While the law considers bicycles vehicles, they differ significantly from cars or trucks, particularly in terms of crash safety. They lack many safety features and the various inherent protections that other vehicles have. One unique risk for bicycle riders involved in accidents is road rash. This injury can range from a minor inconvenience to a severe, life-threatening condition.
After a bicycle accident, if you suffered road rash injuries, seek medical care as soon as possible and consult a bicycle accident lawyer. You need and deserve compensation for your injuries to help pay for your medical bills and lost income, as well as your pain and suffering.
You won’t know if you have a genuine injury claim unless you reach out to an experienced Centennial bicycle accident lawyer. If you have a valid claim, you want an attorney to represent you and maximize your compensation.
Understanding Road Rash
Road rash typically refers to a superficial but painful skin abrasion resulting from the skin’s contact with the road surface during an accident, especially on hard surfaces like asphalt or concrete. However, if the surface is strewn with debris like loose rocks, glass shards, or rock salt, the severity and complications of road rash can increase.
Road rash may occur independently or alongside other injuries, such as fractures, head, or spinal injuries.
While wearing appropriate safety gear can significantly reduce the risk and severity of road rash, it won’t always prevent this serious injury.
Types of Road Rash Injuries
Road rash injuries can manifest in various types and severities, influenced by the force of the accident, the surface of the crash site, the presence of debris, and whether the cyclist wore any safety gear.
The three primary types of road rash are:
- Avulsion: Avulsion is the most common form of road rash. It involves scraping away skin, potentially exposing lower layers of fat, muscle, and even bone.
- Open wound: Open-wound road rash typically requires stitches. In severe cases, the victim may also need a skin graft to facilitate proper healing.
- Compression: Compression road rash occurs when a part of the body gets caught between two hard objects, often the bicycle or a car, and the road. This type of road rash can lead to bruising, muscle damage, and even broken bones.
Assessing Road Rash Injuries
The severity of road rash injuries can vary, and you may need a doctor to determine the extent of the injury.
Seek emergency care for:
- Significant bleeding or blood spurting
- Exposure of underlying structures like bones, tendons, or ligaments through the skin
- Skin hanging from the wound that requires trimming
- Deep cuts that may necessitate stitches
Consult a healthcare provider promptly to ensure your health and safety. Additionally, they may find other injuries that require medical attention.
Treatment for Road Rash
If you sustained any form of road rash in a bicycle accident involving a vehicle, seek immediate medical attention. The surge of adrenaline following an accident can often mask symptoms.
Additionally, with road rash injuries, pain may not appear until the healing process commences. You may require more extensive medical care than initially thought. Failing to seek treatment promptly can lead to complications in your personal injury claim.
Victims should always take road rash and road burn injuries seriously.
Even with proper treatment, you may experience:
- Scarring: Road rash or burn may cause scarring. Deeper injuries are more likely to result in permanent scars.
- Nerve damage: Severe road rash injuries that remove multiple layers of skin can lead to nerve damage in the affected area, resulting in pain and heightened sensitivity.
- Muscle and tendon damage: When road rash penetrates deeply enough to expose muscles and tendons, the victim faces an increased risk of infection. This type of injury often causes severe pain.
- Permanent disfigurement: If road rash or road burn reaches the bone, the affected area may undergo permanent changes, even with immediate medical attention.
- Mental health complications: Severe road rash injuries can cause emotional trauma, leading to anxiety, depression, and other negative mental health symptoms—especially when scarring or disfigurement is permanent. Counseling or antidepressant medication may be necessary.
For severe cases of road rash, immediate medical intervention is necessary, including treatment by emergency room personnel and a comprehensive examination by a doctor. In situations that affect a large portion of the body, or if doctors worry about infection, victims may receive antibiotics.
Road rash may warrant surgery to repair damaged tendons, ligaments, and muscles. Doctors might also recommend skin grafts, which involve transferring skin from an uninjured part of the body to the affected area.
Victims will likely need multiple doctor visits for painful and time-intensive treatments. They may require physical therapy to restore movement to the injured areas. The healing skin may tighten and scar, leading to mobility issues. Some damage to joints and limitations in movement may never heal.
When Can You Seek Compensation for a Bicycle Accident?
Victims of bicycle accidents, as well as the families of those who have lost their loved ones in such accidents, have the legal right to take action against a driver if that driver bears full or partial responsibility for the incident.
To build a successful bicycle accident claim, the injured party must establish:
- The motorist engaged in negligent, careless, or violated driving rules. All drivers must exercise reasonable care while on the road. If a motorist fails to meet this obligation, they breach their legal duty.
- The breach of legal duty directly led to the bicycle accident. The cyclist must demonstrate that the driver’s actions caused the bike crash.
- You suffered actual harm as a result of the bicycle accident. This includes demonstrating that you incurred physical or financial losses or experienced harm due to the loss of a loved one.
Motorists can make many poor decisions and careless errors that lead to bicycle accidents. This may involve driving under the influence, operating a vehicle while fatigued or distracted, speeding, or failing to yield the right of way. A bicycle accident attorney who identifies these hazardous behaviors can assist victims and their families in pursuing a legal claim for compensation.
When Should You Reach Out to a Bicycle Accident Attorney?
Contact an experienced bicycle accident attorney promptly following your accident. Why?
The Statute of Limitations
The deadline for filing a personal injury claim, which the statute of limitations spells out, gives individuals injured in bicycle accidents a specific window of time from the date of their injury to initiate a legal case. Failure to take action within this legal timeframe can result in the inability to seek compensation through the legal system.
Additionally, some circumstances may either extend or shorten the statute of limitations in your particular case.
A knowledgeable bicycle accident lawyer will promptly file your case before your state’s specific deadline.
Preserving Crucial Evidence
The sooner your bicycle accident lawyer can gather, photograph, and safeguard critical pieces of evidence, such as your bicycle, helmet, and the condition of the accident site, the stronger your case. Upon retaining a bicycle accident attorney, they will promptly collect this invaluable evidence. Delaying in seeking legal counsel may lead to the loss or alteration of crucial evidence.
Protection Against Insurance Companies
Never engage with the driver’s or another party’s insurance company without representation. Insurance adjusters often attempt to expedite a settlement offer that falls far short of what you rightfully deserve for your injuries. They will use your statements against you to weaken your claim, and they frequently discourage claimants from seeking legal assistance.
With a seasoned bicycle accident lawyer by your side, you won’t have to interact directly with the insurance adjuster. Your attorney will handle all communication, safeguarding you from any tactics aimed at minimizing your claim.
Schedule a Consultation With a Bicycle Accident Attorney
Most bicycle accident attorneys offer no-obligation case consultations. This means you can meet with them for free and get their legal insight about your claim. If they believe you have a viable claim and you decide to move forward with hiring them, most work on contingency fees.
With this type of arrangement, you pay nothing upfront. In fact, you won’t pay anything until the bicycle accident attorney either settles your case or obtains a court award on your behalf.
If they don’t settle or win your case, you owe them nothing. Therefore, you have nothing to lose by meeting with a Centennial personal injury attorney to discuss your road rash injuries arising from a bicycle accident.
Seek your free case evaluation with a trusted law firm as soon as possible.