June 22, 2019
Personal Injury Lawyer
A bicycle accident is more likely to cause serious injuries than a collision between two cars. Bicycle riders do not have the protection of airbags and safety harnesses. Most bicycle helmets do not meet the safety standards that apply to motorcycle helmets.
A bicycle rider’s impact with pavement or another vehicle can cause catastrophic head and spinal injuries. Broken bones, joint damage, and facial scarring are common outcomes when cars and trucks crash into bicycle riders.
Road rash, caused by a rider’s flesh scraping against the road, is a painful injury that can be life-threatening if the rash becomes infected. Torn muscles and nerve damage heal in unpredictable ways. Injuries that seem to be minor can cause nagging long-term pain when they are slow to heal.
When Should I See a Doctor after a Bicycle Accident?
Some bicyclists will be transported from the accident scene to a hospital in an ambulance. When a paramedic recommends a visit to the emergency room, an injury victim should always follow that advice.
When an ambulance is not called to the accident scene, bicycle accident victims will need to decide whether and when to see a doctor. Head injuries always deserve medical attention. If a concussion caused a loss of consciousness, a doctor should evaluate the injury immediately. Even when a bicycle rider does not lose consciousness after a blow to the head, the risk of a serious brain injury is too important to overlook.
Concussions can cause bleeding inside the skull, as well as swelling of the brain. Either of those conditions might not produce symptoms until hours after the accident. By the time the accident victim begins to notice a headache, it may be too late to save the victim’s life.
The safest course of action if the crash caused a blow to the head is to visit an emergency room or urgent care physician immediately. If that doctor recommends an examination by a neurologist or follow-up care, make sure to follow that advice.
Any other injury that is causing more than trivial pain should be evaluated by a physician soon after the accident. The fact that you can walk away from a bicycle accident doesn’t mean you don’t need medical care. People can walk with mildly fractured ribs and rotator cuff injuries, but prompt medical attention will help an injury victim avoid activities that will make those conditions worse.
Should I Wait to See If My Injuries from the Bicycle Accident Get Better?
Getting an immediate evaluation and treatment for your injuries is the best way to hasten your recovery. Your doctor is in the best position to advise you whether rest is the best medicine. Muscle and tissue injuries often require physical therapy after a period of rest to encourage a quick recovery.
In addition to maximizing your opportunity to make a full recovery, seeking immediate medical attention is important to your claim for compensation. Drivers who cause bicycle accidents should be held accountable for their negligence. Insurance adjusters, however, look for excuses to avoid paying full compensation. When an injury victim delays treatment, insurance adjusters argue that the bicyclist decided to fake an injury or that the injury was caused by something that happened after the bicycle accident.
Bicycle accident victims also have difficulty obtaining full compensation for injuries if they fail to follow a doctor’s instructions. When a doctor tells an injury victim to see a specialist or attend physical therapy, an insurance adjuster will interpret the bicyclist’s failure to heed that advice as evidence that the injuries were fully healed.
Busy people sometimes neglect to keep appointments with their doctors. Injury victims often stop going to physical therapy because the sessions are painful and time consuming. When they later seek compensation for prolonged pain and suffering, the insurance adjuster might legitimately argue that they made their problem worse by failing to follow treatment recommendations.
Do I Need to Worry About the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury?
Victims of bicycle accidents in Georgia must usually settle their claims or file a lawsuit within two years of the accident date. Accident victims generally lose their right to collect compensation for injuries if they do not start a lawsuit within two years. That time period may be extended, however, if the bicycle rider was a minor when the accident occurred.
A bicycle injury victim should nevertheless see a doctor well before the time comes to file a lawsuit. Many claims settle without filing suit, but a lawyer cannot settle an injury claim without understanding the full extent of the victim’s injuries, including the likelihood that an injury will cause a permanent impairment or lasting pain.
Seeing a doctor at the earliest opportunity and following up with care the doctor recommends is the best way to assure that an injury claim will settle for its full value. If it does become necessary to file a lawsuit, the victim’s bicycle accident lawyer will want to have all the medical records in hand so that the lawsuit can be filed with full knowledge of the victim’s injuries.