Bicycle Accidents and Delayed Symptom Onset of Injuries
I’m Ed Smith, a Personal Injury Attorney in Sacramento. Learning how to ride a bike is a rite of passage for many. Bicycles are a great source of recreation, exercise, and transportation. But it is important for everyone to wear the proper safety equipment while riding a bike. Sometimes, bicycle crashes can lead to serious injuries including delayed onset of spinal cord injuries.
A Case Report: Delayed Symptom Onset
A recent case report was published describing the delayed onset of a spinal cord injury following a bicycle accident. A 10-year-old girl was riding her bike down the street when her bike hit a rock. She flew over the handlebars and landed on the pavement. In addition to scrapes and bruises, she suffered a broken radius and ulna. The injured areas were put in a cast and she fully healed. Sixteen years later at the age of 26, she started having shooting pains down both of her legs. The pain fluctuated depending on how she was sitting or standing. She visited a specialist to receive more information. Numerous tests were performed and she was eventually diagnosed with a fluid collection in her spine. The link was finally made between the fluid collection and the bicycle accident. She had a scar on her back from the accident and the fluid collection rested directly beneath the scar. Doctors drained the fluid collection and she made a full recovery. Fortunately, the pain dissipated and she was able to walk and run without difficulty. Sometimes, people may not be so lucky.
Helmets Can Reduce Serious Head Injuries and Rate of Fatalities
There is a saying that when someone learns how to ride a bike, they never forget. Unfortunately, people do sometimes forget to wear the proper safety equipment while riding a bike. Everyone should wear a helmet every time they ride a bike. According to recent statistics from the United States Department of Transportation:
- Fatalities: Almost three-quarters of bicyclists killed in 2015 suffered a head injury.
- Helmet Use: Almost all of the bicyclists who died (97 percent) were not wearing a helmet. This means only 3 percent of them were wearing a helmet when they died.
- Serious Injuries: Only 13 percent of bicyclists who sustained a serious head injury in an accident were wearing a helmet.
Similar statistics are in place for the use of pads and for riding during safe weather conditions. Clearly, the failure to take proper safety precautions can increase the chances of suffering a traumatic injury and proper helmet use can protect the brain and central nervous system from damage.
Prevention of Bicycle Accidents: Bike Lanes
The easiest way to treat these injuries is to prevent them from happening in the first place. There are a number of different safety precautions that should be enacted to prevent bikers from harm. Too few cities use bike lanes. Based on statistics from the United States Department of Transportation:
- Deaths: In 2015, only one fatal crash between a bicycle and a motor vehicle happened when the bicycle was in a marked bike lane. In contrast, 92 percent of the fatalities involved a collision between a bike and a car in some fashion.
- Human Error: Nearly 94 percent of the accidents involved human error. This means failure to heed marked warnings on signs and on the pavement.
Surveys conducted by the United States Department of Transportation states that only 50 percent of people have bike lanes available in their area. 32 percent of those who have bike lanes available do not use them because the lanes aren’t convenient. However, using bike lanes can lead to a sharp reduction in the number of injuries.
The Challenges of Linking Delayed Symptoms to an Accident
If someone has delayed symptom onset following an accident, it can be difficult to prove that the accident and the injuries are linked. In between the time of the accident and the symptoms, there could be many different causes. It can be a challenge to link the symptoms to an accident that happened many years ago. For this reason, it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney in Sacramento. A lawyer understands how to go through medical records and can link an accident to these injuries. They can help in many ways, including:
- Jargon: A lawyer can interpret the language of the medical field and connect this to an accident.
- Insurance: If insurance claims are denied, a lawyer can negotiate with the company on your behalf.
- Investigation: An attorney can conduct a full investigation and ensure that any missing details are found.
Those who have been hurt in a bike accident should speak with an attorney.
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Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys
I’m Ed Smith, a Personal Injury Attorney in Sacramento. If you or a loved one have been injured in a bike accident, call me at (916) 921-6400 to receive free, friendly advice. You can also reach me at (800) 404-5400.
I am a proud attorney in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
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