Road Rash: Pain and Punishment

One of the most painful injuries in a motorcycle accident is the dreaded “road rash“!

new jersey motorcycle accident road rashUnless you’ve received this gift from the pavement that keeps on giving, you might think of it as a less-than serious injury.

Road rash, which results from the pavement peeling away layers of your skin, can not only be painful but it can be a serious risk to your health when you consider the nasty infections that can result.

As a New Jersey motorcycle accident lawyer for more than two decades, I can attest: road rash is no joke, and it certainly isn’t something you want to find out about first hand.

Unfortunately, road rash is one of the most common motorcycle accident injuries you can sustain in an accident.

Road rash results when a biker or passenger is either thrown from or pinned under their cycle and slides across the pavement.

Even at low speeds, if your body skids or slides across the pavement it acts like sandpaper against your clothes, tearing and shredding the fabric until your body is exposed. At that point, the irreversible damage begins: abrading the skin and exposing raw nerves, and in some accidents, even exposes your muscles and bones.

When you fall with your bike the momentum doesn’t stop as you hit the pavement and your body pays the price until that momentum stops. Your shins, knees, hips, shoulders, back, arms and even the palms of your hands are the most common body parts to fall victim to road rash.

Three Degrees of Road Rash

Road rash injuries are classified by the medical and legal professions into three categories as indication of the seriousness of injury:

First Degree Road Rash – Similar to a severe carpet burn, the skin becomes red and mildly inflamed. This usually does not require professional medical treatment.

Second Degree Road Rash – The outermost layer of skin is broken, while the underlying tissue remains intact at this degree of injury. There is a risk of scarring with a second degree road rash accident, but this is typically minimal if treated properly.

Third Degree Road Rash – Third degree road rash is when all five layers of your skin have been removed – down to the fat, or deeper. These injuries are very susceptible to infection, and require immediate medical attention.

Road Rash Treatment

Wash dirt and debris from first and second degree injury as quickly as possible to help avoid infection. Gently clean the wound with soap and water. Blot it dry with a towel – do not scrub the injury as this increases your risk of scarring.

First degree road rash is usually treated with over the counter products.

Before bandaging your rash, apply an antibacterial ointment, as well as a product like Tagaderm to help it heal more quickly. To reduce the chance of infection change your bandages every couple of days. Seek medical attention if you suspect an infection is starting.

Do not forget to document your injuries with photo evidence so your New Jersey motorcycle attorney can use it in settlement discussions.

For second degree road rash, if you do not seek medical attention immediately, you risk the possibility of permanent muscle and tissue damage, or even a life-threatening infection.

Third degree road rash should always be addressed by a medical professional. It may even require hospitalization, surgery, and physical therapy. This will minimize the scarring and help you to heal the best you can.

Unavoidable Pain

Unfortunately one of the worst aspects of a road rash injury, the pain, cannot really be eliminated by a doctor. Medical professionals can wrap your road rash in gauze, salve the wounds to prevent infection and can provide pain medication to help reduce the pain.

The fact of the matter is, if you have a serious road rash injury, you going to prove the theory that bikers are tough. You will be facing a long and fairly painful recovery, where even everyday tasks like walking or dressing provide agonizing pain.

Protecting Yourself from Road Rash

So how can you protect yourself against one of the most painful motorcycle accident injuries that can result in serious, permanent disfigurement?

Obviously the most effective method of preventing road rash is to ride as safely as possible.

Beyond that, wearing protective gear and heavy clothing provide some protection, but if you slide at highway speeds, you are likely in for some degree of road rash injury. A good helmet is necessary to keep your face and head from sustaining permanent disfigurement.

Motorcycle “leathers” are made to help prevent road rash. Many include high density impact armor in strategic places such as elbows and shoulders and knees. Some motorcycle leggings (chaps and pants) and full body suits include melt resistant material on lower leg areas.

I suggest you take advantage of apparel technologies and get yourself as much protection as you can. Let the pavement gnaw at the leather, not your skin!

When the weather is warm, it is tempting to forego the heavy fabrics and leather. If you choose to do so, be extra cautious and keep your speed to a minimum in order to avoid accidents and road rash.

Hiring an Attorney to Seek Compensation

As with any serious motorcycle injury, hiring an experienced motorcycle attorney to get compensation for road rash is a smart move. Compensation may include recovery of medical expenses as well as pain and suffering for life threatening road rash.

If you end up in the hospital and miss work, as your motorcycle attorney I will fight to recover lost wages as well.

Consulting a New Jersey motorcycle lawyer is free, completely confidential, and you are under no obligation to take further action.

For your free consultation, call the law office of Lee D. Gaber at 1-888-292-5352 as soon as possible after your injury and we’ll review your case and advise you of your options.