Man riding bike

Common Injuries Sustained After a Bicycle Accident

By Jeremy Bradford
Founding Partner

Bicycle accidents are an unfortunate reality for many cyclists, with the potential for serious and life-altering injuries. When a collision occurs, the physical trauma can range from minor scrapes to severe head injuries or even spinal damage. Understanding these common injuries sustained after a bicycle accident can help victims know what to expect and emphasize the importance of seeking prompt medical attention. Additionally, it is important to understand the potential legal avenues for recourse in the aftermath of such incidents.

The Increasing Prevalence of Bicycle Accidents in North Carolina

As an increasingly popular mode of transportation and exercise, bicycling in North Carolina has, unfortunately, also seen a rise in related accidents. In 2020, 26 bicyclists were killed in North Carolina, with four of those fatalities occurring in the greater-Charlotte area. According to recent data, the state has experienced an uptick in the number of reported bicycle collisions, with urban areas being particularly high-risk zones. This surge underscores the importance of improved cycling infrastructure and adherence to safety measures. The fact that many of these incidents led to serious injuries and fatalities makes it a public health concern requiring attention from all stakeholders, including law enforcement, policymakers, and the general public.

Understanding the Common Injuries from Bicycle Accidents

Bicycle accidents, unfortunately, are known to cause a range of injuries, each varying in severity and potential for long-term impact. Here’s a closer look at some of these common injuries:

  • Head and Brain Injuries: Often regarded as the most severe, these injuries can span from relatively mild concussions to severe traumatic brain injuries. Despite the protective measure of wearing helmets, cyclists can still sustain brain injuries due to the impact force during a collision. These injuries can lead to persistent cognitive deficits, memory problems, and in severe cases, physical disabilities, impacting the person’s ability to lead a normal life.
  • Fractures and Dislocations: Commonly seen injuries among cyclists include fractures and dislocations. They can affect various parts of the body, including the limbs, ribs, or collarbones, requiring substantial time for recovery and rehabilitation. Dislocations, especially those in areas like the shoulder, are also frequent and can cause intense pain, restrict movement, and require physical therapy to regain normal function.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: These are among the most serious injuries that can occur, potentially leading to temporary or even permanent paralysis, depending on the severity and the location of the injury. The treatment and recovery process for spinal cord injuries is typically long and challenging, often requiring extensive rehabilitation and resulting in a significant alteration in the person’s quality of life.
  • Skin Injuries: Typically the most apparent injuries include road rash, lacerations, and deep bruises. Severe road rash can lead to complications like infections and may necessitate skin grafting. Deep lacerations, on the other hand, may damage underlying muscles or tendons, leading to a complex recovery process that could include surgeries and extensive physical therapy. 
  • Soft Tissue Injuries: Soft tissue injuries are a common consequence of bicycle accidents, affecting the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues in the body. These injuries encompass a broad range of conditions, from strains and sprains to contusions, muscle tears and whiplash. The impact of a collision can cause sudden, forceful movements of the body, leading to strains in the soft tissues. Symptoms may include pain, swelling and limited range of motion. In some cases, the full extent of these injuries may not be immediately apparent, making it crucial for individuals involved in a bicycle wreck to seek prompt medical attention. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment, which may include rest, physical therapy, and in severe cases, surgical intervention, can greatly aid in the recovery process.
  • Psychological Impact of Bicycle Accidents: Beyond the physical injuries, the psychological impact of a bicycle accident can be profound and long-lasting. Victims often experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), characterized by flashbacks and anxiety, which can disrupt their daily life. Depression and anxiety disorders are also common, resulting from the emotional trauma and potential lifestyle changes post-accident. It’s crucial to note that these psychological effects require professional mental health support for recovery, just as physical injuries necessitate medical care.

The Role of Personal Injury Law in Bicycle Accidents

Personal injury law plays a crucial role in bicycle accidents, offering a legal recourse for victims to seek compensation for their injuries. The law can hold the responsible party liable for their actions, whether it’s a negligent motorist, a manufacturer of faulty bicycle parts, or an entity responsible for unsafe road conditions. A seasoned personal injury attorney can help victims navigate the complex legal processes, assisting in gathering evidence, negotiating with insurance companies, and if necessary, representing the victim in court. Through these actions, victims can potentially receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, providing much-needed financial relief during a challenging time.

Bradford Law Can Help If You’ve Been Injured in a Bicycle Accident

Understanding the common injuries sustained after a bicycle accident underscores the importance of taking immediate action, both medically and legally. Should you or a loved one find yourselves in such an unfortunate situation, timely legal counsel can significantly affect the outcome of your case. Bradford Law is experienced in navigating these complex cases and is ready to fight for the compensation you deserve. Don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation—we’re here to help during these challenging times.

About the Author
I am Jeremy Bradford, the founding and managing attorney of Bradford Law. From my offices in Charlotte, NC, I travel all across North Carolina helping injured people fight against insurance companies, in what could be life-altering circumstances. I have made a point to develop strong relationships with my clients. I take the trust my clients put in me personally and put myself into every case. If my client calls, my client will always be able to speak directly with me. You will get to know me as we work our way through the personal injury process. So when we make recommendations on whether to settle or go to trial, you will know your best interests are always at heart.