Thousands of people regularly ride motorcycles, and it’s easy to see why. They are fast, maneuverable, fuel-efficient machines that make getting from place to place a blast. Unfortunately, riding motorcycles also exposes people to a significant risk of serious injury.
Without the protection of a vehicle body or seatbelts around you, it’s easy to get thrown from a motorcycle after a collision. When this happens, your body can come into contact with the objects around you—including the road. For this reason, many people involved in motorcycle accidents sustain skin injuries commonly called road rash.
Road rash treatment can be expensive, painful, and result in untold non-economic damages. For this reason, if you suffered road rash or other serious injury in a motorcycle accident, seek medical treatment and speak with an attorney immediately.
What Is Road Rash?
Before we get into how to treat road rash, let’s identify exactly what we’re talking about.
Road rash is a non-medical term that describes abrasions that result from the skin coming into contact with road surface. In many cases, road rash occurs after a person skids or slides across the road after being thrown from a motorcycle.
Road rash can range from minor to severe. In less serious cases, only the top layer of skin, the epidermis, is affected. In these instances, road rash will typically heal on its own without medical treatment. In some cases, however, deeper layers of skin are affected, potentially affecting the dermis or even muscle and fat below the skin. Seek medical attention if you sustained severe road rash. Serious road rash can result in scarring, numbness at the site of the injury, infection, and chronic pain.
When Should You Seek Treatment for Road Rash?
Not all road rash requires medical care. That said, if there is any question in your mind as to whether you should see a doctor, you should always err on the side of caution and request an evaluation from a medical professional. In addition, it’s always important to seek medical attention after a motorcycle accident caused by someone else, as failing to do so could hurt your ability to obtain compensation from the other party.
Get treatment for a road rash injury if:
- You are in severe pain
- The injury is particularly large
- There is persistent bleeding
- You can see the fat or bone below the skin
- You see foreign objects embedded in the skin
- Your wound that stays open when the skin is relaxed
- You see signs of infection such as swelling, pus oozing from the wound, or a fever
- Your wound is not healing with first aid treatment
Types of Road Rash Treatment
Medical professionals assess your road rash by conducting a physical examination. If doctors believe the injury goes below the skin, such as a fracture or objects embedded under your skin, they might take X-rays.
Professionals can clean the wound to prevent infections. You might need to receive a tetanus shot as well. Because road rash is a friction burn, treatment is often similar to that of other types of burns and might primarily aim to minimize scarring and prevent complications.
If an infection develops, you will need treatment for that condition as well. This can be as simple as taking antibiotics, but also might require hospitalization for more serious infections.
All road rash victims should closely watch for signs of infection:
- Pus coming from the wound
- Swelling and redness getting worse instead of improving
- The skin around the wound feels unusually warm
- Bad odors emitting from the wound
- Wounds that do not heal even with treatment
- Dark or red streaks spreading from the wound under your skin
If you experience any of the above, alert a medical professional immediately so you can begin treatment for the infection.
Serious cases of road rash can result in a tightening of the skin, which can lead to mobility restrictions. Part of your treatment should focus on minimizing scarring and regaining movement abilities in the affected parts of the body. This can include physical and occupational therapy for weeks or months after your wounds heal. If you do have serious scarring, you might need scar revision surgery.
Financial Recovery for Road Rash
Medical bills for road rash can add up quickly due to:
- Emergency room or urgent care visits
- Doctor’s visits
- Medical supplies
- Pain management
- Rehabilitative therapy
- Plastic surgery
In addition, bad cases of road rash can keep you out of work while your wounds heal, resulting in lost income. Compensable losses also might include permanent scarring and disfigurement or pain and suffering, among others.
If another party caused your motorcycle crash and road rash, you have the right to seek compensation for all of your financial and non-economic losses by filing an insurance claim or a motorcycle accident lawsuit against responsible parties.
Some causes of motorcycle accidents that might lead to an injury claim include:
- Driver negligence – Driving errors are often the cause of motorcycle crashes, especially distracted driving, impaired driving, improper lane changes, running red lights, and speeding.
- Defective motorcycles – Motorcycle manufacturers can sometimes sell bikes with inherent defects that cause riders to lose control and crash. These can include defective tires, brakes, acceleration and steering systems, and more.
- Road hazards – If a road hazard goes unchecked or unrepaired, it can pose a dangerous threat to motorcyclists. Potholes, large cracks, debris left in the roadway by construction crews, and other hazards can cause a motorcycle accident.
If you believe that someone else caused the accident that led to your road rash, you should not wait to consult with a motorcycle accident lawyer. The right attorney can assess liability for your injuries and take the steps necessary to seek full compensation on your behalf. Having legal representation not only improves your chances of a full financial recovery but also lets you focus on your treatment and returning to health.