Getting around the Bronx on foot, on a bicycle, on a scooter, and on a motorcycle constitute quick, economical, and sustainable modes of transportation. However, walking, cycling, scooting, and riding come with danger; those involved in a Bronx traffic accident risk suffering road rash. Road rash refers to scrapes and wounds on a person’s body after it slides or gets dragged across the road.
Cyclists and bikers who get thrown from their seats during an accident face the most risk for road rash injuries in an accident, but pedestrians and motor vehicle occupants who get thrown from a vehicle during an accident also face the possibility of road rash.
In the wake of road rash injuries, accident victims can face lifelong complications in severe cases, and some might ultimately die because of their injuries. If you have suffered road rash injuries in the Bronx, you should consult with an experienced bronx personal injury attorney. Until you have the chance to meet with a lawyer, this guide about Bronx road rash offers a broad overview of road rash injuries, including types, different levels of severity, potential complications, and information about the legal process of recovering damages after suffering road rash injuries.
Accident Victims Can Suffer From Two Main Types of Road Rash
Road rash refers to various injuries that people might suffer if their bodies come in contact with concrete, asphalt, or gravel during a traffic accident. As you learn more about your road rash injuries or your loved one’s road rash injuries, you will find two main types:
Avulsion Road Rash Injuries
When people think of road rash, they most likely think of the most common type—avulsion injuries. This type of road rash occurs when the friction between a body and a road service scrapes layers of skin away from the body. Severe avulsion road rash injuries can expose fat, muscle, and even bone in the worst cases. Surface scrapes, sometimes referred to as raspberries or strawberries, typically heal within a few weeks without medical intervention. However, severe avulsion road rash injuries can require one or more reconstructive surgeries and skin grafts.
Compression Road Rash Injuries
Compression injuries occur less often than avulsion road rash injuries, but almost all compression injuries involve severe consequences. Compression road rash injuries occur when the body or limbs get crushed or compressed between two objects. Most compression road rash injuries occur with motorcycle or scooter accidents. A biker’s body or limbs may get trapped between the road and the bike, causing contusions, muscle damage, nerve damage, and broken bones. Those who suffer compression road rash injuries typically need immediate medical attention, and they may also need indefinite ongoing medical care.
Assessing the Severity of Bronx Road Rash Injuries
The severity of road rash varies depending on the circumstances of the accident and the type of road rash someone suffers. The medical community needs a way to characterize the severity of road rash, so doctors categorize road rash injuries by degree. Like burns, first-degree road rash involves the least severe injuries, and severity increases with the degree. Below, we provide a brief description of each level of road rash injuries:
First-Degree Road Rash
As the least severe level of road rash, first-degree road rash involves mostly superficial injuries. It refers to injuries that scrape the top layer of skin. A young child who falls off his bicycle and skins his knee would likely sustain a first-degree road rash. Those who suffer first-degree road rash typically face a short recovery. If cyclists, bikers, or pedestrians suffer first-degree road rash on a significant portion of their bodies, they likely need medical treatment to clean the wounds and cope with the pain and discomfort.
Second-Degree Road Rash
Second-degree road rash injuries break the skin’s outermost layer, differentiating them from first-degree injuries. Like first-degree road rash injuries, these injuries also usually heal on their own and do not typically leave permanent scars. However, open wounds may encounter dirt, gravel, pebbles, and pieces of asphalt when someone’s skin slides along a road. Those who suffer second-degree road rash must properly clean their wounds because they can easily become infected. Infections from open wounds can prove fatal if left untreated.
Although someone who suffers second-degree road rash can remove pieces of debris and dirt and clean the wound with iodine or saline, injured individuals should let a physician treat them to avoid infection. Like first-degree road rash injuries, those who suffer second-degree injuries on a large portion of their body need to let medical professionals clean and care for their wounds and provide options for pain management.
Third-Degree Road Rash
Third-degree injuries rank as the most severe among road rash injuries. These wounds typically leave scars and often cause permanent damage. The friction from a person’s skin sliding across the road peels away multiple layers of skin, exposing fat and muscle tissue. The most severe road rash cases can involve exposed bone. Those who suffer third-degree road rash injuries must head to the nearest emergency room in the Bronx as soon as possible. Once doctors have stabilized the injured individuals, they will likely need one or more surgeries, including skin grafts. Even with cosmetic surgery, victims of third-degree road rash will likely suffer permanent scars.
If you choose to avoid medical treatment after first-degree or second-degree road rash injuries, you should watch for signs of infection. As mentioned above, infections can prove fatal if left untreated. If you or a loved one experiences any of these symptoms after a road rash injury, get to the nearest NYC Health Hospital in the Bronx or another nearby hospital for emergency treatment.
Some of the most common symptoms of road rash include:
- Redness around the injuries
- Increased swelling
- Increased feeling of warmth near the site(s) of injury
- Increased pain
- Fever, chills, or sweats
- Diarrhea or vomiting
- Pus draining from wounded areas
- Red streaks around the wounds
Getting medical treatment for these symptoms could save your life or prevent your road rash from causing further damage to your body.
Road Rash Injuries Come With Various Complications
Severe cases of road rash can result in life-changing complications. Below, we cover some common infections that road rash victims could suffer, as well as other medical complications separate from the wounds.
As discussed above, sometimes road rash injury victims get an infection that leads to life-threatening illness. Two of the most common types of bacterial infections include staph infections and tetanus. Staph infections get their name from the staphylococcus bacteria present on the skin. When someone suffers an open wound, the bacteria can enter the body and cause infection. Metal objects, dust, and soil often contain Clostridium tetani, the bacteria for which tetanus gets its name. When the skin scrapes across a road, tetanus can enter the body and cause various painful symptoms if the wound does not receive proper cleaning.
Deep wounds from road rash accidents sometimes expose nerves. In severe cases, road rash victims suffer permanent nerve damage. Depending on the location of the damage, victims can lose feeling near the site of injury. Those who have feelings after nerve damage might experience unimaginable pain, weakness, or numbness, causing lifelong struggles with movement, especially when limbs suffer severe road rash injuries.
Soft Tissue Damage
Third-degree road rash sometimes exposes soft tissues, such as muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Sometimes, soft tissue damage heals, and road rash victims don’t experience any long-term complications. In other cases, soft tissue damage may result in permanent damage, causing victims to experience some level of functional loss. Depending on the exact injury, victims could struggle with their capacity to perform daily tasks and other routine tasks.
Scarring and Disfigurement
Soft tissue damage, infection, and impact on the skeletal system can cause permanent disfiguration at the site of the injury. Similarly, some severe wounds leave permanent scars, even after surgery and skin grafting. Disfigurement and scars sometimes come with chronic pain, but even without pain, victims may face the emotional trauma of highly visible scars or disfigurement.
Liability in Bronx Road Rash Injuries
If you have suffered road rash injuries in a Bronx traffic accident, you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries. A range of situations can lead to an accident in which someone suffers road rash injuries. Liability falls on the party responsible for the accident. Your accident injury attorney might advise you to name one or more of the following as a defendant in your claim:
Negligent Bronx drivers risk causing a traffic accident that can lead to road rash for cyclists, bikers, and pedestrians. Dangerous driver behaviors include driving under the influence, distracted driving, and following others too closely, also known as tailgating. Drivers in passenger vehicles and trucks must also watch their blind spots and clear them before changing lanes or making a turn to avoid hitting cyclists or bikers and to avoid causing an accident that could eject someone from a vehicle. When another driver’s reckless behavior or negligence causes an accident, that driver may bear financial liability for losses related to road rash injuries.
Companies that design and sell automobiles, motorcycles, and bicycles have a legal duty to bring safe products for public use to market. Defective design or construction can lead to an accident that results in severe or fatal road rash injuries. This situation doesn’t occur frequently, but it can occur. If a defect leads to an accident, manufacturers could bear liability for road rash injuries. In fact, any company or individual involved in the chain of distribution for a motorcycle, bicycle, automobile, or related parts could bear all or partial liability for damages from road rash injuries, including distributors, dealerships, and retailers.
New York City or Another Government Entity
The City of New York bears responsibility for maintaining streets and roads in the Bronx and other boroughs. If inadequate road maintenance causes an accident that leads to road rash, victims have the right to seek compensation from the city. This also holds true if someone suffers injuries on a state highway; the injured party can take action against the State of New York. A government entity can bear liability for accident injuries if an accident occurs because it failed to clear debris from the road, fix potholes, replace missing utility hole covers, replace missing stop signs, or fix traffic signals when they malfunction.
Recovering Losses After Bronx Road Rash Injuries
If you file an injury claim to recover losses after suffering road rash injuries in the Bronx, you could receive compensation for economic and non-economic losses related to your injuries. Specific damages vary among claims because each accident has distinctive underlying facts and circumstances.
If you prevail in your claim, you could receive compensation for the following damages in the form of an insurance settlement or a jury award:
- Medical treatment costs, including ambulance and emergency room services, surgery, aftercare, hospital stay, diagnostic imaging, lab testing, prescriptions to combat infection and pain, and travel to and from the hospital
- Estimated future medical treatment costs, especially when severe road rash requires additional reconstructive surgeries and skin grafts
- Rehabilitation expenses for specialized therapy, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, mental health services, and others that a victim needs to cope with the physical and emotional consequences of a severe road rash injury.
- Costs for assistive devices, such as wheelchairs, walkers, canes, and crutches
- Lost income from missing work because of road rash and recovery
- Estimated future lost income when road rash causes permanent damage that prevents someone from returning to work or seeking future employment
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of consortium with a spouse, if applicable
- Reduced quality of life
Traffic accident victims who suffer road rash injuries sometimes also receive punitive damages. These damages seek to punish the defendant and deter future negligent behavior. However, courts only award punitive damages in rare cases of gross negligence and intentional harm. Your bronx personal injury lawyer can review the facts of your case and advise you on whether to ask for punitive damages in your claim.