Florida consistently ranks in the top three for motorcycle accident deaths. (FDOT, Motorcycle Safety). One of the most common injuries that can occur in a motorcycle crash is road rash.
Road rash is a painful and potentially life-threatening injury. Victims need to know how to identify and treat it. They should know when they can claim compensation for road rash.
Our Pensacola motorcycle accident lawyers represent motorcycle crash victims. Today, we discuss the three degrees of road rash.
Understanding Road Rash
What is road rash?
Road rash is an injury to the skin that results from being dragged against the road or the ground in a crash. It is a type of burn or abrasion.
When a motorcyclist is in a crash, they’re likely to be thrown from their vehicle. The person may be thrown along the road, gravel, grass, or another surface for a significant length. The amount of force from such an accident can cause multiple severe abrasions due to the friction produced while sliding across such a surface.
The resulting abrasion is called road rash. It is an open wound where the skin is rubbed away by friction. It is an injury that can be painful, debilitating, disfiguring, and even life-threatening.
Is road rash considered a burn?
A burn occurs when tissue is exposed to a heat source, whether flame, radiation, chemical, friction, or sun exposure. Since road rash is caused by friction, it can be considered a burn. In addition to a burn, road rash can be considered an abrasion, which is a superficial injury to the skin caused by the disconnection of tissue. (NIH, Abrasion).
What Are the Different Degrees of Road Rash?
There are three different degrees of road rash, with the first degree being the least severe and the third degree being the most serious. Medical professionals determine the degree, which depends on the extent to which the skin is damaged, the associated pain, and the level of infection risk.
First degree road rash
First degree road rash is a small or minor scrape. It is likely to be tender. Only the top layer of skin is affected, so if there is bleeding, it is minimal. While injuries are minor, there is still a risk of infection. The injured victim should be able to treat the wounds with proper cleaning, wound dressing, and rest.
Second degree road rash
With second degree road rash, the skin is cut deeper than with a first degree injury. When the skin is broken through at least the first two layers, road rash has reached at least the second degree. There is more likely to be significant pain and tenderness. Bleeding may occur.
Third degree road rash
Third degree road rash is a severe tearing of the skin. The skin is pulled away to the extent that layers of muscle, tissue, skin, tendons, and fat may be exposed. Usually, the victim experiences severe pain. Infection is a serious risk, and surgery may be needed to help the skin heal. The victim faces a significant risk of scarring.
Can road rash cause permanent damage?
Yes, road rash can cause permanent damage. When it does not heal properly, road rash can cause scars and disfigurement. Infection from road rash can make a person seriously ill and can even be life-threatening.
Treating Road Rash
How long does motorcycle road rash take to heal?
How long road rash takes to heal depends on multiple factors:
- How serious the road rash is. The less severe, the faster it will heal.
- Whether the person receives proper care for their injuries, including wound dressing.
- Avoiding additional injury.
- The person’s individual characteristics and abilities to heal.
- Whether the person receives adequate nutrition, sleep, and hydration. The ability to address emotional stress during healing.
There are many things that impact a person’s ability to heal from road rash. Victims should do their best to address the things they can control as they make progress toward healing.
How do you treat road rash?
Treatment for road rash should depend on its severity. It may include:
- Professional wound cleaning to remove debris and particles
- Surgery to repair the skin as much as possible
- Cleaning the wound with soap and lukewarm water
- Dressing the wound with a bandage and antibiotic ointment
- Changing dressing, including changing bandages as needed
- Pain management, which typically includes over-the-counter medication
- Management for itching and dry skin as the skin heals
- Continued monitoring for signs of infection
- A tetanus shot or booster to prevent a serious infection
All road rash should be taken seriously. Medical care providers should provide instructions for at-home care. The instructions should be carefully followed.
(WebMD, What to Know About Road Rash).
Is it common for road rash to swell up?
Swelling is a common reaction to road rash. Although some swelling is expected, infection is a serious risk that should be treated immediately. Victims must be careful to treat their wounds appropriately and watch for signs of infection.
What is traumatic tattooing?
Despite its name, traumatic tattooing has nothing to do with getting a tattoo. A traumatic tattoo occurs when foreign matter gets embedded in the skin. In a motorcycle crash, this can consist of gravel, glass, vehicle parts, clothing, other natural elements, and objects.
When this debris becomes embedded, it can create a permanent marking and modify the body’s appearance. Professional wound care to find and remove these particles can minimize the appearance of traumatic tattooing.
Road Rash Motorcycle Accident Compensation in Florida
Road rash is a serious injury that can result from a motorcycle accident. Florida law allows victims to claim third-party compensation when injuries are permanent or disfiguring.
Our experienced motorcycle injury attorneys at Stevenson Klotz Injury Lawyers in Pensacola can help you determine whether your injury qualifies and build the evidence to prove your right to compensation. They can identify the additional value to claim for pain and suffering, and emotional anguish.
If you have suffered from road rash in a motorcycle accident, don’t settle for less than you deserve. Work with our law firm to bring your claim, including economic and non-economic damages that you may claim from road rash.
Contact us for a consultation and start your case today.