a personal injury lawyer who understands the complex anatomy and physiology of these injuries. Call Deldar Legal’s San Jose bike accident attorneys at (844) 335-3271. At your free consultation with one of our experienced San Jose bicycle injury attorneys, you will learn how we win accident cases. We work with medical experts, economists, and other professionals to provide strong evidence of the full value of your losses. We fight against lowball settlement offers and other insurance company tactics. Let us protect your legal rights so you can focus on making the best recovery possible. A bicycle accident attorney can help you navigate the post injury process.
Bicycle Injuries by the Numbers
An Irish trauma study reported in The Surgeon found a 200 percent increase in spinal injuries involving cyclists between 2010 and 2013. (By comparison, spinal injuries involving motorcycle accidents actually decreased by 68 percent during the same time period.) Bicycle accidents are on the rise here in the United States, as well. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 20 percent more pedalcyclist fatalities in 2007 than in 2016 (701 compared to 840). And the Los Angeles Times reports that bicyclist deaths in the United States increased 16 percent between 2010 and 2012. Other vehicle fatalities rose by just one percent during this same time period.
Here in California, the bicycle injury problem is worse than in any other state. The Times reported that California had the greatest number of bicycle deaths of any state in 2012. California also had the highest total number of deaths between 2010 and 2012. Part of this problem can be attributed to our higher population. Cycling is also popular in California: we have pleasant weather that is conducive to year-round cycling. We also have heavy vehicle traffic and many bike-friendly cities that encourage many Californians to commute by bicycle rather than car. While bicycle commuting is good for the environment and your health, it does increase the risk that you will sustain serious injuries in a bicycle accident.
Tips for Safe Riding
AAA recommends that bicyclists: (1) be alert (scan ahead, center, left and right), (2) be wary (pay attention to vehicles, pedestrians and others on the road), and (3) be seen (use your horn, hand signals and light to be seen by others on the road).
AAA also recommends that you:
- Wear your helmet. Follow this simple rule, and you reduce your risk of serious injury by as much as 85 percent.
- Keep your head up and look ahead, not at the ground. You need to see what is coming up so you have time to react and maneuver.
- One person per bike. Riding with unsecured passengers puts you at risk for injury to yourself and others.
- Ride single file with space between bikes.
- Ride on the right side of the road, never against traffic. Otherwise, you are at risk for an accident – or a ticket.
- Plan ahead if you are riding in a group. Agree on the route ahead of time. Have a plan on what you will do if separated by traffic.
- If you will be riding in an unfamiliar area, check out local laws and rules first.
- Avoid busy roads and peak traffic times on your route.
- Before riding at night, ask someone to help you check your visibility to motorists.
- Maintain the bikes in your household. Keep chains clean and lubricated and periodically inspect brake pads.
- Do not wear headphones while riding.
- Keep both hands on the handlebars, except when signaling.
- Keep both feet on pedals.
- In a group, ride single-file, with the flow of traffic.
- Wear a brightly colored helmet and retro-reflective material on your clothing.
- Use the correct hand signals.
- Before entering a roadway: Stop. Look left. Look right. Look left.
- Avoid riding at twilight or in the dark, especially on narrow roads and roads with speed limits that exceed 35 mph.
The Many Costs of a Spinal Cord Injury
Negligent drivers have a legal obligation to compensate bicycle accident victims for all the losses they suffer due to a spinal cord injury. Even minor spinal cord injuries result in a wide variety of losses. You might miss work and accrue significant medical bills. You might need to consult with a neurological specialist or undergo rehabilitation, like physical therapy or occupational therapy. You are also owed compensation for your pain and suffering. Even if your spinal cord injury was simple bruising, the negligent driver has a legal obligation to pay for your discomfort.
The more complex a spinal injury is, the more costs will be associated with it. Serious spinal cord injuries can result in paraplegia or quadriplegia. The victim might be unable to work again. In this case, the negligent driver must compensate all the wages the victim would have earned between the time of the accident and retirement. Lost wages also include lost benefits, such as employer-sponsored health insurance, private retirement contributions, and social security benefits. The victim might require in-home nursing care or expensive renovations to make their home wheelchair accessible. All of these costly expenses must be compensated in a personal injury settlement.
Experienced San Jose Bike Accident Attorneys for Serious Bicycle Injury Cases
A spinal injury can change a victim’s life forever. Work, hobbies, home life, even the simple act of picking up your child can be changed by permanent damage to the spinal cord. It is important that negligent drivers be held accountable for compensating spinal cord injury victims for all their losses. This is not only their legal obligation, but it is an important step toward reinforcing safe driving behaviors in the future.
Let Deldar Legal help you navigate the complicated claims process. Our San Jose bicycle accident attorneys have experience with cases involving complex spinal cord injuries. We know how to prove the full value of your many losses. Call (844) 335-3271 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation with a San Jose bike accident attorney. We fight hard for San Jose accident victims.
Posted in: Bicycle Accidents