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Sep 2, 2020

Unfortunately, crashes are something that occurs often in cycling. Whether you hit a street pole, or you have an impact with a motor vehicle, for a bicyclist, these can provide serious damage.

Impact in a bicycle accident occurs because the impact forces your head to go forward and backward, or from side to side. Additionally, there can be physical impact with a vehicle, the ground, or a pole.

Generally, the most common injuries other than road rash involve the head and neck. These injuries can vary from minor, up to violent and serious. If you have been involved in a bicycle accident, then there are a few steps you need to take to ensure you are healthy and recover properly.

Diagnosing Bike Accident Neck Injuries

Muscular Injury
Although the neck is the most mobile part of your spine, it can also be injured very easily. Typically, this is in the form of a strain, which will damage muscles and ligaments. This injury is considered a soft tissue injury.

Characteristics of muscular neck injury:

  • Sharp pain

  • Stiffness

  • Loss of range of motion

  • Unable to move head

Tendon Injury
When you suffer a cervical sprain, you will experience a worse injury than that of a strain. Cervical sprains mean that you have actually damaged the ligaments and structures that connect the spinal bones and joints. It is possible to suffer this form of sprain at the same time as a strain.

Characteristics of a tendon neck injury are similar to that of a muscular neck injury. The only difference is a larger amount of pain.

Bone Injury
A neck fracture is possible after a car vs. bike accident. Neck fractures are a very painful thing to go through, but typically all that can be done is rest. In a severe situation, surgery may be needed to relieve pressure on the spinal nerves or the spinal cord.

Symptoms of a bone injury:

  • Pain radiating from the neck down to the shoulders or arms

  • Swelling and bruising

  • Decreased feeling in limbs

  • Muscle weakness

  • Paralysis of the arms or legs

 The only way to truly diagnose a bone injury is to get an X-ray. 

Disc Injury
Spinal discs exist between each cervical vertebra. These are made of cartilage and cushion your bones when walking or running.

When trauma occurs, it can cause spinal discs to become displaced. Herniation can also occur. When this happens, there is a jelly substance that leaks out. This will put pressure on both spinal nerves and the spinal cord. 

Symptoms of disc injury:

  • Sharp neck pain going across the shoulder

  • Pain going into the arm to the fingers

  • Intermittent periods of numbness, tingling, and weakness

 Unfortunately, disc injuries can follow you around for the rest of your life.

Diagnosing Bike Accident Head Injuries

Concussion
The main head injury that can occur in a bike incident is a concussion. These are also known as “traumatic brain injury” (TBI). These injuries are usually caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head.

Concussions and TBI can also be caused by getting a hit to the body, which then causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This trauma to the brain can change the chemistry in the brain. This causes damage to brain cells.

Concussions can occur if your head comes in contact with the ground, but also if your head goes quickly from side to side. Regardless of if your head is hit, the damage and concussion can still be severe due to a blow to the body. 

Symptoms of a concussion include:

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Headache

  • Pressure in the head

  • Confusion

  • Loss of memory

  • Nausea

  • Slurred speech

  • Fatigue

Whiplash
Whiplash occurs when your head moves back and forth quickly. Although this is not as severe as a concussion, it can still be very painful. Whiplash typically occurs after a rear-end collision.

The reason that whiplash occurs is that the muscles and ligaments of your neck extend beyond their typical range of motion. 

Symptoms are usually mild, but may include:

  • Pain and stiffness

  • Worsening of pain with movement

  • Headaches, typically in the base of the skull

  • Tenderness through shoulders, back, and arms

Whiplash is usually very mild. Despite this, it causes long term pain, and symptoms may not appear for a few days.

How to Treat Bike Accident Injuries

Treating Whiplash

  • Over the counter pain medications

  • If you have a severe injury your doctor may prescribe a painkiller or muscle relaxers

  • Physical therapy

  • Apply ice or heat to the injured area

  • Practice simple exercises to build strength and flexibility

  • Try to keep your neck muscles from straining

  • Use a foam neck collar (do not wear more than three hours at a time)

Treating Muscular Injuries

  • Medication

  • Soft neck brace (cervical collar)

  • Chiropractic treatment or physical therapy

Treating Disc Injuries

  • Chiropractic treatment or physical therapy

  • Once a disc is herniated, it stays herniated.

  • Surgery and extensive rehab are necessary for herniated discs

Steps to Take Immediately After the Accident

The first step to take after an accident is to assess the situation. You should most likely go to a doctor to get treatment for your injuries. Even minor head injuries should be examined by a medical professional.

After an accident, you will want to avoid getting back on your bike. Do not take any medication unless your doctor has told you to do so. Make sure to avoid sleeping until after you have seen a medical professional in case of concussion. 

After an accident, you should take the following steps:

  • For severe accidents do not move until being assessed by a medical professional

  • Keep your helmet on, this will help to avoid further injury

  • Take note of your location details, this will help you give proper information to the emergency personnel

  • Apply pressure to lacerations

  • Try to stay calm

  • Do not get back on the bike until you have been cleared by a doctor

  • Write notes regarding the accident as soon as possible

  • If the accident was not your fault, contact a personal injury lawyer

Recovering from a Bike Accident

Before getting back on the bike you will need to have your injuries managed by a doctor. Be sure to rest adequately until all of your symptoms have gone away. If you return to being active too soon then your injuries can become worse.

One important thing to remember is to avoid television and computers. If possible, have someone monitor your symptoms for the 48 hours directly after the accident. Be sure to avoid alcohol or other symptoms that can affect your mental function.

After your symptoms have been taken care of and you have resumed riding, remember to always wear a helmet. Although this does not mean it can be fully avoided, it does give you a chance to prevent another injury.

How a Colorado Attorney can Help

When hiring a Colorado attorney, you increase your chances of receiving restitution for your injuries. Various individuals can be considered at fault for your bicycle accident and hiring an attorney will help you to bring a claim against whoever caused the accident. This can help to pay for your pain and suffering, as well as hospital bills, or damages. 

  1. If there is a motor vehicle involved, then your attorney can help you to bring a claim against the other driver’s insurance company.

  2. Oftentimes dogs might cause an accident. In this case, your attorney would aid you in filing a claim against the owner of the dog.

  3. If your accident occurs because the road is in poor condition, you can file a claim against the government responsible.

  4. Some bicycles are designed poorly, or even repaired poorly. Your attorney can help you to bring a claim against whoever manufactured or repaired your bike due to negligence.

  5. Pedestrians or other cyclists can be a cause of an accident. If your right-of-way was violated, you can bring a claim on them similar to as if you were in a car accident.

 If you have been injured in an accident, contact the best accident lawyers to file your claim today.

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