Road rash sounds deceptively innocuous. Rashes heal, right? No biggie, right?
Not so fast. Yes, a road rash injury could amount to nothing more than the sort of scrape a child gets from falling from a bike or skateboard. It hurts and it needs some cleaning, but it will heal with some basic first aid. But other road rash injuries can get a whole lot worse than the sort of childhood booboo suggested by the name. The road rash you can get from a motorcycle accident amounts to a major trauma that comes with serious health risks, medical costs, and the potential for permanent scarring.
In this blog post, we examine these more severe cases of road rash and how to treat them. With any luck, you will never have to experience the extreme pain and long recovery time of one of these injuries. But just in case you find yourself nursing a serious road rash injury, we hope this blog will prove useful. And if your road rash injury resulted from a motorcycle accident that wasn’t your fault, contact a skilled motorcycle accident injury attorney at Boohoff Law today to learn about your rights.
Road rash is trauma to skin and soft tissue resulting from friction with a road surface (usually, but not always, pavement). It is one of the most common injuries in motorcycle accidents and is comprised of several distinct varieties of injury:
Any of these injuries, alone, can cause significant trauma and health risks. But when they occur together in a road rash, they can prove as life threatening as a severe burn or gunshot wound. In fact, doctors classify road rash injuries by degree, just like they do with burn injuries. “The degree of injury ultimately depends on the bodies in motion, the speed of the skin when it hits the road, the texture and condition of the surface, and the sliding distance,” according to this article in the Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons.
These primary injuries can also lead to secondary health complications (much the same way a severe burn can). They include:
These are not the only complications possible from a severe case of road rash. Anyone who has suffered anything more than a minor case of road rash should seek medical attention immediately. Waiting to seek medical attention (or skipping it altogether) could put you in danger of a life-threatening infection that worsens very quickly.
Road rash injuries vary in severity. You can treat the simplest cases with the sort of first aid measures described below. But more severe injuries require immediate medical attention and may leave you hospitalized. If you have any doubt about whether you can treat a case of road rash on your own, play it safe and go to the doctor right away.
You might treat simple cases of road rash from a motorcycle accident—and by this we mean very, very minor cases that resemble the cuts and scraps a child might get from falling off a bike—at home. Here are the steps Healthline.com recommends you take to treat minor road rash at home.
If any of the steps above seem over your head, go to the doctor. Do not risk an infection or permanent scarring.
A doctor will assess the severity of a case of road rash as described above. If it is a relatively straightforward case, then a doctor’s office will follow the same basic steps above to treat it. For more severe cases, the medical literature suggests a course of treatment similar to how a doctor would treat a thermal burn. This may include “administration of intravenous fluids and shock resuscitation,” “topical therapy using antiseptic and/or antimicrobial agents,” debriding the wound (or removing dead or unsalvageable tissue), and performing a skin graft.
Doctors will also use techniques similar to those involved in thermal burn therapy to address secondary health complications. Intensive courses of antibiotics might be necessary to treat any infection that has set in. The doctor may isolate the patient in a ward specially designed to prevent further infection.
Because a severe case of road rash may also damage muscle tissue and nerve endings, doctors may also prescribe a course of physical or occupational therapy to help a road rash victim recover from the injury. In the end, this care can cost thousands of dollars.
Medical treatment for a case of severe road rash from a motorcycle accident is only part of the picture, however. The financial damage done by a severe case of motorcycle accident road rash—medical bills, lost wages, property damage, etc.—can follow victims and their families long after the wound itself has healed. So can the physical and emotional trauma of having lived through an extremely painful, frightening, and life-disrupting accident and injury.
These harms require as much “treatment” as the medical conditions brought on by road rash. But how?
In many motorcycle accident scenarios, the rider is not at fault for his own injuries. When that is the case, the rider may have the right to take legal action to recover compensation from the party or parties whose actions caused him harm. For example:
This is just a sampling of the parties who could have legal liability to a motorcyclist. The best way to find out if someone should pay you damages for your road rash injury is to consult an experienced motorcycle accident injury lawyer. A lawyer can:
The sooner you speak with an experienced motorcycle accident injury attorney about your case of road rash, the better your chances of recovering the compensation you need. There is a short time window for taking legal action, and evidence pointing to who is to blame for your accident has a way of disappearing over time. Protect your rights by seeking legal advice right away.
We would be remiss in writing about treatments for road rash if we did not include information about how to avoid a severe case of road rash in the first place. The problem of road rash is hardly new for motorcyclists and the public. Here are some preventive measures that have been tested and proven to protect against the worst cases of road rash:
To learn more about your legal rights after a motorcycle accident leaves you with severe road rash, consult an experienced motorcycle accident injury attorney.