Concussion

An increasing number of people are bicycling in Boston. Unfortunately, this has meant an uptick in bike crashes resulting in concussions.

According to a recent study by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, cycling was cited in 86,000 of the 447,000 sports-related head injuries treated in emergency rooms in a single year.

That’s about 20 percent, more than any other sport and nearly twice as many as the 47,000 head injuries attributed to football.

At The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman and BikeAttorney.com, our experienced bicycle accident lawyers know that while concussions are classified as a “mild traumatic brain injury,” the short- and long-term effects can be incredibly damaging.

Where these accidents are the result of negligent by a motor vehicle driver, there may be grounds to pursue a claim for damages or perhaps even an injury lawsuit against the driver, vehicle owner or employer. In some situations, the city could be responsible for poor design of maintenance of the road or the bicycle manufacturer could be liable for a defective bike. It will depend on the unique circumstances of the case.

To understand what kind of compensation might be available, we first need to explore the sort of damage that can result from bike-related concussion.

What is a Concussion?

A concussion is a type of mild traumatic brain injury that is caused by a direct blow to or rapid acceleration/deceleration of the brain inside the skull. It doesn’t necessarily result in a loss of consciousness, but it can.

As The Mayfield Clinic describes it, during impact, the brain bounces back-and-forth inside the skull. This can result in bruising, tearing and bleeding. Immediately after the accident, the persona may seem confused or complaint of dizziness, nausea, blurred vision or impaired memory. In some cases, individuals feel fine, but then don’t develop symptoms until hours or days later.

Such injuries are frequently reported in:

  • Falls
  • Sports
  • Car Crashes
  • Bicycle Accidents

They can result in a series of physical, mental and emotional ailments that could persist for months or longer.

Concussion severity is “graded” according to the loss of consciousness and degree of amnesia, with Grade I being the least problematic and Grade III being the most serious.

Some of the symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Sleep trouble (extremely fatigued, sleeping too much or too little)
  • Memory trouble (problems concentrating, thinking, remembering)
  • Mood trouble (issues with irritability, sadness, nervousness or anxiety)
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting or nausea

Although most people make a full recovery, symptoms may last anywhere from 2-3 weeks up to a full year. That can have a serious impact on one’s ability to work, function and enjoy their lives on a daily basis.

In order for compensation to be possible, an injured cyclist must make sure these injuries are fully and completely documented in medical records. That’s why it’s imperative to seek medical attention immediately after a bicycle-versus-vehicle accident, even if symptoms aren’t apparent right away.

Concussions and Bicycling

Although the use of helmets decreases the odds of injury in a bike accident, a concussion is a possibility anytime one suffers a blow to the head. Unfortunately, bicyclists have little real protection between their bodies and the road if they are struck by a vehicle.

The AANS study revealed that cycling was not only the No. 1 cause of all sports-related injuries in the U.S., it was prevalent also among children under 14. Within this subset alone, it resulted in 40,270 injuries treated in hospital emergency departments, which was nearly double the 21,900 who were brought in for football-related injuries.

It’s worth noting too: The adult numbers may be skewed lower than reality because adults may be less likely to seek emergency medical treatment for themselves than parents of young children.

Part of the reason why cycling may result in more injuries than other physical activities is because more people do it. Young males primarily dominate the football field, but cycling is something enjoyed by everyone, no matter their gender, age or even physical prowess.

Still, the problem has become so serious in professional cycling that a group of doctors who focus on cycling medicine coordinated with USA Cycling to develop brain injury protocols. Mostly, it involves quickly diagnosing a possible concussion and requiring players pass a cognitive function test before returning to the course.

Anyone who has been in a bicycle accident in Boston – with or without a helmet – should refrain from engaging in any physical activity until cleared by a physician.

Contact the Boston Bicycle Accident Lawyers at The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman and BikeAttorney.com at (888) 789-BIKE.