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Catastrophic Injuries from Bicycle Accidents

Catastrophic Injuries from Bicycle AccidentsBicyclists know to be careful on the road, but sometimes an accident just can’t be avoided; perhaps a wheel trips over a rock, skids on gravel, or the bicyclist otherwise loses control of their bike. When that happens, we usually have only ourselves or bad luck to blame, but when we are in a bicycle accident with a vehicle on the road? The driver perhaps didn’t intend to hit you, but they were negligent: distracted by their phone, driving after drinking, or speeding around corners. These are the sorts of accidents you need to find legal representation for because it is likely that you will have suffered catastrophic injuries. You deserve compensation for the harm done to you, and for the financial and emotional hardship you endure.

Injuries from bicycle accidents

Cyclists have lots to choose from when it comes to options for riding. Whether that’s the smooth concrete paths on the Chattanooga Riverwalk, or the challenging trails on Raccoon Mountain, or even just the plain roads of US 41. All of these are enjoyable options, but it is important that a bike accident can happen anywhere. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 49,000 riders were injured in 2019, and 846 were killed in collisions with vehicles.

By comparison, 344 cyclists were injured in Tennessee in 2019, and that number dipped to 317 for 2020.

Just because bike accidents are rarer here, however, does not make them any less dangerous. A bike accident with a vehicle can lead to a whole host of injuries, the most life-threatening and life-altering including:

  • Head and brain injuries: Head and brain injuries are some of the most dangerous of the injuries. A head injury usually means injury to the brain. Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs). TBI’s can often be difficult to treat, and the victim could suffer from lasting effects the rest of their life, including requiring extensive medical interventions and therapy.
  • Spinal cord injuries: Damage to any part of the spine is an often traumatic injury. Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) “often cause permanent changes in strength, sensation and other body functions below the site of the injury.” Paralysis is another symptom of a SCI, sometimes leaving a person partially or completely permanently paralyzed.
  • Amputation: Collisions with crashes can be devastating to cyclists, leading to crushed or even severed arms and legs at the moment of impact. Crushed limbs will likely have to be amputated.
  • Burns: Burns leave the victim in terrible pain, the recovery process a long and arduous one, and even when they are healed, they are left with terrible scarring, sometimes resulting in permanent disfigurement.
  • Road rash. Road rash is mostly associated with motorcycle riders, but cyclists are at risk, too. Most bike riders have even less protection in the event of a crash. Road rash can cause permanent nerve or muscle damage, as well as substantial damage to the bones. The open wounds can also increase the risk of infection, or a deadly inflammatory response called sepsis.

This list is a good reminder why it is so important to wear the right equipment when you are out biking. Wear a helmet, especially. Sometimes, that is the only thing that lies between you and permanent brain damage.

What are the causes of bicycle accidents in Chattanooga?

There could be any number of reasons that a car collides with a bicyclist, but it usually involves the driver being negligent or being under the influence of a substance. Some of the causes of accidents with bicyclists include:

  • Driving while distracted: This can be anything from their phone, to the kids in the back seat, to an especially beautiful sight. Their attention should solely be on the road with both hands on the steering wheel.
  • Driving while intoxicated: In 2019, 12% of all fatal bicycle accidents involved a drunk driver, according to the NHTSA.
  • Speeding: Speeding Is a leading cause of all car accident injuries and fatalities in Tennessee. Cyclists may not be able to swerve to avoid a speeding driver – and even if they can, they may end up with severe injuries if they crash into a stationary object, another driver, or another rider.
  • Failing to obey traffic laws and signals: Drivers of trucks and passenger vehicles often act as though bicycle riders don’t have any rights on the road. As such, they may not be as careful when changing lanes, making turns, or driving through intersections with crosswalks.
  • Road design: Perhaps the curve in the road was too extreme or the road is not well maintained. Poor road design and poorly maintained roads can lead to bike accidents whether the bicyclist is alone or sharing the road with a car.

As spring approaches, we are as excited as anyone for nicer days. We want to have fun outside too, but it is important to know the risks we take when we get on our bicycles for the first time this year. You may be a very confident and experienced cyclist, but you don’t know who is on the road. Not every driver abides by common sense or caution. If you have suffered from a catastrophic injury in a bicycle accident, then you should contact our Chattanooga Bicycle Accident lawyers Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law. We can help you seek compensation for your injuries, as well as your pain and suffering.  Serving clients in Chattanooga and Cleveland, TN, in North Georgia. Call us at 423-756-7923 or complete our contact form to schedule a confidential consultation.