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Abels & Annes, P.C. Chicago Injury Blog

Long-term Effects of Bicycle Accidents

Did you know cycling is the official State Exercise of Illinois? That’s how much people in the Land of Lincoln love getting out and enjoying a bike ride. In recent years the number of bicycle users on the road has greatly increased. Cities like Chicago have increased bike lanes and actively encourage riding. But when bikes and cars share the road, accidents happen. These accidents, especially if serious, can have long-term costs. Bicycle accidents cost more than $24 billion a year in medical costs.

Bicycle accidents can lead to broken bones, soft tissue injuries, and even traumatic brain injuries. The severity of injuries may vary from accident to accident, but all have long-term effects and consequences. Some of these effects might include:

  • Inability to work for a period of time, resulting in a loss of income
  • Inability to care for your children or loved ones
  • Long-term pain and suffering
  • Diminished capacity due to traumatic brain injury, sometimes permanent

Broken bones. When a bicyclist is struck by a motor vehicle, broken bones often result because the bicyclist is left in the open, usually unprotected. The motor vehicle literally strikes a person’s body. Furthermore, a motor vehicle accident with a bicycle can cause a chain reaction where a bicyclist’s body is thrown or projected through the air. When the bicyclist lands, often on hard ground, the force can break bones.

Broken bones are severe injuries and have long-term effects that require surgery and significant healing time. Even after the bones have healed, victims can require continued treatments, including physical or occupational therapy. The severity of the impact of a bicycle accident can lead to complex breaks that require the installation of plates, screws, or pins in a victim. These severely broken bones require surgeries and can create a higher risk for complications. In many instances, after such an accident, your body may never quite work the same.

Medical bills and pain will vary greatly depending on the severity of the broken bone(s). Illinois law might entitle you to damages for your injuries, emotional or physical distress, lost wages, and in the case of a catastrophic injury, sometime future costs. Consult a Chicago bicycle injury attorney. Our attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C., can help assess your case for broken bones and other injuries.

Soft tissue injuries. Bicycle accidents can lead to a multitude of soft tissue injuries, which cover a broad spectrum of severity. They usually include injuries to muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons—>anything from a pulled muscle to more serious injuries like spinal cord injuries or a torn knee ACLs.

Soft tissues injuries are fairly common when a motor vehicle hits a bicyclist because of the sheer force of the impact and because the weight of the motor vehicle is so much greater than the bicyclist. These injuries can cause pain, discomfort, swelling, soreness, stiffness and bruising.

Doctors can usually treat bruising and slight strains or sprains with a session or two, then they heal on their own. However, more serious soft tissue injuries can require major surgeries and years of recovery, and may even result in permanent damage. In the most serious cases, soft tissue injuries can lead to amputation or paralysis. The magnitude of soft tissue injuries can result in time off work, your ability to do ordinary things (like chores and hobbies), stress on relationships, and even emotional anxiety or depression.

If you were seriously injured in a bicycle accident that involved a motor vehicle, know your rights and options.

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI). What makes TBI so serious—and even more difficult to initially assess—is that unlike other injuries, sometimes TBI victims can appear normal, even uninjured. TBI, according to the Mayo Clinic, occurs when an external force causes trauma to the brain. It can result in bruising, torn tissues, bleeding, and other physical damage that can result in long-term complications or death.

Any time a motor vehicle strikes a bicyclist, a medical professional should assess the cyclist for TBI—even if the bicyclist was wearing a helmet. Simple physics—a heavy motor vehicle weighing several thousand pounds or more hitting a bicyclist weighing at most a few hundred pounds—shows that this is a real concern. TBI can lead to serious long-term, and often life-altering, consequences. Seek medical help immediately!

Some Possible Symptoms of TBI After a Bicycle Accident

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Short-term or long-term memory problems (for example, a victim can’t recall certain facts or memories)
  • Altered moods, irritability, sudden aggression, or anger
  • Trouble sleeping, including nightmares
  • Trouble concentrating or focusing on tasks
  • Changes in personality
  • Confrontational moods or increased anxiety
  • Trouble with balance or motor control
  • Extremity weakness
  • Costs of TBI Injuries

Brain injuries cost roughly $48.3 billion annually in the United States. Long-term care and rehabilitation costs are also high, sometimes averaging $1,000 a day and millions during a lifetime in the most serious cases. Victims can quickly exceed their insurance limits. Victims with complex TBI can incur staggering long-term costs for medical treatments, lost wages, need for supplemental care, and other unforeseen needs.

The extent of physical and monetary damages caused by a TBI isn’t easy to estimate. TBI treatment is complex and can involve professionals from numerous medical fields. Thus, it can take months or even years before the final injury assessment is known.

The most important thing for TBI injuries is to seek medical help immediately. Time is of the essence, and even what might seem like a minor headache can prove life–threatening. Then, make sure you preserve your rights by contacting a personal injury attorney.

Contact a Chicago Bicycle Accident Attorney

A bicycle accident is always a stressful experience and can leave a long-lasting impact on a victim. At Abels & Annes, P.C., we can provide the legal assistance you need to evaluate your situation and determine the best course of action. Contact us or call us today at (312) 924-7575 to set up a consultation.

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