There is no doubt that helmets provide extra safety to bicyclists while riding. Helmets are an excellent source of protection for their skulls and brains. They help reduce the risk of head trauma and traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
While wearing a helmet can substantially decrease the chances of these afflictions, they should not be wholly relied upon. Bicyclists can still suffer severe injuries if they wear helmets correctly during an accident. A helmet should also never be a source of overconfidence for motorists passing by bicyclists; they should treat them as if they had zero protection.
If you suffered a TBI while wearing a helmet in a bicycle or motorcycle accident, you must speak with a compassionate bicycle accident attorney. You might have the right to recover compensation for your injuries, which can help your future. Reach out for a free case evaluation with a law firm in your area today.
Bicycle Helmet Statistics
Wearing a bicycle helmet can help reduce the chances of a head injury by 48 percent and severe head injuries by 60 percent. They can also help decrease the chances of face injuries by 23 percent and help to prevent cervical spine injury, which is crucial as this can eventually lead to paralysis. In turn, as it helps reduce head injury chances, it can also help lessen the likelihood of death from those head injuries or TBIs.
A decreased severity of head injury during a bicycle accident is vital as it will help the injured party heal from their injuries and get back on their feet quicker. Wearing a helmet will also drop the chances of enduring lifelong and permanent disabilities caused by hard blows to the head.
Surprisingly, a study found that motorists passing bicyclists wearing helmets leave them with less space and take less caution with them. This carelessness is because they feel that bicyclists with helmets are safe and invincible to accidents, so they do not have to be as careful on the road with them. This attitude is extraordinarily reckless and wrong; vehicle operators should treat everyone on the road equally and responsibly.
Whether bicyclists are wearing helmets is not a reason to reduce one’s wariness toward them. This mentality can significantly contribute to the thousands of bicycle accidents occurring yearly. Drivers should be accountable for all injuries they cause to cyclists due to their negligence.
What Types of Bicycle Accidents Can Cause TBIs?
Head injuries and serious TBIs frequently occur in bicycle accidents involving motor vehicles. The smallest crashes can still result in the bicyclist crashing down hard on the ground or slamming against the car’s resistant windshield. Many bicycle accidents can lead to injuries, including dooring accidents, rear-end collisions, and left or right hook collisions.
A bicyclist is particularly susceptible to receiving a TBI in a road rage accident. Although bicyclists are legally the same as motor vehicles by law, many drivers do not realize or want to realize this. They may not respect the fact that bicyclists are allowed on the road, or they may just be having a rough day and choose to take it out on the bicyclist in front of them. An aggressive driver is a considerable danger to bicyclists as they can easily rear-end them or slam right into them without a second thought.
Bicyclists do not have the protection that cars do, so even a collision at low speeds can seriously harm the individual in many ways. Any type of traffic collision has the potential to cause a life-altering TBI.
What is the Risk of TBI Despite Wearing a Helmet?
Even if a bicyclist is wearing a helmet, they can still experience different types of damage to the brain in several ways if a car hits them:
- The bicyclist can roll several times at high speeds across a road, causing the brain to jolt or shake against the walls of the skull.
- If struck from behind, the bicyclist can experience severe whiplash, causing internal bleeding or causing the brain to move within the skull.
- A direct blow to the head, such as crashing head-straight into a car’s tough windshield, even with a helmet, can cause significant damage.
A helmet cannot protect against anything that causes the brain to shift rapidly within the skull. For this reason and more, it is always essential for motorists to be cautious with bicyclists on the road, even if they do not have a helmet.
What Types of Head Injuries Are There?
Several different types of head injuries and TBIs can come from bicycle-car accidents. There can be skull fractures, which are dangerous because if the fractures are separated or big enough, they can penetrate the brain. In these incidents, lacerations to the head and blood clots can also happen, as can nerve damage. A concussion is a common injury from a bicycle accident, and it can happen with or without a helmet. While many people consider concussions “mild” injuries, modern medicine takes all brain injuries seriously, and so should you.
Even if you feel disoriented and are tempted to wait it out, always see a doctor instead. A seemingly minor concussion can worsen quickly, and you want to begin treatment as soon as possible. Concussion effects can last for months or even years for some victims, so this is certainly not a “mild” injury.
A severe TBI usually involves unconsciousness for over 24 hours and signs of apparent injury on neuroimaging tests. Once they wake, a victim can be visibly irritable, unable to understand or think clearly, and may have hearing or memory problems. All of these are possible in bicycle accidents involving motor vehicles.
What Should I Do If I Suspect I Have a TBI?
If you are a bicyclist and got into an accident, and now you feel you may be suffering a TBI, you must get medical attention immediately.
