A motorcycle accident can be devastating and lead to many physical and mental complications. Victims can sustain several types of injuries from motorcycle accidents and significant medical expenses. After a crash, an injured victim may wonder what to do next regarding treatment and compensation. Road rash is one of the most common injuries a motorcyclist can experience after being struck by another vehicle in a collision. If you have suffered road rash in a motorcycle accident, a motorcycle accident lawyer can help you in a number of important ways.
How Can Driver Negligence Lead to Motorcycle Accidents?
While any form of negligence can lead to crashes, three common forms of driver negligence are particularly likely to result in serious motorcycle accidents: distracted driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and violating traffic laws.
Distracted driving is a critical mistake many drivers make on the road. As with bicyclists, motorcyclists are sometimes difficult to see because of their size (and the bike’s color and the rider’s gear if it’s nighttime). If a driver is not giving the road their full attention and watching out for motorcyclists, it significantly increases the risk of a serious accident.
Distracted driving comes in many forms, like eating and drinking, texting on the phone or surfing through social media, talking to a passenger, or reaching over to grab something that fell. Drivers may not realize they are driving distracted as they begin to daydream and look at their surroundings. A few seconds of distracted driving can lead to them crashing into a motorcyclist they never even realized was there.
Driving under the influence is a serious mistake that can ruin a person’s career and the lives of those around them. Drunk driving or driving while drugged can easily lead to a motorcycle accident because alcohol affects a person’s judgment, reaction time, and vision. In addition, drunk drivers have impaired concentration and less effective balance and coordination. All these issues can result in accidents that can cause severe injuries or even death for a motorcyclist.
Traffic violations are another reason for the thousands of motorcycle accidents occurring yearly. Traffic laws are put in place to protect everyone’s lives while on the road, but that doesn’t stop many irresponsible drivers from breaking them. When other drivers engage in violations like speeding, illegal turns, and running stop lights and stop signs, it can result in serious, injury-causing motorcycle accidents.
What is Road Rash?
Road rash is a type of friction burn where the skin gets partially or entirely scraped off. It can be a severely painful injury, as it usually occurs from scraping the delicate skin on hard, tarred surfaces, like an asphalt road. It can range from mild to severe, and according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), almost 90 percent of all motorcycle injuries lead to road rash.
The affected area will appear inflamed and red and can bleed. The pain and swelling can last a few days to a few weeks, depending on the severity of the rash and accident. These injuries are more common during the spring and summer when the weather and roads have more favorable conditions for motorcycle riding. The improved weather also leads to more drivers out and enjoying the weather, which increases the chances of a motorcyclist getting struck.
Several different factors affect how severe the road rash is going to be, like:
- Weather and seasonal road conditions
- Type and amount of protective equipment on at the time
- Distance of the slide (i.e., how far did the motorcyclist go?)
- Type and hardness of the tarred surface
- Initial speed
- The speed at which skin makes contact with the tarred surface
What Are Types of Road Rash?
The term road rash is general, but in reality, three types of injuries fall under this umbrella: avulsions, open wounds, and compression injuries.
An avulsion rash is the most common type, consisting of the exposed lower layers of fat, muscle, and bone. This injury occurs when the top layer of the skin gets scraped off due to friction.
An open-wound road rash is when the skin tissue gets torn. In most cases, an open-wound rash will require stitches so that the skin can heal back together again. Depending on the severity of the open wound, the individual might need to undergo a skin graft. Skin grafting is when the skin from another part of the body gets surgically transplanted onto the open wound, and it often requires general anesthesia and significant recovery time.
A compression road rash occurs when a part of the body is caught between two things in motorcycle accidents, usually between the bike and the road. These injuries can lead to extreme bruising, muscle damage, and broken bones that may require months of rehabilitation.
Like other types of burns, road rash diagnoses can vary. Minor road rash occurs only on the outer layer of the skin. It consists of minor scrapes and scratches and can cause temporary scabbing. It will appear visibly red and may not require ongoing medical treatment beyond the initial medical care.
More serious cases of road rash involve an additional layer of the skin, known as the epidermis, being torn. A deep laceration can occur, increasing the risk of infection, so a medical professional should always clean and examine it. Ongoing treatment might be necessary to minimize scarring and continue to monitor for complications.
