When most people think about motorcycle accident injuries, they imagine broken bones and traumatic brain injury as the biggest issues. However, road rash can cause significant complications simply because the skin is the body's largest organ.
About Road Rash
Road rash is a colloquial term used to refer to the scratches, cuts, scrapes, and bruises that occur when skin makes contact with gravel, pavement, concrete, or other road surfaces. Sometimes, this injury is also referred to by avid bikers as road burn.
Road rash typically occurs on the skin that is exposed at the time of the accident. This includes the face and palms, but riders who aren't wearing full protective gear or find themselves dragged long distances after impact can also have road rash on the knees, thighs, and shoulders.
Road rash uses a classification system similar to how burns are evaluated:
- First-degree road rash only affects the first layer of the skin and does not actually break the skin's surface. This is considered a minor injury that can be treated with soap and water, followed by a topical antibiotic ointment and bandages to prevent infection and speed healing. Over-the-counter painkillers can be used to treat the pain from the injury.
- Second-degree road rash breaks the skin's surface but is treated the same way as first- degree road rash unless the cut is deep enough to require stitches. It is important to make sure any road debris is removed from the wound before bandaging. However, scarring typically does not occur.
- Third-degree road rash peels back layers of the skin, so you can see the underlying tissue. Skin grafts and/or reconstructive surgery are often necessary as part of the treatment process. Permanent scarring is a real possibility even after reconstructive surgery. Infection and/or tissue death can occur if treatment is not received promptly.
Road rash that results in scarring can create a loss of motion and flexibility in the affected areas. If the scarring is on the face, the affected person may have trouble eating and making facial expressions. Serious cases of road rash can also be accompanied by muscle damage, nerve damage, and internal bleeding. PTSD and other mental health complications are a possibility, as well.
Compensation for Road Rash After a Motorcycle Accident
Recovery from road rash after a motorcycle accident can be a lengthy and difficult process. If your injuries were caused by someone else's negligence, you can seek compensation for:
- Medical expenses, including emergency care and any necessary follow-up visits
- Loss of wages during the recovery process
- Pain and suffering, which includes compensation for both the physical symptoms of road rash as well as the emotional trauma related to disfiguring scars
You will need to provide copies of your medical bills and a statement from your employer showing your lost wages to appropriately document your damages. If any of your medical expenses have been previously paid by your health insurance provider, the insurance company will have a lien on a portion of the settlement you receive.
How Fault Affects Compensation
If you were partially at fault for the accident that caused your injuries, Louisiana law still allows you to seek personal injury compensation. However, your settlement will be proportionately reduced by your determined percentage of fault to account for your own financial responsibility for your injuries.
Failure to obey the state's helmet law normally makes you partially at fault for your injuries. However, this standard does not apply to road rash or other injuries that could not have been prevented by helmet use.
Protecting Your Right to Compensation
Working with an experienced attorney is the best way to protect your right to compensation for expenses related to road rash and other motorcycle accident injuries. Neblett, Beard & Arsenault's dedicated legal team can assess the worth of your case, locate evidence to document your accident-related damages, and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial case review.