Look for several warning signs and symptoms:
- A headache that worsens or does not go away
- Slurred speech
- Decreased coordination
- Loss of consciousness
- Symptoms that keep worsening or persist for days
Obtaining immediate medical attention is critical as it can help avoid suffering more pain in the future. If not treated on time, TBIs can eventually lead to stroke, paralysis, or death.
The emergency department will conduct several tests, such as head CT scans and brain MRIs, to determine the severity of your head injury. They will ensure you have sufficient oxygen and will monitor your blood pressure to prevent any other kind of secondary brain injury from occurring while you’re there if your blood and oxygen levels decrease suddenly. Once this diagnosis happens, and they provide instructions when you’re ready to go home, you will most likely see therapists and physical rehabilitation professionals continue your physical and mental treatments.
Once you are in a stable place, you should immediately discuss your accident with a skilled attorney who handles bicycle crash cases.
Losses From a TBI in a Bicycle Accident
It is impossible to estimate how much your accident-related losses are worth without a lawyer evaluating your circumstances and losses. Your losses will depend on many factors, as each TBI is different.
Some questions that an attorney will ask to determine your losses and fair compensation include:
- What are your current medical bills? Do you need future treatment?
- Have you missed work and lost income? Can you return to work in the future?
- Does your TBI have permanent effects?
- How has your brain injury resulted in pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life?
Losses from TBIs can be complex, and you need a legal professional to assess how much you deserve.
Can I Still Get Compensation if I Wasn’t Wearing a Helmet?
Some states do not have bicycle helmet laws, but even in states that do, a bicyclist not wearing a helmet and involved in a traffic crash still has a right to seek compensation. Whether the rider has a helmet on at the time of the incident should not interfere with getting a settlement if the bicyclist is the injured party.
As discussed previously, a helmet does not protect the bicyclist from all injuries from these accidents. Wearing a helmet is no guarantee that a brain injury would not have happened. The driver should still be liable for the accident and the resulting injuries they caused. The fact that a bicyclist was not wearing a helmet at the time of an accident should not discourage or chase them away from seeking damages where a driver was at fault.
However, insurance companies can try to make the process of financial recovery difficult. This situation is where a lawyer experienced in bicycle accidents can help you the most. They will fight for your right to receive all the compensation you deserve, even if you were not wearing a helmet.
What Will Insurance Companies Try to Do?
Insurance companies will always try to avoid liability for accidents whenever possible. If an adjuster cannot deny a claim outright, they will certainly try to minimize the compensation the company pays. Especially if the bicyclist was not wearing a helmet at the time, they will grab onto this and use it to deny or undervalue a bicycle accident claim. An insurance adjuster might try to convince and deter the injured party from going after a claim at all because they were not wearing a helmet.
Nevertheless, the injured party is entitled to compensation if the driver involved was negligent or malicious in their actions toward the bicyclist. Before speaking to or giving too much information to insurance companies, you should always first speak to your attorney.
There are a few different, well-known tricks that insurance companies use on the injured party, among many others:
- Passing your claim from person to person: They will intentionally pass it around their company. They complicate the situation further, hoping you will give up and get frustrated enough to settle for less.
- Offering you less: A claims adjuster will not necessarily consider the numerous factors that should come into the case’s value. They will throw a few numbers in and calculate based on what they feel is convenient. They will not automatically consider all the expenses that result from an accident, such as future medical costs and loss of wages and productivity. They often undervalue intangible losses, such as pain and suffering – especially with a TBI.
- Refusing to negotiate fairly: The claims adjuster will do all they can to avoid negotiating a better offer for you. Like a salesman, they will claim that the lowest offer they gave you is the best they can do or make minimally higher offers.
- Discouraging you to contact a lawyer: It is not convenient for insurance companies for you to be working with an attorney. They rather the individual be utterly unfamiliar with the claim process, so it’s easier for them to convince you to settle for less.
- Asking you for a recorded statement: They will try and get you to talk more than you should in hopes that you’ll provide information that will help them undermine the value of your losses.
After a TBI, it is best to allow your bicycle accident lawyer to handle all communications with insurance companies. This protects your interests and relieves stress from your shoulders.
Call a Bicycle Accident Attorney Today
After a bicycle accident, once you receive medical treatment, the next most important step is to hire or contact a lawyer experienced in bicycle accident cases. They will assess your rights and options and can help answer all your questions. They will protect you from the insurance companies and help you get the most compensation possible, whether or not you were wearing a helmet during the accident. If you have received a severe head injury on your bicycle due to the negligence of a motorist, an attorney can help.
The injuries caused by a bicycle accident can change your life, even if you wear a helmet. Call an experienced bicycle accident attorney today to discuss the accident that caused your injuries and how you can recover compensation.