Motorcycle and bicycle accidents can result in severe injuries, which are often caused by the cyclist’s unprotected body hitting the ground after a collision. One common injury that occurs in this manner is road rash. Road rash is caused by an accident victim’s body skidding or being “dragged” across the ground at a high speed after a crash.
Protective clothing can help reduce injury, but in serious collisions, the clothing can be “burned away” by the friction before it impacts the victim’s skin. Road rash can vary from mild to moderate to critical and may require different levels of medical care. Here are 5 tips for handling road rash after a motorcycle or bicycle accident and how to get legal help if someone else caused the crash.
1. Seek Medical Attention, Even for Minor Abrasions
After a motorcycle or bicycle accident, it’s imperative that you obtain medical care, even if you feel like your injuries are minor. Road rash can often appear minor at first and adrenaline from the accident can cause you to feel less pain initially after the collision.
You may assume that your injuries are minor, only to find out later that they’re more serious than you first thought. If you wait to receive medical attention and file a personal injury lawsuit later, you can be sure that the defendant’s legal team will attempt to use this against you to suggest you weren’t severely hurt.
It’s better to seek medical care and be discharged with minor injuries and peace of mind than to go home and get worse or potentially compromise your legal case because you didn’t go to the doctor in time.
2. Be Prepared for Pain and Discomfort
Road rash is a friction burn, which tends to be a very painful injury. Burns of any kind are extremely uncomfortable, and the deeper the burn is, the more pain it will usually cause. Your doctor may give you pain medication to help with the discomfort or may keep you in the hospital for a few days to help manage your pain while you heal.
3. Avoid Touching Your Wounds as Much as Possible
Burns are highly susceptible to infection no matter what the cause. The skin is the body’s largest organ and its most protective; when you lose layers of this critical barrier in one or more places on your body, those areas are at risk for bacterial overgrowth. An infection in a road rash burn can turn a bad situation worse and result in potentially life-threatening complications like sepsis, a deadly blood infection.
It’s important that you avoid touching your wounds and keep them covered as much as possible. When you change your dressings as directed by your physician, always wash your hands thoroughly first.
4. Understand that Skin Grafting May Be Necessary
In severe cases of road rash, where multiple layers of skin were affected, skin grafting may be necessary. This is a procedure where skin is taken from one area of your body or from a donor and placed on the burn, because the wounded skin is too damaged to regenerate enough to protect that area.
Skin grafting is often needed when road rash goes deeper than the second layer of skin. Full-thickness road rash removes all layers of skin, leaving nothing left to heal. In these cases, grafting is needed to replace the skin entirely. Usually, donor skin is used because the amount of skin required to repair the area is more than can be safely removed from another area of the victim’s body.
5. Know That Scarring May Occur
Unfortunately, road rash can cause severe scarring, even if the burns aren’t very deep. In the case that they are, scarring is almost inevitable. This can be distressing for victims, even after they are fully healed.
Victims who did not have a full-face helmet on and got friction burns on their face may experience disfigurement or permanent scarring on their face for life. In many cases, scarring – especially when it’s in a highly visible place – requires cosmetic surgery. Reconstructive surgery can help reduce the appearance of scarring and reduce the psychological, emotional, and social impact that disfigurement can cause.
Injured in a Motorcycle or Bicycle Accident? Get Legal Help Today
If you or a family member were hurt in a bicycle or motorcycle accident and experienced road rash or another type of serious injury, don’t wait to get help. First, visit your nearest emergency room or urgent care facility. If your collision was serious, you may be taken to the hospital via ambulance without your knowledge and you may wake up in the emergency room or a hospital room much later. Once your condition has stabilized, it’s crucial that you seek immediate legal assistance.
By working with an experienced personal injury attorney, you can pursue the financial restitution that is rightfully owed to you after someone’s negligence causes you to have an accident. If you suffered severe road rash that required skin grafting, plastic surgery, and/or left you with permanent disfigurement, a seasoned lawyer can help you get your medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional pain and suffering compensated.
At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we can help. Contact us today to discuss your case in more detail or to learn more about how a personal injury claim may be able to assist you in recovering financially after a bicycle or motorcycle accident. Call now at (978) 744-8000 or toll free at (855) 693-9084.