Bicycling has become incredibly popular in recent years, with more bicycles sold annually in the U.S. than cars. More than 17 million Americans ride a bike at least twice weekly. Boston is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the country.
Still, that doesn’t mean riding is risk-free. Although many cyclists involved in a crash may suffer superficial trauma, such as cuts and bruises, it’s not uncommon for riders to sustain more serious injuries, including broken bones. This is particularly true of Boston bicycle accident victims who are struck by vehicles.
A broken bone or fractures occurs when physical force exerted on the bone is stronger than the bone itself.
Because there is no substantial protection between the bicyclist and the car, ground or other objects in the roadway, the parts of the body most vulnerable to fractures are the arms and legs. Collarbone injuries too are fairly common.
Boston personal injury lawyers at The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman and BikeAttorney.com know a bicyclist who suffers broken bones will suffer disruption to their everyday lives. Not only will they likely be unable to get on a bike – which can mean additional time and expense if they are a commuting cyclist – it’s likely to mean basic tasks become difficult if not impossible.
An injured cyclist who works in an office and suffers a broken wrist will have difficulty doing his or her job, let alone getting there.
In cases where these injuries were the result of a car driver’s negligence or the city’s failure to maintain or the mechanical failure of the bicycle itself, those affected may have grounds to seek compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional anguish
- Other expenses incurred as a result of the injury (i.e., transportation costs)
To determine what your claim may be worth and how best to pursue it, you must speak with an experienced Boston injury lawyer.Bike Accident-Related Fractures
The average person will suffer two fractures in his or her lifetime.
A cyclist who is thrown off his or her bike in a crash is at increased risk for broken bones. Although they are usually not as serious as other types of bicycle-related injuries, such as head trauma or spinal cord damage, fractures are by no means a minor thing.
Most cyclists who suffer a fracture in a crash are going to have an injured hand, wrist, forearm or shoulder. This is due the way riders attempt to break a fall with outstretched arms.
Immediate pain and swelling usually indicates there is a fracture of the wrist or clavicle (collarbone). The wrists are usually broken due to direct impact with the ground or other surface. The clavicle, meanwhile, is often broken when a cyclist extends his or her arm to break a fall and the force travels up through the arm to the shoulder.
Orthopedic surgeons estimate it can take anywhere from eight weeks to six months for a broken wrist (more formally known as a distal radius fracture) to heal, depending on the severity of the injury. Broken collarbones generally take about six weeks to heal, but it could be longer before a doctor clears the injured person for getting back on a bike.
Other broken bones that commonly result from bike crashes include:
You may recall when then-U.S. Secretary of State Jon Kerry suffered a broken leg after a bike crash in May 2015 while in France. His right femur was fractured. He was initially flown to Geneva, Switzerland and then to Boston, where he underwent surgery and received physical therapy at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Orthopedic experts say injury to the femur, also known as the thighbone, can take six months or more to heal, depending on the nature of the break.Types of Fractures
Recovery time for any broken bone will depend on the force of impact, the angle of the fall, the point of impact and whether the cyclist involved was wearing any protective gear. Each of these factors as the potential to affect the type of fracture one incurs.
Some of the various fracture types, according to WebMd, include:
- Simple fracture – This occurs when the bone is fractured in just one place.
- “Greenstick” fracture – This is an incomplete fracture in which the bone is actually bent. It’s most common among children.
- Traverse facture – This occurs when a broken piece of the bone is at a right angle to the axis of the bone.
- Comminuted fracture – Bone breaks into several pieces.
- Compound fracture – This is when a broken bone pierces the skin.
- Buckled fracture – Sometimes referred to as an “impacted fracture,” this occurs when the ends are driven into each other. Commonly seen in arm fractures suffered by children.
- Oblique fracture – This is when the bone breaks in a curved or sloped pattern.
- Displaced fracture – In this case, the pieces of the fracture are not aligned.
- Stress fracture – Hairline crack.
Serious fractures can result in major and potentially life-threatening complications if not treated immediately. That’s why it’s always smart to seek immediate medical treatment following a bicycle accident – even if you feel fine.
Contact the Boston Bicycle Accident Lawyers at The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman and BikeAttorney.com at (888) 789-BIKE.