When most people think of a bike accident, they picture injuries like scraped skin, head trauma, or broken bones. While those wounds can have severe and long-lasting consequences, there’s a lesser-known injury that can also occur after a cycling incident: a ruptured spleen. 

Suffering a ruptured spleen in a bike crash can be life-threatening. Here’s why ruptured spleens are common after bicycle accidents, what this type of injury looks like, and when to seek treatment. 

Spleen Function and Location

Your spleen is a small internal organ that works with your lymphatic system to filter blood and form white blood cells, which protect you from infection. It is located on the upper-left side of your rib cage, right beneath your diaphragm.

How Can a Bike Accident Cause a Ruptured Spleen?

When a cyclist sits on their bike, the handlebars are located directly in front of where the spleen rests in the body. If the cyclist is thrown forward in an accident, the handlebars may hit the abdomen at just the wrong angle and cause damage to the spleen — even to the point of bursting. 

Though spleen injuries aren’t something many people associate with biking accidents, they are unfortunately quite common. One study showed that nearly 18% of young bikers involved in accidents experienced injuries to their spleen.

Is a Ruptured Spleen Life-Threatening?

Yes, a ruptured spleen is a life-threatening condition. Since the spleen stores and filters blood, a rupture can cause severe internal bleeding that may lead to death anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks following the injury. 

Some ruptured spleens require emergency surgeries, while others can recover with a few days of intensive hospital care. Regardless of the assumed severity, this injury requires immediate medical attention. 

Signs of a Ruptured Spleen

A ruptured spleen is often a painful injury, though not everyone experiences the intense pain commonly associated with it. 

Some signs of a ruptured spleen to watch for include:

  • Pain across your abdomen
  • Tenderness in the upper left portion of your stomach
  • Pain radiating to the left shoulder
  • Low blood pressure
  • Pale skin
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness or confusion

If you experience these symptoms, especially following a bicycle accident, seeking emergency medical care is vital. 

When To See a Doctor After a Bike Accident in NYC

New York City roads are notoriously crowded, leading to thousands of collisions each year. Over 18,000 of those crashes include bicyclists, nearly all of which involve injuries or fatalities. 

If you have been in a bike accident in NYC, it’s important to receive medical attention — even if you don’t feel like you were injured. Following a crash, it’s normal for adrenaline and endorphins to flood your body. These hormones often mask pain, which can make it difficult for you to tell if you were wounded until the effects wear off. 

Additionally, declining medical attention after a bike accident that was not your fault may limit your ability to seek damages later on. Getting an opinion from a doctor can help you detect and document injuries, which will both protect your health and your long-term interests. 

Seeking Damages After a Spleen Injury From a Bike Accident

Spleen injuries following a bike accident are a lot more common than many people realize. Not only are they incredibly dangerous, but they are also often traumatic and costly to treat. If you have been in a bike accident, you will want to get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible. An NYC bicycle accident attorney can help you seek compensation to cover hospital bills, missed work, and other damages so you can focus on recovering and moving forward.

Contact Our Bicycle Accident Law Firm in New York City

If you’ve been injured in an accident in Manhattan, NY, and need legal help, contact our New York City bicycle accident lawyers at Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C. to schedule a free consultation.

Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C.
100 Wall St 15th Floor
New York, NY 10005
(212) 514-5007