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Bicycle accidents can cause catastrophic injury to bike riders, who have little protection from the pavement or from a vehicle that strikes them. Often, bicycle accident victims suffer injuries that can have lifelong implications: traumatic brain injury or spinal cord damage, for example.
If you suffered serious injuries in a bicycle accident in San Bernardino, an experienced bicycle accident attorney can help you seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Contact Gomez Trial Attorneys today at (619) 237-3490 to schedule a free consultation.
Bicycle riders often have only minimal protective gear to decrease their risk of severe injury in an accident, even if they wear helmets, gloves, and other safety equipment. In San Bernardino, bicycle riders should wear helmets to help provide vital protection. While helmet use can substantially reduce the risk of head injuries and injuries to the face and neck, it may not eliminate those risks.
While wearing a helmet can substantially reduce traumatic brain injury risks in an accident or decrease the severity of those injuries, bicycle accident victims can still experience severe head trauma in the accident. During an accident, the head can strike the pavement, a vehicle, or an obstacle in the road with enormous force, even when cushioned by a helmet. Always wear your helmet when riding your bicycle to reduce the risk of severe injury in an accident, since traumatic brain injury can cause a wide range of life-altering symptoms.
Traumatic brain injury can leave victims with physical, mental, and emotional symptoms. Physical symptoms can include ringing in the ears, tunnel vision, blurred vision, or sleep disturbances: either sleeping too much as the brain tries to heal itself or difficulty sleeping at all. Mental symptoms may include trouble with focus or concentration as well as the memory difficulties many people traditionally think of when they imagine a traumatic brain injury.
Victims may lose some problem-solving or creative thinking capacity, which may make it difficult for them to complete their normal job-related responsibilities. In addition, many victims struggle with emotional symptoms, most notably difficulty with emotional regulation. Due to these challenges, victims may have extreme reactions to any emotional stimulus or react inappropriately to certain situations.
Spinal cord injuries can range in severity depending on their location and complexity.
Spinal cord injuries cause particular complications for active bicycle riders, since they often prevent riders from getting back on their bikes and enjoying many of their favorite leisure activities. The injury may also make it difficult for bike riders to go back to work, especially if they work in physical professions or need time to learn how to cope with their limitations, especially after a complete spinal cord injury, or one that occurs high up on the spine.
Amputations occur when a limb is removed, either by the force of the bicycle accident itself or by a surgeon due to the extent of the damage to the limb. Sometimes, after a bicycle accident, doctors may discover that the limb suffered such extreme damage that removal will create a better outcome for the patient than leaving the limb intact. Other times, decreased blood flow as a result of accident injuries can cause the limb to die, which may lead to the need to amputate.
Amputees often need to go through substantial occupational therapy to relearn how to cope with their limitations. They may also choose to use a prosthetic limb to help restore some mobility and independence. These prosthetic devices, however, can add a high, ongoing medical expense to amputees’ lives, since they often require replacement an average of every three to five years.
Most bicycle riders have, at some point, experienced minor road rash from a crash or fall on the road. When the body drags across the road at any rate of speed, it can tear away the protective layer of skin, leading to painful injuries. In a bicycle accident with a car, road rash can be extremely severe, covering a much larger portion of the body and going deeper than the road rash riders often experience in a minor accident on their own.
Road rash often leads to many of the same symptoms as a burn. Like burns, road rash strips away the protective layer of skin that covers the body. Many victims suffer infections, since bacteria can more easily get inside the body through the injury. Infection rates are high without proper treatment due to foreign matter in the wound. Victims with road rash often suffer considerable scarring, even with treatment.
Following a San Bernardino bicycle accident caused by another party’s negligence, you may deserve compensation for your injuries and the expenses you face as a result of your accident.
Contact an experienced San Bernardino bicycle accident attorney as soon after your accident as possible. An attorney can offer several advantages as you file your claim. Not only does an attorney better understand the full compensation you deserve for your injuries, which means that you can get a better idea of when to accept a settlement offer, an attorney can help investigate your accident, negotiate your claim, and guide you through the process.
To determine the compensation you deserve for a San Bernardino bicycle accident, an attorney will start by looking at the extent of your medical expenses. Most often, medical expenses form the foundation of a bicycle accident claim.
Keep track of your medical bills as they come in so that you can give a full, accurate account of the medical bills that resulted from your accident. Medical bills include everything from initial, emergency treatment costs all the way through ongoing treatments or therapy in the months after your accident.
Make sure you consider factors like durable medical equipment, follow-up appointments with your doctor, and the cost of treatment for any complications you experienced due to your injuries, since they can all factor into your claim.
Next, evaluate the time you lost at work due to your injuries. In some cases, you may have gone back to work relatively quickly after your accident. Your employer might have let you work from home or offered modifications that would help get you back in the office as soon as possible.
In other cases, your injuries might have prevented you from going back to work at all during your recovery. For example, a victim who suffered a traumatic brain injury in a bicycle accident might have a very hard time working in a customer service position, since customer service representatives have to think fast on their feet and deal with customer complaints. Some accident victims may permanently lose the ability to work in their former professions due to the extent of their injuries.
Calculate all the time you lost at work due to your injuries, even if you used vacation time to help cover some of that time off. An attorney will help you learn more about how this might impact your claim.
Finally, an attorney will help you determine how to include pain and suffering as part of your claim. Not only does your physical pain related to your injuries add to your claim, the amount of emotional anguish you experienced due to your injuries can also increase the compensation you receive.
For example, if you ride your bike regularly for leisure and it is one of your favorite activities, you may struggle with the inability to ride during your recovery, especially if you permanently lose the ability to ride. Other victims struggle with the loss of independence or find themselves losing relationships as a result of their injuries. Working with an attorney can help you calculate the financial value of this suffering and learn more about how to include it as part of your claim.
Most often, the driver of the car that hit you bears liability for the injuries that you suffered in a San Bernardino bicycle accident. Other factors, however, can impact your claim and exacerbate your injuries. If an attorney discovers that another party contributed to your accident, it may increase the compensation you can receive, since you can file a claim against each party that contributed to your accident.
Some additional potentially liable parties are described below.
Talk to an attorney to identify who caused or contributed to your bicycle accident and how that might affect your San Bernardino bicycle accident claim.
After a bicycle accident caused by a driver, you may get a call from the driver’s insurance company, offering you a settlement for the accident. The insurance company may try to convince you to accept that settlement offer immediately, without giving you time to think about it.
The company may also push for you to decide before you understand the full compensation you deserve by calculating all of your current accident-related expenses or before you understand what your long-term medical prognosis and treatment will look like as you recover from your accident.
Consult an experienced San Bernardino bicycle accident attorney to get a better idea of how much compensation you deserve for your injuries and when to accept a settlement offer. An attorney can help you make decisions based on the extent of your injuries and the driver’s insurance policy, not on the insurance company’s desire to limit its financial liability following an accident involving serious injuries.
If you suffered severe injuries in a San Bernardino bicycle accident, an attorney can give you a better idea of the compensation you deserve and provide you with valuable assistance in filing your claim. Contact Gomez Trial Attorneys today at (619) 237-3490 to learn more about your legal rights following a bicycle accident in San Bernardino.
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