Friction burns happen when you rub your skin against something, and it leaves a red mark or rubs the skin off. If you’ve ever had a rope or a dog leash slide through your hand and leave a painful red mark, that is a friction burn.
Road rash is also a painful friction burn. It often happens in motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents. However, someone in a car accident in Albany could also suffer from road rash if they get thrown from the vehicle.
A Closer Look at Road Rash
Road rash is a common injury in active sports, motorcycle accidents, and bicycle accidents. It is a painful friction burn or abrasion that can develop infections.
Road rash happens when a rough surface scrapes off your skin. If your skin comes into contact with a smooth surface for an extended period, you could also develop road rash. Treatment often includes the same treatment for thermal and friction burns.
Degrees of Road Rash
Like burns, doctors measure road rash severity in degrees:
- First-degree: This type of road rash typically resembles a bad sunburn. It is the least severe of the road rash burns. The skin is not broken but instead red and irritated.
- Second-degree: When you suffer second-degree road rash, the skin is broken and bleeds. The top two layers of skin suffer damage, but the injury does not affect the layers beneath the first two layers.
- Third-degree: The road rash removes all of the layers of your skin, which exposes layers of tissue and fat. Third-degree road rash often comes with nerve and muscle damage. In some cases, third-degree road rash could require skin grafts to heal.
Those who suffer from second-degree and third-degree road rash tend to recover in two to four weeks. The injury does not leave a hypertrophic scar. However, third-degree road rash could leave a hypertrophic scar.
You might require skin grafts, dermabrasion, and free flap procedures to repair the damage.
When debris, including glass, metal, rocks, and dirt, lodge into your skin because of road rash, doctors refer to this as a traumatic tattoo. If you do not have the road rash professionally treated by a medical professional, the debris could become permanently embedded in your skin. It might look as though you have a permanent bruise when it heals. Road rash wounds with debris need skin debridement.
Treating Road Rash
While road rash is painful, people often do not take it seriously since it looks like a big scrape, and they figure it will heal soon enough. However, road rash can be dangerous, especially if you have a compromised immune system. You could easily develop an infection or might not clean the wound well enough to remove all debris.
When you do not properly clean road rash, it could lead to more severe issues. Thus, seek medical attention immediately, even for minor road rash. Heavy scarring and even nerve damage could occur if the injury is severe enough.
Doctors will ensure that the wound is clean so that you have less risk of developing an infection. They help with the recovery process by stitching deep areas of road rash and prescribing medication to reduce infection risk and pain. Doctors also use skin grafts to replace damaged skin.
Treating Minor Cases of Road Rash
If you have a minor road rash case and know that debris did not embed in your skin, you can start treatment at home.
However, if another person’s negligence caused road rash, you will need documentation of the accident, so see a doctor you trust in Albany, even for minor cases.
- Wash your hands thoroughly.
- Using lukewarm water, rinse the affected area. If you notice embedded debris, you can try to remove it, but you should see a doctor.
- Cover the area with an antibiotic ointment to prevent infection and keep the area moisturized.
- Bandage the injury with a sterile bandage or gauze.
- Change the bandage frequently—at least once every day. If the bandage sticks to the wound, soak it in water to loosen it.
Always look for signs of infection, including a reddish ring around the wound. The wound could also feel warm if it is starting to get infected. If you notice the wound starting to discharge pus, you most likely have an infection and should seek medical attention immediately.
If the wound itches as it heals, you can use a moisturizing lotion as long as it is alcohol-free. Aloe vera can keep the wound moisturized and provides the area with the needed vitamins to heal quicker and reduce scarring.
How to Prevent Road Rash
The best way to prevent road rash is to use protective gear, especially when skateboarding or riding a bicycle or motorcycle.
Recommended gear includes:
- Helmets when riding a motorcycle, bicycle, or skateboard.
- Long pants and long sleeves when riding a bicycle or skateboard.
- Leathers when riding a motorcycle.
- Elbow and knee pads when riding a skateboard.
- Obeying traffic laws when riding a motorcycle or bicycle.
If you suffer road rash and you can see muscle or bone if the wound is bleeding profusely, you see foreign objects in the wound, or the wound covers a large portion of your body, seek medical attention at an Albany urgent care facility immediately.
Additional Accident Injuries
Road rash is most likely not the only injury you will sustain in an accident. You could also sustain additional injuries, including:
- Various cuts, scraps, bruises, and bumps.
- Face and eye injuries.
- Sprains and strains.
- Pulled and torn muscles and other soft tissue injuries.
