Over the course of my career, I have had many fulfilling opportunities in representing several cyclists in their encounters with cars in the wild. These clients all suffered various injuries, from road rash and broken bones to severe lacerations, trauma, and even death. When one had an “acute” injury, such as a displaced collarbone (clavicle) that is visibly fractured or broken, the trauma team most often focused its attention on that area when triaging the patient. Occasionally symptoms of a head injury, or “traumatic brain injury,” had not yet manifested in the initial treatment or were overlooked when dealing with the emergent and visible injury.
Several of these cases have stuck with me through the years as a result of the powerful lessons I have learned and am able to share with others. Front of mind is one of the cases involving a world-class athlete and the scare that almost cost him his life. In this instance, my client (“Bill” to protect is identity) was hit while on a training ride.
Traumatic Brain Injury Not Diagnosed Until Six Weeks After the Wreck
Bill was on his Felt FRD with all the bells and whistles, including Mavic Cosmic Elite Wheels, SRAM eTap TT Kit, aero bars, and Garmin Vector 3 Power Meter Pedals. He actively participated in Ironman World Championships and had done Kona more than once, so he was a very experienced cyclist and additionally a world-class runner and swimmer. Bill was hit by a car in the bike lane while going through an intersection, and his main injuries were a dislocated shoulder and a fractured upper arm bone. He was reported to be amnestic at the ER, and an unremarkable head CT was performed. In turn, he was referred to orthopedics for the shoulder and then sent home.
Over the next six weeks, Bill was rehabbing his upper arm injury and trying to get back into function. At one of his PT visits, the staff noticed him walking funny, and the MD sent him to the emergency room to get checked – six weeks after his accident. He did not leave that hospital for five days because he was diagnosed with bi-lateral (both hemispheres) brain bleeds (subdural hematomas), and the doctors had to drain pressure from his skull by drilling into his head. He did make a full recovery, and for that we are truly thankful.
Contact Us Today
If you or a loved one has suffered a bicycle accident, be aware that traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can manifest many weeks afterwards. It is always important to be vigilant if you experience any signs of a head injury. For more resources you can visit the Brain Injury Association of America at https://www.biausa.org/brain-injury. Contact the trusted attorneys at Crumley Roberts to learn more about your options and to obtain assistance in a FREE case evaluation by calling us at (866) 691-0607.
Personal Injury Practice Group Leader / Chief Legal Officer
Dré Fleury is a North Carolina attorney and the Personal Injury Practice Group Leader at Crumley Roberts. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Washington and Lee University and later obtained his Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law. Dré is admitted to practice law in North Carolina and the United States District Courts for the Eastern, Middle, and Western Districts of North Carolina. He was recognized by The National Trial Lawyers as a Top 40 Under 40 and is also a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum.