Given the physics of some bicycle accidents, it’s not unusual for a bicyclist to fly over his or her handlebars after an impact or defective road condition. When a bicyclist is wearing a helmet, that helmet might protect his or her head and spinal cord from injury, but it does little or nothing to protect the bicyclist’s jaw, mouth, nose and face. It’s highly likely that an impact with the pavement or another vehicle won’t be broken with the cyclist’s hands and arms. That can leave the bicyclist’s face impacting with the pavement, another vehicle or a stationary object. Since the structure of the face is fragile, a traumatic impact with another object can result in extensive damage to facial components like his or her:
Since the mandible bone (jaw) is unprotected with a helmet and protrudes from it, a bicyclist’s jaw can be traumatically and painfully fractured or dislocated after a bicycle crash impact. There’s also a high likelihood that dental injuries in the form of chipped, fractured or displaced teeth will accompany a serious jaw injury. Not only will the victim have difficulty chewing and digesting food, but emotional issues about his or her appearance are also likely to arise.
A person’s nose also protrudes from their face. That’s why one of the most common facial injuries from bicycle accidents is nasal damage. A broken nose is going to result not only in great pain, but also disfigurement. Aside from those issues, breathing passageways can become obstructed, and sinus damage might result. Then come the facial disfigurement emotional issues.
Cheekbones protrude too. These and a rider’s eye orbit bones can be fractured in a bicycle accident. Surgery might not be needed to repair these types of injuries. At other times, wires, screws or plates might be used to help with joining facial bones. Reconstructive surgery might even be in order if the victim’s face has been misshaped. Facial bones might be removed and replaced by healthy bone from another part of the victim’s body.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if I wasn’t wearing my helmet and received a facial injury?
By law, a violation of the helmet law can’t automatically prevent you from getting compensation. However, a jury could determine that you were negligent in not wearing a helmet and most likely will reduce the amount of compensation you would otherwise receive.
Can I get compensation if I’m permanently scarred?
The law requires the at-fault driver to pay for all of the victim’s injuries including things like pain and suffering and permanent disfigurement. This is paid on top of all medical bills and other direct costs like lost time from work. The amount will depend on the severity of the disfigurement.
What if I was partially at fault for the accident?
In California, a jury can divide fault between the drivers and the victims of an accident. Then the victim’s compensation is reduced by his or her percentage of fault. This is called comparative fault and it’s used in all personal injury cases in California including bicycle accident injuries.
Contact Bay Area Bicycle Law
Any of the above facial injuries can result in expensive medical treatment, pain and emotional trauma. You’ll want them treated professionally and responsibly. You’ll want your California bicycle accident personal injury case treated effectively, efficiently and professionally too.
The attorneys at Bay Area Bicycle Law focus their practice on bicycle related injuries. Years of advocacy for bicycle victims have seasoned our attorneys with the necessary skills, knowledge base and familiarity to handle bicycle accidents cases to the upmost level of professional expertise. Since bicycle accident related injuries present unique legal issues that oftentimes render them completely different from conventional auto accidents or accidents involving other types of vehicles, BABL’s collective expertise in bicycle cases is imperative in helping clients achieve the most favorable settlements possible.
We work with clients in San Francisco, Palo Alto, Berkeley, Oakland, Sacramento and all over Northern California. Contact us today for a free consultation after any bicycle accident.