Whether you enjoy going on your bicycle for exercise, commuting, or using it for work purposes, sharing the road with car drivers while riding a bicycle comes with many risks.
Off-road bicycles, often called mountain bicycles, account for 62% of new bike sales in the US and are popular in both urban areas and on trails. But there are many different types of bicycles including, sportbikes, racing bikes, and bicycle motocross (BMX) stunt bicycles. When it comes to sports or recreation-associated injuries, bicycle crashes rank second after riding animals.
Damages After Your Michigan Bicycle Accident
Under Michigan personal injury law, you may be able to recover economic damages and non-economic damages as a result of your personal injury. This compensation can help ensure your future and well-being if you are unable to work, if you continue to have health issues related to your injury, or if you need to modify your home in order to accommodate for your injury-related disability.
Some of the most common economic damages that victims claim in personal injury lawsuits include medical bills, lost wages and income, property damage and repair, home renovations, and transportation expenses. These are expenses that have a dollar amount attached to them and can be calculated. The majority of your economic damages may stem from your medical bills, including your hospital visit, diagnostic tests (X-rays, CAT scans, MRI), follow-up appointments, and prescription medication.
If you need medical care in the future, then those upcoming expenses will also be included in your settlement. Physical therapy is one of the most common types of follow-up care that you may need in the future. Additionally, suppose your temporary or permanent disability requires you to modify your home to accommodate your disability, such as adding a wheelchair ramp in front of doorways. In that case, these are expenses that can be included in your economic damages.
Most likely, your injury prevented you from being able to work either temporarily or permanently. Your future earning capacity may be affected as well. These are concerns that you should discuss with your attorney.
Transportation expenses can include traveling to see a specialist for your injuries as well as replacing your damaged or broken bike.
These damages compensate a victim for the emotional distress, physical pain, and mental anguish they have endured as a result of being injured. Although they are typically more difficult to negotiate in a settlement, the more severe your injuries, the more likely the judge or jury are to believe that you have been suffering physically and emotionally. If you have been seeing a therapist to process the accident and emotionally recover, then those expenses can also be included in the damages. Your therapist can also testify on your behalf by explaining to the judge or jury how much the accident has affected you.
Common Injuries After Bicycle Accidents
Injuries from bicycle accidents are severe and often render the victim unable to work for weeks or even months. Physicians report that superficial soft tissue injuries and musculoskeletal trauma are the most common bicycle injuries, but head injuries cause most fatalities as well as long-term disabilities. They also report that most bicycle injuries are associated with biking at high speeds, and most fatalities result from crashes with motor vehicles.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when there has been a blow or jolt to the head after an accident and can result in a number of symptoms, including but not limited to blurry vision, confusion, concussion, difficulty concentrating, and numerous other cognitive, physical or behavioral impairments. TBI can range in severity, with some victims recovering within a few weeks or months, while others suffer permanent disabilities that impact them for the rest of their lives.
There are two types of TBI: closed TBI and open TBI. Closed TBI occurs when the skull has not been penetrated. This type of brain injury can be very serious because the brain is swelling inside of the skull. Open TBI is when the skull has been penetrated by either an object or pieces of the skull, and is often associated with skull fractures. If the victim was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, then they are more likely to suffer from TBI.
Injuries to the Head
Trauma to the head can also involve fractures in the face such as your cheekbones, nose, forehead, jaw, or eye sockets. These head injuries have the potential of being very serious, requiring surgery and long-term medical treatment.
Internal Organ Injuries
Internal injuries from a bicycle accident can be life-threatening and often result from the impact of the cyclist hitting the ground. Other objects that hit the cyclist's abdomen during the accident can cause injuries, such as traffic signs or bushes. Internal organs such as the liver, pancreas, spleen, or kidneys could suffer harm due to the impact. The victim is at risk of developing intestinal blockages, abdominal compartment syndrome, abscesses, or hematoma rupture.
The most common fractures after a bicycle accident are in the collar bone, wrist, hands, and any part of the arm. These injuries could take between six to eight weeks to heal but usually do not lead to permanent, long-term injuries. Broken bones in the face, such as chipped teeth, a broken nose, or a broken cheekbone, may require maxillofacial surgery to fix, as well as follow-up surgeries.
Cuts And Lacerations
Any exposed part of the body is prone to cuts and lacerations after a bicycle accident. It is not uncommon for bikers to experience anything from minor cuts and bruises to significant gashes as a result of a bicycle accident. They can be caused by debris or other objects piercing the skin, from being dragged across the ground, blunt trauma, or from a compound fracture that pierces the skin. Flesh wounds should be treated right away to stop bleeding and prevent infection.