The most severe types of road rash affect the second layer of the skin, called the dermis. It gets peeled away, possibly exposing the fat, muscle layers, and bones. With this type of road rash, the individual will almost always require extensive medical attention and might need skin grafts or reconstructive surgery.
Serious road rash can cause scarring and disfigurement to victims. This can cause additional pain and suffering, especially if the scarring is significant and visible to the public, such as on the face.
- Severe damage to the nerves, leading to numbness in the road rash area
- Torn muscles that will require a long time of healing and physical therapy
- Tendon injuries
- Scarring and disfigurement that may require reconstructive surgery
- Pitted edema can interfere with blood circulation and, if severe enough, can damage surrounding organs and interrupt their functions.
How Are Road Rash Injuries Treated?
Depending on the severity of the road rash, the injured motorcyclist may need different forms of treatment to ensure that no complications emerge from the wound. No immediate medical treatment is typically needed if they consist of minor scrapes and scratches. Nevertheless, it is always a good idea to see a medical professional after any type of accident.
What Goes into a Road Rash Injury Compensation?
Aside from the costly medical bills that are sure to come from severe road rash, there are other things to consider regarding damages after a motorcycle accident and road rash occur.
When a severe road rash is involved, a motorcyclist might be unable to return to their job, resulting in a loss of wages. In many cases, not working will result in lost income. In addition, if there are any permanent issues related to the accident, a motorcyclist may experience a loss of future earning potential.
A motorcycle accident can also bring about a great deal of mental, emotional, and physical damage. Road rash can result in disfigurement and permanent scarring. This treatment can bring costly medical bills because of long weeks or months of recuperating from reconstructive surgeries and the physical therapy needed if any broken bones result from the accident.
Many times, the physical and mental pain and suffering associated with a motorcycle accident can far outweigh the financial costs, as the scarring is something the individual will have to live with forever. A claim’s value will depend on several factors, such as the damage the individual suffered, how the injury impacted their life, the location and size of the road rash, and whether they sustained any disfigurement.
Because every situation is very different, it is hard to determine the exact amount of how much compensation will be worth. Fortunately, an attorney can help victims determine whether they have a claim and, if they do, how much their claim may be worth.
What Are the Next Steps?
A road rash victim from a motorcycle accident caused by irresponsible drivers will face significant medical bills and many arduous months of recovery ahead. With fewer wages earned because they can’t go to their job, victims can often find themselves in a troublesome situation that affects them and their loved ones.
After a motorcycle accident occurs and road rash is sustained, the liable party and their insurance company will do everything possible to minimize the victim’s losses or make it seem that the motorcyclist was at fault. They want to try their best to avoid paying the injured party’s claim, and they will question the situation’s severity to justify paying less. After an accident, it is best to avoid speaking to the other party or their insurance company until you have spoken to an attorney.
How Can a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Help?
There are many ways that a motorcycle accident lawyer can help victims after an injury-causing crash. A skilled attorney can answer all the questions the injured party may have regarding this type of claim. They will quickly investigate the incident and determine whether the victim has a viable claim.
In some cases, they will contact experts, such as medical professionals and accident reconstructionists, to help demonstrate the extent of the injured party’s damages. A motorcycle accident attorney will fight for a fair settlement and the maximum compensation the victim deserves to recover from their road rash without bearing the weight of worrying about their finances.
How Much Does a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Cost?
After a motorcycle accident resulting in road rash, you may be concerned about how much it will cost to retain an attorney. In light of unexpected medical expenses, lost income, and other costs, you may be thinking that the best course of action is to handle your case on your own.
Fortunately, almost all personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means that any legal fees they collect depend on you obtaining compensation for your injuries. In other words, you can go consult with an attorney, retain that attorney, and have them represent you without having to spend any money up-front.
If your lawyer successfully obtains compensation on your behalf, they will take a pre-agreed-upon percentage of your total recovery as their fee. If you do not get any compensation, you will not owe your lawyer anything.
Call a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
Road rash is a serious injury that should receive treated immediately after a motorcycle crash. In many cases, it can lead to significant, life-changing losses.
If you sustained road rash in an accident, you should speak with an experienced and compassionate motorcycle accident lawyer about your injuries. You may deserve compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, physical and emotional pain and suffering, and any other losses you suffered. The best way to protect your rights is to speak to a motorcycle accident lawyer today.