A motorcycle accident can cause serious injuries, including road rash. This injury is particularly common if you don’t wear leather or armored pants or a jacket.
Road rash is essentially caused by friction burns, which can be extremely painful, and, if proper treatment isn’t provided, can cause serious infections and long-term problems.
If another driver or issue caused your accident, it’s smart to contact a West Palm injury lawyer from Fetterman Law to learn about your options to pursue compensation. However, a priority when dealing with a road rash injury is to get medical treatment and learn how to care for the wound until it heals.
Understanding the Two Types of Road Rash Injuries
Road rash is an umbrella term that can mean several injuries a person can experience if their body hits gravel or asphalt in a motorcycle accident. Doctors have highlighted two different types of road rash injuries, which include:
An avulsion injury is a common injury that occurs in motorcycle wrecks. Your skin is peeled back from your body as it scrapes across the road. In some situations, avulsion injuries expose both the fat and muscle. In extreme cases, they may leave exposed bone.
A surface abrasion won’t penetrate the skin. In this situation, the injury is mostly superficial and will heal quickly within a few weeks. Also, they don’t usually require medical attention.
For more severe avulsion injuries, if several layers of skin have been damaged or if the muscles and bones are exposed, reconstructive surgery, including skin grafts, will likely be necessary.
A compression injury occurs when the limbs or body is crushed between two objects. In cases of motorcycle accidents, victims who experience compression injuries are typically crushed between the motorcycle and the road (or sometimes another vehicle), which can cause fractures, muscle damage, and bruising.
Compression injuries are usually always severe and will likely dictate immediate medical treatment. The victim will also likely require ongoing medical care and treatment for months or longer.
If a motorcycle accident victim experiences cases of severe road rash, it may result in thousands of dollars (or more) in medical costs for treatment. These bills can put a huge financial strain on the victim, and they may be unable to work while they heal.
Avulsion and compression injuries don’t just result in pain for an accident victim. There are often several other damages that they must endure, which can cause uncertainty and stress. Because of this, it is wise to utilize the services of a West Palm bike lawyer if you find yourself in this situation.
Degrees of Road Rash
Doctors and other medical professionals use different degrees to evaluate the various levels of road rash injuries. The way these are categorized is like how burn injuries are categorized.
The degrees for road rash injuries include:
First Degree Road Rash
This type of road rash injury is superficial. This means it does not penetrate below the uppermost layer of skin. If this type of injury occurs, it will likely cause red, tender skin for a short amount of time after the accident. Usually, these injuries heal completely without leaving a scar.
In most cases, the only time that first-degree road rash injuries will require treatment is if it covers a large part of the body. Treating these injuries at home using basic first aid and cleaning the damaged skin well is possible. It’s also good to apply a medicated ointment to the area and cover it with bandages to keep dust, dirt, and debris (which could lead to an infection) out.
Second-Degree Road Rash
The main difference between first- and second-degree road rash is that second-degree injuries break the top layer of skin and cause damage to the second lawyer. The layers are called the dermis and epidermis.
These wounds probably won’t leave scars if it is cleaned and cared for properly.
Third-Degree Road Rash
If you have a third-degree road rash, it means your skin has been sheared off. The area affected may experience significant swelling and bleeding and have a shiny or milky look. The wound may cover a larger part of your body and expose nerves, tendons, your muscles, or bone.
It’s best to avoid touching this wound. It is more susceptible to infection than other types of road rash injuries. You should also seek medical attention immediately.
Tips for Treating Road Rash at Home
As stated above, road rash is common in motorcycle accidents. Even a small accident can result in skin being scraped across the road’s surface. Motorcyclists should have a quality first aid kit that includes everything necessary to treat minor cases of road rash.
Some of the items to have in this at-home treatment kit include:
- First-aid quality cleaning solution containing some pain-relieving ingredients, including brulidine or lidocaine. You can use soap and water if you don’t have this cleaning solution available.
- Non-adherent dressings you can use to cover the wound. Even minor cases of road rash can ooze for a few days. Be sure to use some type of tape to secure the dressing, or you can tie them in place using a piece of cloth.
- A wrap to put over your wound to capture drainage and protect it from contact with bacteria, moisture, or clothing.
- Storage bags to keep your supplies clean or to hold ice for an ice pack, which helps alleviate the swelling.
- A small knife or scissors to cut your bandages the proper size.
- Tweezers to remove small debris from the wounded area when you clean it.
Before you clean any wound, you must wash your hands to ensure you don’t get any bacteria into them. Also, with your tweezers, consider removing debris, like grass and pebbles.
Wash your wound carefully and gently. Never scrub since this can result in pain, bleeding, and more damage to the area. After it is clean, apply an antibiotic ointment (in a thin layer) to help you prevent infection.
Be sure to keep the wound covered and change the dressings twice daily. If the bandage becomes dirty or wet, it should also be changed. Be sure to keep the wound covered until it is healed and watch for signs of an infection, indicating additional medical care and treatment is necessary.
Potential Complications Related to Road Rash Injuries
The most serious (and common) complication of road rash injuries is infection. If bacteria get into the wound, they can cause several types of infections, including:
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is a type of staph infection that is more challenging to treat than other types of staph because it’s resistant to the most common antibiotics. Even though MRSA usually occurs in minor skin infections, like abscesses or boils, if it gets into a wound, it can cause more serious problems. MRSA may also get into your bloodstream, which can cause life-threatening organ damage.
Also called lockjaw, this is an infection caused by contact with any surface contaminated by Clostridium tetani (a type of bacteria). The risk of tetanus increases if bacteria enter the body through any open wound (including road rash). Even though this infection is potentially fatal, it’s preventable if you get the vaccine. If a doctor sees you for your wound, you will probably be given a tetanus shot (as a preventative step) if you have not received one in the past decade.
This infection in the bloodstream can be caused by minor infections that spread throughout the bloodstream and into different parts of the body. It’s usually a condition that will respond to the use of antibiotics. However, in other situations, it can cause septic shock. Signs of this include a rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, altered mental status, and the need for a ventilator to help the affected person breathe. Usually, cases of septic shock are treated in the ICU (intensive care unit) with medication and IV fluids. While this condition is rare, it’s also potentially lethal.
Signs Your Road Rash Wound Is Infected
There are a few indications you can watch for that indicate your road rash wound is infected:
- Pain that increases after the first day
- Increased redness and swelling
- A warmth that emanates from the wounded area
- Fluid or pus coming out of the wound
- A bad smell coming from the wound
- Flu-like symptoms including body aches, chills, and fever
Another complication that you may experience from a road rash injury is scarring. This depends on the wound’s severity. However, the scarring that occurs can be significant and similar to what you would experience with a serious burn.
Similar to with burns, the scarring that occurs because of road rash may be treated using skin grafts. This surgical procedure replaces scarred skin with healthy skin taken from a different part of your body. The most common sites the skin is taken from including the inner thigh and buttocks; however, surgeons can also get the skin from the abdomen, back, or upper arm.
Your Rights After a Road Rash Injury
If you experienced a road rash injury in a motorcycle accident caused by another party, contact a West Palm Beach car accident lawyer at Fetterman Law Our legal team will investigate the accident, gather evidence, and work to help you secure the maximum amount of compensation possible for your case. Our team fights aggressively for our clients, and you can count on us to provide you with this same quality representation throughout your legal case.