Motorcycle accidents can cause a variety of significant injuries such as dismemberment and fractures. But another type of injury that can be just as devastating is road rash. In severe cases it can be compared to third-degree burns.
How Road Rash Occurs in Motorcycle Accidents
Whether a motorcyclist gets flipped from the bike or skids with it, when the body makes contact with the pavement, there is risk of suffering severe abrasions called road rash. These injuries can range from mild to severe.
Not wearing protective clothing can increase risk of this injury. A full face shield can prevent injuries to the face and neck. A heavy jacket could protect the upper torso and limbs, and long pants and boots can protect the lower torso and limbs. Even if clothing doesn’t completely prevent road rash, it at least may reduce injury severity.
Road rash is also more likely to occur when the body travels a great distance across the pavement. If a motorcyclist lands on the ground with minimal sliding, abrasions are more likely to be minor. But traveling a longer distance across the pavement could cause substantial injuries.
Types of Road Rash Injuries
Minor road rash injuries include scrapes and cuts that affect only the outer layer of skin. More serious ones may require stitches. But another issue that could impact injuries is the type of pavement the body skids across. If there is gravel, these tiny, loose stones could become embedded in the skin and tissue, requiring a medical professional to remove them.
The most severe type is a third-degree road rash injury. Flesh can actually be torn away, exposing tissue and bones. This increases the risk of infection, and there is the potential to lose a great amount of blood.
When open wounds are significant, it can cause internal damage, such as severing tendons. Many other complications can accompany a severe road rash injury, necessitating surgery, blood transfusions and other serious medical procedures.
Treating Road Rash
Treatment of a road rash injury depends on the severity. Minor abrasions typically require nothing more than a good antiseptic cleansing and home care. But with a severe injury, treatment may include skin debridement and skin grafts.
Skin debridement can be done a variety of ways. A third-degree road rash most likely would require surgery. Any dead tissue is cut and removed. The wound is washed out and instruments (such as forceps, scissors and scalpels) are used to remove foreign debris.
A skin graft is performed in order to remove dead skin from the top two layers (epidermis and dermis), replacing it with healthy skin. This usually comes from another part of the body.
However, a full-thickness skin graft is required when the wound is deeper. If the damage goes beyond the two layers of skin, this complicated procedure involves not only transplanting a flap of skin from the donor site, but also replenishing blood supply and muscles. Both are painful procedures that come with risks.
Treatment may include antibiotics for infection and medication to relieve pain. Recovery can be extensive, and unfortunately, some victims live with chronic pain. Of course, patients should always discuss treatment and ongoing care with their doctors.
Contact Gacovino, Lake & Associates for Legal Help after an Accident
If another driver caused your motorcycle accident and resulting road rash and other injuries, an attorney can help you pursue legal action. Contact Gacovino, Lake & Associates at (800) 246-4878 to set up a consultation where you may discuss the details of your case and the types of damages you can pursue.