Facial Injuries

Facial injuries are among the most common in Boston bicycle accidents.

Although helmets can help to protect the face, it doesn’t make one invincible – especially because it is primarily designed to protect the skull.

At The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman and BikeAttorney.com, some of the worst facial injuries bicycle accident clients have suffered have included:

  • Damage/ dislocation of the jaw;
  • Broken nose (resulting not just in disfigurement but breathing obstruction, sleep apnea, reoccurring sinus issues and loss of smell);
  • Loss of teeth;
  • Damage to eyes/ loss of vision;
  • Orbital fractures;
  • Nerve damage;
  • Scratches, lacerations and burns that may result in infection if untreated.

Facial injuries require not just immediate medical attention, but often numerous corrective surgeries in the future. They may result in chronic pain, long-term disability and severe disfigurement. In many cases, these are in addition to other serious injuries resulting from the crash.

Take for example the 2014 bicycle accident suffered by U2 front man Bono in New York City’s Central Park. He reportedly incurred substantial injuries to his face, right eye, elbow, shoulder blade and hand. He was forced to undergo numerous surgeries to his face and other areas, and doctors recommended intensive and progressive therapy.

Our experienced attorneys can help you obtain the compensation you deserve following a bicycle accident.

Facial Injuries and Bicycle Accidents

Head and facial injuries are frequently reported in bicycle accidents, especially those involving children. Young people tend to react more slowly than adults in protecting themselves in a fall.

Injury to the head is reported ion 22 to 47 percent of all bike accidents with injury, according to research by the American Academy of Family Physicians, and these were most often the result of motor vehicle accidents. A significant number of these cases involved injuries to the facial region, which usually meant:

  • Eye trauma from airborne trauma such as dust, insects and debris
  • Facial soft tissue injuries
  • Facial fractures

Cyclists who operate in an urban environment are much more likely to suffer injury than those who ride off-road. In fact, off-road cyclists have a 40 percent lower incidence of head, face and dental injuries than on-road cyclists. This is largely attributed to the fact that off-road cyclists are separated from motor vehicle traffic and they are more likely to wear helmets.

The American Association of Neurological Surgeons reports cycling is No. 1 out of 20 sports for injuries resulting in the most emergency department visits. This was true among adults as well as children under the age of 14.

A 2012 study published in the Journal of Oral Maxillofacial Surgery analyzed facial injury patterns stemming from motorcycle and bicycle accidents. In total, they analyzed 556 patients who suffered facial injuries after bike accidents and 367 who suffered facial injury in motorcycle accidents. Primarily, patients were young men.

What they discovered was:

  • 250 bicyclists (or 45 percent) showed 311 maxillofacial fractures
  • Only 6 percent of the cyclists were wearing helmets (compared to 67 percent of motorcyclists)
  • Motorcyclists showed a larger number of facial lacerations while bicyclists showed more abrasions
  • The most common dental injuries involved teeth being completely knocked out of the mouth, and this was more frequently seen in bicycle accidents than motorcycle accidents
  • Average hospital stay for a bicyclist suffering facial injuries was 1.3 days, versus 3.8 days for a motorcyclist

Researchers say the finding underscore the fact that bicyclists need to wear helmets, and preferably ones equipped with face guards.

Bicycle Helmets and Facial Injuries

Bicycle helmets can help to reduce the incidence of facial injuries among cyclists.

State law does not require adult cyclists to wear helmets, but M.G.L. ch. 85, Section 11B requires any bicyclist or passenger under the age of 16 must wear a helmet that meets federal safety standards. However, the law expressly states violation of this statute won’t affect any civil right or liability and it’s not considered a criminal offense.

Still, there have been numerous studies that show helmets can help to reduce facial injuries in bicycle accidents, particularly where motor vehicles are involved.

A study published in the Cochrane Database Systematic Reviews in 2000 looked at hundreds of bike accidents across the country and found that helmet use was associated with a 65 percent reduction in injuries to the upper and mid-facial areas.

Another study published in 2012 in the journal Injury Prevention by French researchers revealed that among 13,800 cyclists who were injured in France between 1998 and 2008, helmet use was associated with a 21 percent reduction of facial injuries.

If you have suffered facial injuries as a result of a Boston bicycle accident, we can help.

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