Whether you're doing your part for the environment, combining commuting and exercising, or simply using the only form of transportation you have, as a cyclist in an urban or suburban area of Massachusetts, you're at risk of being hit by a negligent driver.
The injuries you sustain could be life-threatening and will certainly require extensive—and expensive—medical treatment. We take a look at how these crashes happen, what kinds of injuries are typically suffered, and how to get the compensation you need to pay for your recovery.
Where Massachusetts Bike Crashes Happen
For your own self-preservation as a cyclist, you know that you need to follow the rules of the road and watch out for cars even when you have the right-of-way. However, this caution can only go so far. When drivers fail to do their part to keep you safe, you can be seriously injured or killed in a collision. Some typical locations for Massachusetts bike accidents include:
- Roadways. Even when there are designated bike lanes in a community, motorists don't always give cyclists the space they need to ride safely. Driver distraction compounds the problem. When someone fails to see a biker or give them leeway, one slip of focus might cut them off, push them off the road, or knock them off their bike.
- Intersections. Bike riders have the same rights of way as drivers at intersections. When a motorist fails to yield to a biker or makes a right or left turn into their path, the rider can be hit and thrown from the bike.
- Parking lots and driveways. Drivers turning into or out of parking lots or driveways often fail to check their blind spot for bicyclists that might be getting ready to cross the path. This is a frequent cause of accidents in neighborhoods and shopping districts.
- Downtown areas. A common downtown bike accident is a dooring incident. This happens when an occupant of a parked car opens their door in front of a cyclist who's riding next to the parking lane. Riders can flip over the top of the door and suffer serious injuries.
Drivers can avoid hitting bicyclists by maintaining reasonable speeds and being attentive at all times.
Typical Bicycle Crash Injuries
A smart cyclist always wears a helmet, which can help a lot if you hit the pavement. However, a helmet can only do so much. Riders hit by cars and knocked off their bikes often sustain the following types of injuries:
- Traumatic brain injury. Skull fractures, brain contusions, concussions, and intracranial hemorrhaging can result from an impact to the head, even when wearing a helmet.
- Face and eye injuries. Facial and dental fractures happen frequently bike crashes, as is eye damage caused by debris in the cornea.
- Musculoskeletal injuries. Fractures, dislocations, and sprains can happen when a biker hits the pavement hard. Shoulder and elbow injuries are particularly common.
- Chest injuries. Fractured ribs and lung injuries can result from an impact with the hood of a car.
- Abdominal injuries. Internal organs—including the spleen, liver, kidneys, pancreas, bowels, and heart—are at risk of rupture, contusion, perforation, or laceration in a bike crash.
- Pelvic region injuries. Pelvic fractures are common in bike crashes, as is vulval, urethral, and anal trauma.
- Skin and soft tissue damage. Every cyclist knows about road rash but might not be aware of how serious this injury can become if infection sets in.
The bottom line is that bikers don’t stand a chance when they're in car crashes. The medical bills can be astronomical, and you may need to file claims with several different insurance companies to get everything paid for.
Mahaney & Pappas LLP Can Help You Get the Compensation You Deserve
Depending on your specific situation, there are a few ways to get compensation for your injuries. The driver who hit you should carry personal injury protection coverage, and that policy should pay up to $8,000 of your medical expenses. If the motorist wasn't insured, you'll have to turn to your own auto or health insurance policies. Our attorneys are well-versed in insurance claims and can help you get the money you need after a careless or negligent driver hits you. Contact our Framingham office for more details.