- Simple and compound fractures.
- Crushed bones.
- Crush injuries.
- Internal injuries.
- Traumatic brain injuries.
- Head, neck, and shoulder injuries.
- Thermal and chemical burns.
- Back and spinal cord injuries.
Always seek medical attention after an accident, even if you believe your injuries are minor. Some injuries do not manifest until hours or even days after an accident. Additionally, the medical attention you receive on the scene and at the hospital after the accident begins the documentation process that you need to recover the compensation you deserve.
What to Do After an Accident
If possible, document the accident scene by taking photos of the accident from all angles. Be sure to take photos of the damage to the road and nearby property. While the police will also document the accident scene, your photos will help investigators determine what happened.
Additionally, obtain contact information from witnesses.
The information you should obtain from other drivers involved include:
- License information.
- Insurance information.
- Registration information.
- CDL license information if any drivers are commercial drivers.
After obtaining medical attention, contact a car accident attorney as soon as possible.
Retaining an Attorney
Many people never retain an attorney because they believe that they can settle their case or believe that they cannot afford an attorney, especially if their injuries mean that they will be out of work for months or the rest of their lives.
However, settling with an insurance company without the help of an attorney means that you will most likely receive less compensation than you deserve. Insurance companies are in business to make a profit. Every claim they pay cuts into their profits, which means that they will do anything to deny your claim or offer you the least amount possible—and that might not even cover medical expenses, never mind the lost wages and other damages you might deserve.
Your initial case evaluation is usually free, and we do not get paid if you do not win your case. We also add in enough for attorney’s fees and costs when negotiating your case. After all, why should you or your insurance company pay for another person’s negligence? During your initial case evaluation, your attorney will go over the contingency contact with you and explain how it works and fees if you win your case.
Recovering Damages After a Motorcycle or Car Accident
You could recover compensatory damages after a motorcycle or motor vehicle accident caused by another person’s or entity’s negligence. The court orders compensatory damages in an attempt to make you whole again. The law divides compensatory damages into economic damages and non-economic damages.
Sometimes referred to as special damages, economic damages have a monetary value. Whether you or your insurance company comes out of pocket to pay economic damages or deserve future expenses, the at-fault driver or his insurance company pays economic damages, either to reimburse you and your insurance company or for future expenses.
Economic damages include:
Even if you suffered only road rash in a car or motorcycle accident, you could have several surgeries and other medical expenses, including:
- Doctors’ appointments, surgeries, and follow-up appointments
- Prescriptions and over-the-counter medications prescribed by a physician
- Ambulatory aids
- Medical equipment, including oxygen tanks, oxygen machines, and blood pressure cuffs
- Hand controls for your vehicle
- Updates to your home, including but not limited to widened doorways, wheelchair ramps, grab bars, and handrails
- Various therapies, including physical, psychological, cognitive, and occupational therapies
You could also recover the wages you lose from the time of the accident through the time you collect a settlement or win a trial award. Suppose your accident injuries cause long-term or permanent disabilities. In that case, you could also recover the loss of future earning capacity from the time of the settlement or trial award through the time you would normally retire.
The at-fault driver is also responsible for compensating you for destroyed or damaged personal property, including your vehicle and items of value in your vehicle or on your person.
If you lost a loved one to a car or motorcycle accident, you could recover various death-related expenses, including:
- Any medical expenses the decedent incurred before their death.
- Funeral and burial expenses.
- Cremation expenses.
- Probate court attorney’s fees.
- Certain probate court expenses, including the probate filing fee.
Sometimes referred to as general damages, non-economic damages do not have a monetary value. Yet, the court orders the defendant to pay them in an attempt to make you whole again. This money is to “pay you back” for losses you suffered from the accident.
Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering, including emotional distress
- Loss of quality of life if you have to make life-long changes, such as using ambulatory aids or taking prescriptions for the rest of your life
- Loss of companionship if you cannot enjoy time with your family because of pain or physical limitations. You could also recover compensation if you cannot participate in family activities and events
- Loss of consortium if you can no longer enjoy or have a physical relationship with your spouse
- Loss of use of a body part, such as a hand or leg
- Loss of use of a bodily function, such as bladder control or your eyesight
- Inconvenience if you have to hire someone to do household chores you usually do, including lawn maintenance, house cleaning, grocery shopping, and home repair and maintenance
- Amputation of a digit or limb, whether in the accident or after the accident because a doctor could not save a digit or limb
- Excessive scarring or disfigurement. If the road rash is severe enough, it could leave scarring, even after several surgeries