Road rash is a friction burn that happens when an individual’s skin scrapes against concrete, pavement, or gravel, causing injury. An individual injured in a pedestrian, bicycle, or motorcycle accident may suffer road rash in addition to other injuries.
If an accident throws you out of your car, for example, you will likely suffer road rash along with a host of other injuries, even death. In most cases, you can treat road rash at home, unless you have an underlying condition, or the injury is particularly deep.
If you suffered a road rash injury or other injuries in a motorcycle accident, contact an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer for answers to your questions, a free consultation, and case evaluation.
Treating Road Rash Injuries
You can treat minor road rash at home, but if you have underlying conditions, it is always best to visit your doctor. Autoimmune diseases and medications that lower your white blood cell count increase the risks of infection and having to endure a lengthier recovery process.
If the road rash is minor, you do not have any underlying conditions that may cause infection or other problems, and you do not have other injuries, you can treat road rash at home by taking the following steps:
- Wash your hands, then clean the abrasion. Rinse it carefully, then use patting motions to remove embedded dirt and gravel. Never scrub the road rash injury, as you could cause additional damage. If needed, use sterilized tweezers to pick out stubborn dirt and other foreign material.
- Apply antibiotic ointment to the injury to kill harmful bacteria.
- Cover the wound. Keep the wound moist to help the area heal, and always keep the bandage fresh. If you get the bandage wet or dirty, change is as soon as possible. If the bandage sticks to the wound, wet it with water or salt water to help soften the scab.
- Check for signs of infection at least once every day.
Signs of wound infection include pus or drainage from the wound, especially if it is yellow or green, a bad odor coming from the wound, redness around the wound, the wound feels warm or hot to the touch, the wound is more painful than it originally was, or you have fever and/or chills. You may not have all of the signs of infection, so watch the wound carefully.
When You Should Seek Medical Attention for Road Rash
If you can see muscle or bone through the wound, the road rash is not minor, and you should seek medical attention immediately. Also, if glass, large rocks, or a lot of dirt and other debris is embedded in the wound, you should also seek medical attention. Finally, if the road rash covers a large area of your body, even if the wound seems fairly shallow, you should seek medical attention.
If you started caring for a wound yourself, but it seems to show signs of infection, see your medical professional as soon as possible, even if it’s only one sign of infection, such as redness around the wound.
Following your accident, you may have injuries other than road rash. In Texas, if this is the case, you can seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company or sue the at-fault driver for three types of damages: (1) economic, (2) non-economic, and (3) punitive.
Special damages, or economic damages, are those that have a dollar amount attached. The statutes provide for economic damages in an attempt to make you whole again. While the money cannot make you recover from injuries or psychological harm because of an accident, it does relieve the financial stress of losing work due to your injuries.
Economic damages could include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Cognitive, physical, and psychological therapy
- Medical aids, including walkers, wheelchairs, and shower chairs
- Home modifications, including a wheelchair ramp, if you suffer from long-term physical injuries
- Vehicle modifications, also for long-term physical injuries
- Past and future lost wages, even if you go back to work, but have to take a pay cut due to your injuries
- Funeral and burial expenses
General damages, or non-economic damages, do not have a price tag attached. The statutes also provide for non-economic damages in an attempt to make you whole again. However, an insurance company will settle for – or a court will order – economic damages for long-term injuries.
Non-economic damages could include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium, if you can no longer have a physical relationship with your spouse
- Inconvenience, if you have to hire someone to do your routine chores, including cleaning, grocery shopping, lawn maintenance, and home maintenance
- Loss of use of a body part
- Loss of use of a bodily function, such as your eyesight
If you lost a loved one, the court might order some non-economic damages, such as emotional distress, loss of companionship, and/or loss of consortium.
Courts only order punitive damages if a defendant’s actions were grossly negligent or intentional. Punitive damages, sometimes called exemplary damages, are intended to serve as a punishment for a defendant’s actions or inactions; punitive damages are not intended to make victims whole again, like other types of damages.
A court might order punitive damages if a defendant was driving under the influence, driving while texting, or driving with excessive speed, for example. The court does this to discourage the defendant from committing the same reckless action again in the future.
If you suffered road rash or other injuries in a car accident, contact the motorcycle accident lawyers at Emroch & Kilduff for answers to your questions and free case evaluation.