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Denton Bicycle Injury Lawyer

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Why do bicycle crashes happen?

We expect cars and trucks will follow the traffic rules that are in place to keep us all safe.  Bicycle riders wear helmets, pay attention, and have reflective gear on the bicycles to keep themselves safe. But drivers don’t always follow those safety rules.  They text and drive, don’t pay attention to the road, are distracted, speed, follow too closely, and do all kinds of other unsafe things on the roadways.  And sometimes they are even drunk while driving.  Those are all reasons for all sorts of crashes, not just bicycle crashes.  The simple truth is drivers aren’t always in the mood to keep safety their top priority.  To make matters worse, getting hit by a car or truck while riding a bicycle can cause much more serious injuries if you were hit while riding in a car at the same speed.

What do I do at the scene of a bicycle crash?

Call 911.  It is very important to call 911 if you are hit by a car or truck while riding your bicycle or even if you were the only vehicle involved in the crash.  This alerts the proper first responders of the crash and that you or others may need medical attention. Once the police arrive, cooperate fully and get the information for the police report that will be made.

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If you aren’t too injured, get the contact information of everyone involved including witnesses the person who crashed into you, anyone in their vehicle, and information about the crash from witnesses. Sometimes we’ve seen family members of injured people get to the scene fairly quickly.  If you are too injured but you have a family member at the scene, those family members can be really helpful by getting this information.

If you’re hit by a person driving a vehicle take a picture of the person’s driver’s license.  Sometimes, people are not very cooperative after they cause a crash.  Getting this information can be very important down the line.

Get medical attention immediately.  Even if you don’t take an ambulance ride to the hospital, get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible.  Bicycles have very little protection, which means you can get seriously injured even if a vehicle that hits you drives slowly.

What do I do in the days after a bicycle crash?

Get medical attention immediately if you haven’t already.  Injuries in a bicycle crash can be serious.  At first, the adrenaline may have kicked into overdrive, which makes you not feel as hurt as you could be.  Always go get checked out by a medical provider.

Take pictures of the injuries, property damage, and clothing.  Scars, cuts, bruising, swelling, scrapes, and other skin injuries often (hopefully) go away after a while.  It is important to document how your injuries looked near the time of the crash, especially when it’s time to negotiate with the driver’s insurance company.  Take pictures of the clothes you wore at the time of the crash.  But more importantly – keep the clothes in a safe place.  Do not wash the clothes and do not get rid of them.  Keep the helmet you were wearing during the crash, and take pictures of the bicycle and damage to it.  If it’s not too inconvenient, keep the bicycle and do not get rid of it.

Don’t talk to the driver’s insurance company.  The only thing they want to do is twist your words and make you feel like your case isn’t worth anything just to save dollars and cents in the end.  Insurance companies are not your friends and they are not there to help you.

What are some common bicycle crash injuries?

We’ve said it before and it’s worth mentioning again - a person on a bicycle has virtually no protection from the impact.  Injuries will almost always be more severe than if you were in a car and got into a crash at the same speed.  There’s not much protecting the rider from the force of the crash. Some common injuries include:

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)  – Typically a TBI results from a violent blow or jolt to the head or body.  This means that you don’t even have to hit your head to get a TBI.  Wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of extremely severe head injuries, but a helmet alone does not prevent a TBI.   A TBI, even a “mild” one, can cause headaches, decreased functioning, memory loss, and other problems.  

Spinal cord injuries – A spinal cord injury can have a devastating impact on a person’s life. Our spinal cords are vital to everything we do on a daily basis. That is because the spinal cord carries messages from our brain to other parts of our body. Think of it as a highway of communication. The messages communicated over that highway tell the rest of our body how to carry out the movements and actions our brain wants us to perform. Bicycle crash spinal cord injuries are especially devastating because your ability to transmit messages from your brain to the rest of your body is severely impaired, making movement difficult and sometimes impossible.

Soft tissue injuries – Soft tissue injuries are also common bicycle crashes. Some of those injuries include sprains and strains. Some insurance companies downplay the pain from soft tissue injuries.  But soft tissue injuries can be life altering because they are hard to treat and can leave you with pain that may not be debilitating, but it’s constant and doesn’t go away easily.  And as a side note, insurance adjusters like to downplay soft tissue injuries, but ask them how much they would want to get paid to get in a crash and have soft tissue injuries.  Insurance adjusters don’t like that question – we’ve asked it.  

Broken bones and fractures – Bicycle crashes often involve broken bones, and there are all kinds of bones that can break in a bicycle crash.  Collar bones, arms, wrists, hands, and fingers can break if your natural instincts kick in and you put your arm out to break your fall.  Legs, ankles, feet, toes, and legs can break for all sorts of reasons, especially getting thrown off the bicycle.  Again, there’s not much separating you from the elements when riding a bicycle.

Dental injuries – Just hearing the word dental injury can send shivers down one’s spine.  Unfortunately, dental injuries can certainly happen in a bicycle crash.  Most of the time this comes from hitting the ground.  To add insult to injury, dental work can be painful and costly. 

Injuries to the face – If dental injuries can happen in a bicycle crash, so can facial injuries.  This can include cuts, bruises, lacerations, and road rash.  Like dental injuries, facial injuries often happen when you make contact with the ground.  Make sure to get pictures of the facial injuries.

Neck injuries – Getting tossed in various directions can cause some severe neck injuries. Like most of our body parts, we take for granted every day how important living pain free is to our daily lives.  Neck injuries from a bicycle crash can be debilitating.

Why ride a bicycle if there are so many ways to get severely injured?

Riding a bicycle safely is not dangerous.  Careless drivers are dangerous. Like anything, there is some amount of risk involved.  If we didn’t take risks, we’d live in a bubble all the time. We have a right to expect other drivers to follow the rules that keep us all safe.  Bicycle crashes happen because drivers are careless and don’t safely share the road. Don’t let anyone tell you that you shouldn’t have been riding a bicycle when the crash happened.

What is the difference between a bicycle crash and a bicycle accident?

An accident means it was unexpected and unavoidable.  Insurance companies and their lawyers love using the word accident because it makes it seem like the careless person they are protecting couldn’t have done anything different to avoid the crash. A crash is a fact – two or more vehicles crashed.  The word accident takes blame away from the careless. More likely than not, the person who caused the crash could have done something simple that would have kept everyone safe.

When do I need a lawyer after a bicycle crash?

Contacting a lawyer early is important for dealing with the insurance company of the careless person who hit you.  If a lawyer is contacted early, the lawyer can investigate by calling witnesses while the incident is still fresh in their minds, taking photographs, contacting the other’s insurance company, and many other important early investigation tasks.

Contacting a lawyer early on can also help keep the insurance companies away.  Insurance companies want you to give a recorded statement early on in the process.  This is so they can use everything you say against you.  They also want you to sign a medical records authorization, which give them the ability to get all of your medical records.  The only reason the insurance companies want this information is to find reasons to say you were not hurt and to otherwise devalue you.

The bullying tactics the insurance companies use are designed to make you want to take less money than your case is worth.  Instead of focusing on the misconduct of the person who injured you, insurance companies put the spotlight on the injury victim – like blaming you for riding a bicycle in the first place.  There is no reason for that other than to bully and intimidate.  A lawyer typically knows how to deal with the insurance companies and their tactics. 

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