Bicycling offers California residents a fun, healthy, and eco-friendly alternative to driving cars. But sadly, serious and fatal bike accidents are common. The Office of Traffic Safety stated that San Francisco is an especially dangerous location for cycling, as we have more bike accidents than any other major city in California. When a cyclist crashes, they may suffer from a number of devastating injuries, including shoulder and neck injuries that could be catastrophic or even fatal.
If you or a loved one have suffered an injury from a bike accident, our Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers can help you hold the at-fault party financially accountable. Here’s what you should know about shoulder and neck injuries and recovering compensation.
Types of Shoulder Injuries
The impact of a bike accident can cause you to sustain any number of injuries that involve your shoulder ligaments, bones, joints, and muscles, and these injuries can have a serious impact on your livelihood and ability to work. Common shoulder injuries include:
- Rotator cuff tear: The rotator cuff is a capsule of tendons that attach the shoulder blade and humerus. A tear in the rotator cuff can cause pain, weakness, and limited range of motion.
- Bursitis: Bursae are small fluid-filled sacs that cushion and reduce friction between bones, tendons, and muscles. When the bursae in the shoulder become inflamed, it can cause pain and swelling.
- Frozen shoulder: Also known as adhesive capsulitis, this is a condition where the shoulder joint becomes stiff and painful, often making it difficult to move.
- Shoulder dislocation: This occurs when the upper arm bone pops out of the shoulder socket. It can cause severe pain and require medical attention to reduce the joint.
- Labral tear: The labrum is a piece of cartilage that surrounds the shoulder socket, helping to keep the humerus in place. A tear in the labrum can cause pain and instability in the shoulder joint.
- AC joint separation: The AC joint is where the collarbone meets the shoulder blade. An injury to this joint can cause the collarbone to separate from the shoulder blade, resulting in pain, swelling, and limited mobility.
Shoulder Injury Symptoms
You may suffer from a range of symptoms depending on your injury’s type and severity. Here are some common symptoms of shoulder injuries:
- Limited range of motion
- Numbness or tingling, which may extend to the arms and hands
- Bruising or discoloration
You should seek medical attention if you notice any of these symptoms. Even if your shoulder injury is seemingly minor, delaying treatment can affect your ability to recover compensation if the injury is worse than you realize.
Neck Injuries After a Bike Accident
Colliding with a vehicle can leave you with an incredibly serious neck injury, which may require extensive medical treatment.
- Whiplash: Whiplash is a common neck injury that occurs when the neck is suddenly jerked forward and then backward, damaging the soft tissues of the neck.
- Cervical sprain or strain: Bike crashes can cause sudden twisting or pulling in the neck, causing a sprain or strain in the muscles or ligaments.
- Herniated disc: A herniated disc occurs when the soft tissue between the vertebrae in the neck is pushed out of place, often due to a sudden impact or trauma.
- Facet joint injury: The facet joints are small joints located between the vertebrae of the spine, and they help provide stability and facilitate movement of the spine. This injury can impact one’s ability to move their head, as it affects the neck’s mobility.
- Fractured vertebrae: A fracture of the cervical vertebrae can occur in more severe bike accidents and can cause significant pain, limited mobility, and paralysis.
- Pinched nerves: Bike crashes can cause nerves in the neck to become pinched or compressed, leading to symptoms such as pain, numbness, and weakness in the arms or hands.
Neck Injury Symptoms
Neck injuries can lead to various minor and severe symptoms, including:
- Trouble with memory
- Pain in the neck, arms, shoulders, and upper back
- Blurry vision
- Ringing in your ears
Experiencing any of these symptoms after a bike accident can indicate serious or even life-threatening injuries, so you need to seek immediate medical attention.
What Should I Do After a Bike Accident?
After suffering from a bike accident, you need to take immediate action to protect yourself and increase the likelihood of recovering compensation. Here’s what you need to do:
- Get medical attention: It’s crucial to receive medical attention as soon as possible after suffering from a bike accident. Even if you don’t believe your injuries are serious, you could suffer from delayed onset injuries that don’t become fully apparent until later. Delaying treatment can hurt your ability to recover compensation from the at-fault party or their insurance because they may argue that the accident didn’t cause your injuries.
- Gather evidence: You’ll need to present evidence that proves the negligent party was at fault and that you suffered damages as a direct result of their actions. Collect and preserve evidence such as photos/videos, eyewitness testimonies, medical records, medical bills, and proof of other out-of-pocket expenses or lost wages. You should also hold onto your bike, as it can also be evidence of the severity of the incident.
- Avoid recorded statements: The at-fault party’s insurance company may try to gather evidence suggesting that their client wasn’t at fault for the collision. Never speak to them without legal representation and never agree to a recorded statement. You should also avoid discussing the situation or your injuries on social media, as this can also be potentially used as evidence against you.
- Contact a San Francisco bicycle accident law firm: The best thing you can do after suffering an accident is obtain legal representation. Experienced bike accident lawyers will help you gather and retain evidence and maximize your compensation.
How Much Compensation For Neck and Shoulder Injury?
The amount of compensation you can receive in a neck and shoulder injury settlement will depend on the damages you sustain, including property damage, past and future medical bills, lost wages, and loss of future earnings. You may also be able to recover compensation for physical, mental, and emotional pain and suffering.
Contact a San Francisco Bicycle Accident Law Firm
Here at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we have years of experience representing bike accident victims in San Francisco and the Bay Area. When you contact us, we’ll immediately get to work building your case to prove your claim and maximize your compensation. Call us today at 877-380-9952 for a free case evaluation.