Bicycle Accident Statistics
In 2019, there were 846 bicyclists killed in accidents involving motor vehicles, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is a 3% decrease from 2018. However, bicyclists’ deaths account for 2% of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities. Attewell, Glase, and McFadden conducted a meta-analysis and estimated that helmets reduced the risk of head injuries to bicyclists by 60% and the risk of brain injury by 58%.
Causes of Bicycle Accidents
The most common reason for bicycle accidents is that a driver was distracted and negligently hit a bicyclist. Whether they were paying attention to their phone or something else, distracted driving is one of the top causes of all motor vehicle accidents, and especially those involving pedestrians and cyclists.
Another common reason why bicycle accidents occur is that drivers fail to leave an adequate buffer between themselves and cyclists. Drivers should give at least 3 feet of distance between themselves and cyclists to avoid accidents and to help keep cyclists safe from other collisions, since too little space gives them fewer options to avoid other collisions, such as with pedestrians.
Drivers should always check for cyclists and pedestrians before making turns. As one of the most preventable types of accidents, not looking to ensure that a bike lane is clear is a very common reason why many cyclists end up in the emergency room after colliding with a turning vehicle.
Drunk driving is a cause of many other types of accidents, and bicycle accidents are no different. Impaired drivers have taken the lives of many bicyclists or have left them permanently injured. A drunk driver is unable to respond to changes in road conditions in time and could be liable for injuries they cause to a cyclist.
What To Do After A Bicycle Accident
Bicycle accidents can result in severe injuries because, unlike a car, a bicycle does not have a protective barrier around it. There is nothing to absorb any of the impact, unlike in a car, nor safety features like seatbelts or airbags. The following steps to take after a bike crash are general guidelines, but you should do what is safest in your situation. If you can move after your accident, you must get out of the roadway as soon as possible to prevent further injury or being struck again. Do not get back on your bicycle or leave the scene of the accident. If you are having difficulty moving, then you should yell for help.
Immediately dial 911 and inform the operator that there has been a bicycle accident. Let them know the extent of your injuries and that you need an ambulance.
Some bicyclists also call a trusted friend or family member who is able to contact the rest of their family, boss, and anyone else who needs to be informed of the situation. If you have been severely injured, then that person can also answer questions about medications you take or other conditions.
That individual can also help you document the scene by taking photos of the accident, including a picture of the license plate of the car that struck you. You should also take pictures of your injuries, the intersection or area where the accident occurred, and pictures of the damage to the bike. Most cell phones are able to capture video as well as photos, so you can also capture videos for documentation.
The police will arrive and take a statement from the driver and witnesses. Liability will be determined after taking into account all of the facts, and you do not want to jeopardize the investigation or your potential personal injury claim before you have even had a chance to talk to an attorney about it. In fact, you should reach out to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible; they will be able to advise you of your rights and help you recover your damages.
What are the laws in Michigan regarding riding a bicycle?
Bicycles are permitted on all roadways in the state of Michigan except where specifically prohibited. Bicyclists are also not required to use a bicycle lane and are allowed to leave the bicycle lane to turn left or avoid a hazard.
Drivers are expected to pass bicyclists at a safe distance and yield to them before turning, but bicyclists should also be aware of drivers in order to protect themselves.
Bicyclists are not required to wear a helmet by state law unless they are under the age of 18 or using a class three electric bicycle, which can reach speeds of 28 mph.
While it is not state law, bicyclists are encouraged to wear bright colors, so they are easily visible to drivers and other road users. However, bicyclists are legally required to wear a headlight or rear reflector when riding a bicycle at night.
How should a motorist make a right turn when there is a bike lane?
Motorists must always yield to bicyclists when going straight. If a motorist needs to make a right turn and there is a bicyclist in the bike lane, then the motorist must wait for the bicyclist to pass before making their right turn.
Call A Bicycle Accident Attorney Today
All Law, PLLC fights for your rights if you have been injured in a bike accident. Call our office now, and you will be able to schedule your free case review and consultation with a Michigan bicycle accident lawyer to find out what your case is worth. We are a reliable source of help for you and your family during this difficult time. You can reach us by phone or video conference.
If a driver was negligent, you might be able to recover compensation in a personal injury case, but if you delay, you may risk having the time limit lapse. In the state of Michigan, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is three years from the date of the accident, but you definitely do not want to wait that long. We will be happy to answer your questions and guide you through your next steps, so call All Law, PLLC today.
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