When a bicyclist gets hit by a car in an accident, it’s just plain ugly. That’s why it’s so critical for drivers to be extremely mindful of bicycle safety on the road. Bicycle safety is important to our society, as evidenced by the fact that the law allows bicyclists hurt in car accidents to qualify for legal settlements.
A bicycle accident settlement from a car crash can be important for victims, because injuries are often severe, creating potentially enormous medical bills. A federal government survey commissioned by the United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration studied injury severity in these crashes, presenting the sobering consequences of bicycle-car wrecks.
Here are the most important findings:
- Almost one-fourth of bicyclists injured in roadway accidents are hospitalized.
- Bicyclists struck on the roadway are especially susceptible to injuries to the head and upper body area—including the chest, back, abdomen, pelvis, and lower back.
The Most Common Injuries to Cyclists in Car Accidents
Bicyclists suffer injuries to these body parts most often, according to the study. Spoiler alert: the percentages add up to well over 100 because car accidents with bikes often result in multiple injuries to riders.
- Arms – 40% of bicyclists hit by a car. Injuries can range from road rash—an intensely painful condition where the top layer of skin is ripped off as you skid on the pavement—to agonizing fractures.
- Legs – 55% of bicyclists hit by a car. Getting tangled up in the bike or thrown to the ground can create road rash and broken bones. It can also tear knee ligaments.
- Head injuries – 28% of bicyclists hit by a car. Hopefully increased helmet use will make this number go down, as these injuries can range from a mere bump to a life-threatening fractured skull or even result in a frightening brain injury, which the study found 8% of cyclist car wreck victims suffered. These injuries can range from a concussion to a traumatic brain injury, which can cause lifelong complications or even be fatal.
- Face and neck – 30% of bicyclists hit by a car. These injuries could range from a scape to a bruise to fractured vertebra in the neck [a broken neck] or a disfiguring facial fracture or eye fracture, often called a fractured orbital.
- Abdomen, pelvis, and lower back – 13% of bicyclists hit by a car. This broad category opens up a host of potential severe injuries. Ramming into the handlebars or other parts of the bike can cause severe internal injuries like a perforated colon or ruptured spleen. Slamming onto the lower parts of the bike or the pavement can break pelvises and lower spine vertebra, and in the worst cases, you can face herniated spinal disks and even paralysis from the legs down.
- Chest – 12% of bicyclists hit by a car. Slamming chest first onto the pavement can create road rash or even fractured ribs.
- Spine or back – 11% of bicyclists hit by a car. These injuries can result from being thrown violently off the bike and onto the ground. The worst injuries can range from herniated spinal disks that create lifelong complications to even paralysis.
Drilling down further, the most common injuries for bicyclists struck by motor vehicles were: leg bruises [44%], while cyclists suffer fractures in 27% of accidents, and lacerations or open wounds in 26% of crashes.
If You’re Hurt in a Bicycle Accident, You Likely Have a Legal Remedy, Which Might be Better Than You Think
Bicyclists injured in car accidents often face a skeptical insurance company that fights you hard against paying a settlement. You may even get found at fault or partly at fault for the crash. But an officer’s mistaken accident report can be overturned with an experienced bicycle accident lawyer, and skeptical insurance companies can reverse their denials and settle when shown the right facts.
For an example of how we helped a concerned mother whose child got her leg broken in a bicycle accident where the police faulted the child, read this case study.
Bicycle accident victims are just as legally qualified for a settlement as any car accident victim. HERE'S A POTENTIAL SHOCKER: you might be able to use your own policy to increase your settlement.
To learn more about these cases, you can download our FREE BOOK on crash cases. To get your questions answered on the phone or in a FREE strategy session, call toll-free at 888-230-1841 or fill out a Get Help Now form.