A joint dislocation is an injury separating two bones where they meet. Dislocations are frequent in sports where falls are common.  That means bicycle riders are at extra risk, especially when extreme speeds are involved. The average cyclist can pedal faster than they can walk or run.  The additional speed only contributes to the severity of any dislocation in a crash.

Dislocations After a Collision

A strike from a motor vehicle also adds brute force to any fall a rider is forced to absorb. The victim is usually sent over the handlebars with hands and arms out in front. A hard blow usually follows. The rider lands with enough power to forcibly displace a joint from its normal position.

The probability of dislocation in a crash is something for every rider to worry about.  A rider sometimes depends on skill to avoid accidents, but an encounter with a careless driver isn’t something a cyclist can always avoid.

Major Joints In Harm’s Ways

Dislocation is most common in shoulders and fingers, both well-known problem areas for cyclists. In more violent crashes other major joints can be injured:


An elbow can become dislocated when a cyclist tries to break a fall. The elbow is a complicated hinge joint, and when it’s dislocated, urgent care and reduction are necessary. The joint might be put back into place without surgery by a physician who makes a quick movement with the forearm. If bones and/or ligaments are injured, surgery is probably in order for purposes of restoring, alignment, range of motion, and function. The arm will then be immobilized. After immobilization, physical therapy on the arm will then start.


Hip dislocations are surprisingly uncommon in bicycle accidents. They’re often accompanied by femur fractures. Usually, the ball of the hip joint pops out of the socket backward. If there aren’t any other significant injuries, a doctor will medicate the victim, and work the ball part of the joint back into its socket. Sometimes a small incision will be required. It will take about three months for the condition to resolve, but rehabilitation might take longer.


Actual knee dislocations are rare, but they can be dangerous due to the possibility of neurovascular damage. More frequent are dislocations of the patella (kneecap). Treatment involves immobilization and quadriceps strengthening that can help stabilize the knee. Complicated patellar dislocations with associated fractures and cartilage damage might require surgery.


Ankle dislocations result from traumatic forces pushing ankle bones apart. Victims of ankle dislocations are unable to walk due to severe pain. A visual deformity is seen when the dislocated ankle is compared with the uninjured ankle. After the bones of the ankle have been returned to their proper positions, pain and weakness should be expected. An orthopedic surgeon will recommend the most appropriate treatment based on a wide range of treatment options after determining the extent of the dislocation injury and whether there are any fractures.


Frequently Asked Questions

How much can I receive in a settlement for my joint dislocation injury?

For a joint dislocation, you can get compensation for pain and suffering for the duration of the injury and the recovery as well as any permanent pain. Also, if you can no longer do things that you used to, you can get compensation for diminished capacity and loss of quality of life. The bottom line, the at-fault person has to pay you for all reasonable costs and losses caused by the injury.

How long do I have to settle my joint dislocation claim before I have to file?

In California, you have two years from the date of the injury to settle your case. If you don’t get an offer that you feel is fair, then you will need to file before that two-year deadline. If you don’t do this, you may lose your right to get compensation for your injuries.

What if the accident is partly my fault?

California enacts comparative negligence, meaning that if the other driver was even partially at fault then s/he must pay their portion of the damages. The driver could have been distracted or speeding or there may be a number of other factors that could place a percentage of the blame on him or her. Talk to an attorney who knows the law and how to get you compensation even if you feel you were partially at fault.

Contact a Los Angeles Bicycle Law Attorney

Cycling is a way of life for many of us.  It’s hard to imagine a life without the joy of riding a trail or an open road. Extended time off your bike may be something you’ll have to face if you’re forced into an accident by a careless driver or even by neglected road maintenance. A full recovery can be long and painful.  Don’t leave your future to chance.  You’ll need an expert on California bicycle law by your side when seeking rightful compensation for medical care in the wake of an accident.

At Los Angeles Bicycle Law, we concentrate our practice solely on bicyclists who have been injured as a result of the carelessness and negligence of others. We’re dedicated and effective Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyers. If you were injured in a bicycle accident in or around Los Angeles or anywhere else in Southern California, contact us right away for a confidential free consultation and case review.