Motorcycle riders know all too well the risks of road rash that come from being in an accident.
But this painful skin injury can pose more significant dangers than victims may initially realize, requiring potentially extensive and costly medical treatments.
If you’ve been in a motorcycle accident involving road rash, having experienced legal counsel working on your behalf will increase the chances of winning the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Reach out to Aramjoo Law Firm’s motorcycle accident lawyers in Kansas City, MO, to learn more.
How Road Rash Happens
Road rash is a serious abrasion caused by the friction that occurs when the skin comes in contact with a hard surface. That surface is typically asphalt when a motorcycle is to blame for the road rash. The top layer of skin is essentially rubbed off, leaving a raw and exposed deeper level of skin. Road rash usually affects the outermost layer, known as the epidermis, but it can go deeper and affect the dermis.
Any type of motorcycle accident can cause a rider or passenger to fall off the vehicle and make contact with the road surface. The victim will often slide along the surface of the road and have his or her top skin layers removed. Road surfaces are extremely harsh, so it doesn’t take high velocity to cause road rash. The injury is even more likely if the motorcyclist is not wearing protective clothing. If the asphalt is hot, the victim may experience the added injury of severe burns.
Degrees of Road Rash
Road rash falls into one of three degrees, each one requiring somewhat different necessary medical treatments. The road rash degrees are:
First-degree road rash
This is a relatively mild injury to the superficial layer of skin that results in scrapes, cuts, minor bleeding, and reddening. Victims who suffer this level of road rash can usually successfully treat it at home with first aid. Proper treatment involves cleaning the affected area, applying antibiotic ointment to it, and covering it with a clean bandage to protect the skin.
Second-degree road rash
More serious injuries that break the skin but fail to reach deeper tissue are usually indicative of second-degree road rash. The victim may experience any combination of redness, pain, and bleeding, all of which may require extensive medical treatment. In the long term, the victim will typically recover without permanent scarring.
Third-degree road rash
A third-degree road rash injury is quite serious and can be physically debilitating for the injured motorcycle rider or passenger. Victims experience almost total skin loss in the affected area, exposing deep tissue fat, muscle, cartilage, and sometimes bone. Immediate medical attention is required to prevent or minimize more severe medical issues.
Possible Complications From Road Rash Injuries
The worst cases of road rash cause the muscle tissue in the damaged area to pull away from the bone. This will require intense medical treatment to properly heal the injury. Third-degree road rash can lead to such complications as:
- Septic shock
- Nerve damage
- Scarring (even after skin grafts)
Regardless of how severe or minor you believe the injury is, seeking prompt medical attention is critical to protecting your health. You should see an emergency doctor or your primary care physician as soon after the accident as possible. Follow all prescribed medical treatments and attend follow-up appointments with your doctor.
Your physician will also document your injuries, explain their likely prognosis, and give you an idea of which treatments you will need in the future. This information will prove useful when it comes time to demand compensation from the party that caused your motorcycle accident.
Motorcycle Road Rash Treatments
The exact treatments you will need for your road rash will depend on the degree of injury and whether other injuries, like burning from hot asphalt, are present. For instance, you may only need at-home first aid treatment like that mentioned above for a first-degree injury. A more serious road rash could require skin graft surgery, plastic surgery, and stitches.
After suffering a road rash injury, remove the clothing to prevent further injury to the skin. Clean the wound, especially to remove dirt and other foreign objects. Apply an antibiotic as a first aid treatment to prevent infection, after which you should seek medical attention for further instructions and assistance.
If any of the following are present, go to an emergency room right away:
- Severe pain lasting longer than two hours after first aid is administered
- Fluid production, which may be evidence of infection
- Warmth, redness, or a bad odor around the affected area
- Signs of shock including confusion, nausea, vomiting, and paleness
Emergency room or hospital staff may ask for a blood or urine sample to determine whether you have infection. This is a necessary motorcycle road rash treatment that should be administered relatively early.
Once any immediate medical dangers are stabilized, you may need occupational therapy to help you regain sensation and movement in your injured limbs.
How to Get Compensation for a Road Rash Injury
If you’ve been injured in any kind of motorcycle accident, including one involving road rash, you may need compensation to pay for:
- Medical bills such as hospitalization, skin graft surgery, amputation, prescription medication, and more
- Lost wages from time spent recovering from your injuries
- Lost income-earning capacity if you are unable to work at your previous level of productivity
- Pain and suffering
- Psychological treatment to handle anxiety and depression stemming from scarring, disfigurement, and the shock of the accident
The victim must show that the at-fault party, usually a motorist, engaged in some form of negligence that directly caused the above and other losses. Negligence is essentially any act or omission that breaches the motorist’s duty of driving his or her automobile safely. For instance, drunk driving, speeding, and texting while driving are negligent behaviors that can cause a motorcycle accident resulting in road rash.
Your attorney will investigate the circumstances surrounding the accident to determine who was at fault and why and then get to work building a case. If possible, your lawyer will negotiate a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Otherwise, it will be necessary to take your case to court.
Suffered Road Rash? Contact Our Kansas City, MO Road Rash Injury Attorneys
Road rash injuries are serious, and the victim deserves serious legal representation to win the compensation needed to pay for medical treatments and other damages. If you or a loved one were in a motorcycle accident caused by someone’s negligent conduct, give Aramjoo Law Firm in Kansas City a call or use our online form. We can schedule your initial consultation today.