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Boston Bike Crashes Often Lead to Serious Injury

Cars are designed to protect the occupants from serious or fatal injuries. This does not mean that there are not Boston car accidents involving serious or deadly injuries, but many car accidents do not result in significant injuries to the occupants. A bicycle on the other hand has no real protection from the impact in the event of the crash.  Bike riders should wear helmets, even though adults are not legally required to do so in Massachusetts. But even with a helmet, there is still a real chance of the rider suffering severe personal injury in the event of a bike crash.  This lack of protection should not be held against the rider in the event of crash that his not the rider’s fault. The law thus offers no such protection to defendants in a Boston bike crash lawsuit.

Boston bike attorneyAccording to a recent news article from the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript, a 10-year-old boy from New England, who is a world-renowned golf prodigy, was seriously injured in what initially appeared to be a minor bike crash.  The boy was riding his bike when appeared to simply fall off.  When he fell, he landed on the handlebars with his stomach.  Despite hitting the handle bars, it appeared that this was not a serious accident and would only result in a bruise.

The young bike crash victim was in serious pain following the accident, and that pain only got worse so his parents took him the emergency room.  When images were taken, they discovered he had suffered at least three lacerations on his liver and bruising on his pancreas. He was then flown by medical transport to a level one trauma center in the Greater Boston area where surgeons operated on him quickly and were able to stop the bleeding on his liver. At this point, they believed he was out of the woods, but soon discovered a hematoma on his pancreas that was not healing properly.  They performed additional surgery, but were unable to repair the damage. They are continuing to perform additional testing and hope they can help him soon. Members of the community have started a crowd-source funding campaign on the internet to help the family and member of the Boston Bruins hockey team went to visit him in the hospital.

Any B0ston Bike Crash Can Lead to Serious Personal Injury

While these specific injuries are not all that common when falling off a bike, being seriously injured in a Boston bike crash can often lead to serious personal injury or death. As our Boston bike crash lawyers can explain serious injuries are even more common when a bike crash involves a bike colliding with a motor vehicle.

At common law, there is a doctrine known as the eggshell skull rule or sometimes the eggshell plaintiff rule. This law is taught to every first-year law student in a class called torts, which covers many personal injury actions.  The law comes from an example in which the plaintiff suffered a medical condition causing him to have a skull much thinner than an person without this rare medical condition.  When he was injured, it was determined that the impact would not have done much harm to a person without the condition, but he had this medical condition so he suffered a serious personal injury.  The question for the courts was whether the defendant would still be responsible since he had no way of knowing the plaintiff suffered from such a rare medical condition.

It was ultimately decided that it would be unfair for the plaintiff to suffer legal harm in addition to physical harm since he was not at fault and the defendant was so the court coined a phrase that a defendant must take a plaintiff as he finds him.  This means that if the plaintiff has some medical condition that exacerbates an injury, the defendant has to deal with the consequences of that even if he was unaware of the medical condition at the time of the tortious conduct.

If you are wondering what this had to with a bike accident involving a person without such a medical condition, it is because this doctrine has evolved in various ways over the years.  One way it has evolved is that those with prior or pre-existing medical conditions can suffer an injury that makes these pre-existing conditions worse.  This is true of physical injuries, but it is also true of mental illness in the case of negligent infliction of emotional distress cases.  In these cases, a person can suffer from pre–existing mental illness such as anxiety or depression, and if the defendant’s conducts aggravates the pre-existing mental illness, the defendant my be deemed liable for the consequences.

This rule can also apply to situations where the plaintiff is on a bike and hit by a car.  When a person chooses to ride a bike instead of drive a car to work or take public transportation, they are choosing to be out the streets with less protection than they would have had they been in a motor vehicle. In some ways, this is analogous to having a having an eggshell thin skull.  If a person is in a car and gets hits by a negligent driver at 10 miles per hour, there will be a lot of damage to the car, as they are designed with crumple zones to absorb impact, but in many cases, the plaintiff will survive without suffering a serious personal injury.  If the plaintiff was on a bike and was hit by a negligent driver, the results may be catastrophic resulting in severe personal injury or death.

As long as the bike rider was following traffic rules at the time of the time of accident, he or she is not negligent and will not be blamed for choosing to ride a bike even if that puts him or her at a greater risk for suffering severe personal injury.  After all, it was the driver of the car who was at-fault in the Boston bike crash.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a Boston bicycle accident (we prefer the term “crash”), call for a free and confidential appointment at 617-777-7777.

Additional Resources:

Professional athletes wish New Ipswich boy speedy recovery from a bicycle accident, December 27, 2107, By Abby Kessler, Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

More Blog Entries:

World Day of Remembrance Personal for Our Boston Bicycle Injury Lawyers, Nov. 17, 2017, Boston Bike Attorney Blog

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