Road rash is a painful injury often resulting from motorcycle accidents. It occurs when the skin of a motorcyclist contacts the road surface, causing the scraping away of the skin. The injury essentially leaves raw exposed skin, similar to what occurs when the skin is burned by fire. The damage from road rash can extend deep below the tissue in some cases, even to the muscles and bones.
Road rash can occur through clothing in addition to when the skin is exposed bare to the ground. Although a large percentage of road crash cases occur in motorcycle accidents, motor vehicle passengers, skateboarders, and bicyclists can also suffer road rash injuries.
Mild, moderate, and severe road rash
Mild road rash injuries, similar to first-degree burn injuries, typically require only minimal care. Most of these injuries heal on their own after a few weeks. They often involve little to no breaking of the skin. You should have a physician look at the injury if you have any concerns about shrapnel or infection, but it can often be treated by cleaning the injured area and keeping it clean, hydrated, and covered to facilitate healing.
Moderate road rash can cause significant bleeding and scarring. It is important not to touch any scabs that develop on these areas so the wounds can seal up and heal. The scabs should fall off as part of the healing process. As with mild road rash, it is important to keep a moderate road rash injury clean and hydrated while the wound heals. With this type of injury, a doctor should professionally inspect, clean, and dress the wound and also show you how to properly change bandages and care for the injury.
Severe road rash injuries occur when the top layers of the victim’s skin are removed, revealing underlying tissue, muscle, and at times, bones. This serious injury has the potential to cause shock to the injured rider and requires immediate medical attention. The process of recovery from severe road rash may involve a long hospital stay and skin grafts.
Potential road rash complications
Infection is one of the most serious potential complications of a road rash injury. As the skin scrapes along the pavement, materials on the surface of the roadways such as dirt and germs can infiltrate the newly created wounds. Gravel from the roadway may become embedded in the flesh as well. These contaminants, if not properly cleaned from the wound, may enter the bloodstream and cause infection.
As the wound is healing, in order to prevent infection, it is important for the victim or others to keep the wound clean, making sure it is covered properly, with the bandages also changed on a regular basis. As an injured road rash victim, you may receive prescribed medicated ointment from your doctor that serves to keep the wound moist and protect it from infection.
Scarring is another complication that often arises from road rash. Permanent disfigurement and problems with mobility can result from scarring. For example, road rash on the legs, arms, and other parts of the body can inhibit normal flexibility and range of motion resulting from the tightness of the scarred region. In addition, if road rash occurs on the victim’s face, it may be difficult for the victim to eat or exhibit facial expressions due to the rigidness of the regrown skin or the application of skin grafts. Some road rash victims who suffer disfigurement can also end up dealing with emotional/mental difficulties, everything from depression to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
If you have sustained a road rash injury while riding a motorcycle or traveling in any other type of vehicle, and the accident was caused by the negligence of another party, we are here to help. Our motorcycle accident attorneys at Martin & Helms are committed to fighting on your behalf to hold the liable party accountable and fight against any resistance from the insurance companies to decrease the level of compensation you deserve for your injuries. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation about your case, give us a call today at 256.539.1990 or complete our contact form. From our offices in Huntsville and Decatur, we serve Athens, Madison, and all of North Alabama.