If you have children, you likely have seen their wounds when they fall from their bike, fall on the ground and scrape their knees, or had them come home with a mild case of some form of abrasion on their hands or knees. These abrasions are commonly known as road rash.
Simply put, road rash occurs when your skin meets the unyielding surface of concrete or cement. Generally, it is painful but goes away within a few days assuming you keep it clean and free of infection. However, if you are one of the more than 160,000 motorcyclists in the Bay State, road rash can be far more serious.
Motorcycle Safety Gear May Minimize Road Rash
Many who do not operate motorcycles may be curious why they see bikers traveling on the roadways wearing heavy coats, pants, and even boots when the temperatures outside are in the 80s. This is not a fashion statement: Most serious operators, particularly those who take to the open road, have invested in more than an approved helmet. They have also invested in safety clothing to help protect their most exposed organ, their skin, from road rash.
While Massachusetts law mandates motorcyclists wear helmets on Boston roadways, there are no requirements for safety clothing. Nonetheless, wear such clothing, as it can prevent painful and costly road rash.
How Road Rash Injuries Occur
When you are operating a car, you are encompassed inside a vehicle offering you some level of protection if you are in a car accident. Unless you aren’t wearing a seatbelt, chances are you remain in your car. As a car passenger, you are unlikely to suffer road rash. Accidents, on the other hand, are almost certain to throw motorcyclists from their bikes or expose them to the road. They are thus much more susceptible to some form of road rash.
Road rash occurs when a motorcyclist is knocked off their bike and across the road. The impact in this situation is such that, particularly if you are wearing traditional clothing, you will experience road rash. Gravel, glass, and other debris may enter the wound. There are different types of road rash, each one progressively worse.
The types of road rash are:
- Avulsion – These wounds are the most common type of road rash suffered by motorcyclists. The physics are straightforward—the skin scrapes away when your skin makes direct contact with the road. You will lose layers of skin, and as a result, may expose the underlying bone, muscle, and fat.
- Open wound – This form of road rash is also common when you are in a motorcycle accident. The problem is this form has more potential to cause other problems. The severity of these wounds usually means you will require stitches. The potential for infection increases with these wounds. Infection is more likely because the open wound can allow debris and dirt from the road to enter. From there, the victim could suffer infections—serious infections if they enter the bloodstream. Victims of this type of road rash injury may also require skin grafting to effectively repair the wound.
- Compression – These wounds occur when a biker is pinned between the road and their bike, their bike and a vehicle, or their bike and any stationary object. Not only does this type of road rash increase the likelihood of infection, but victims may also suffer broken bones and damage to the underlying muscle tissue.
Road rash is also measured in degrees. First degree, the least serious, will result in tenderness, bruises, and some scraping. Typically, this degree of road rash will heal easily, assuming the area is kept clean. If a biker suffers a second-degree road rash, they need immediate medical care.
In most cases, the wound is bleeding and muscles or tendons may be visible. Many of these cases may require stitches. A doctor may need to clean the wound of debris to avoid infection. Third-degree road rash is the most serious. In these cases, the skin will most often appear shiny. Victims may be shocked to learn they have little or no pain: However, this is because the victim has suffered nerve damage. Anyone who has this level of road rash must receive immediate medical care.
No motorcyclist should have to worry about suffering these injuries because of a driver who fails to pay attention, speeds, drives under the influence, or drives recklessly. Unfortunately, this is a very real concern.
Care and Treatment of Road Rash Following a Boston Motorcycle Accident
Any wound requires proper care to keep it free from infection. After a Boston motorcycle accident, you should always seek immediate medical attention, regardless of how minor you believe your injuries may be at the time. In the event of an accident, your body floods with adrenaline. This surge could result in your body masking signs of injuries including torn muscles, head and neck injuries, back injuries, and more. Go to the emergency room—make sure you are not more seriously injured than you think.
Once the hospital discharges you, you will have to care for your road rash injuries at home. You must do this every day. First and foremost, wash your hands before attempting to care for your injury. Carefully clean the area around the wound with warm soapy water. Avoid leaving soap in the wound, as it may irritate the wound.
Dry the wound carefully with lint-free gauze. Follow your doctor’s orders regarding using any ointment and covering on the wound. Monitor the wounds carefully for signs of infection. You may also want to inquire whether your doctor recommends a tetanus shot following these types of injury. Be sure to call your doctor if the wound appears red, swollen, or if you develop any infection symptoms.
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Safety Is a Factor When Operating a Motorcycle in Boston
Helmets save lives—while a helmet may not protect you from road rash, it can help minimize the amount of road rash you suffer on your face, scalp, and neck. Motorcycle operators are at a distinct disadvantage in an accident because their mode of transportation provides no framing to protect them from collisions. The speed you are traveling, the type of impact, and your overall health will determine the severity of your road rash injuries and your recovery time. Always follow medical advice for caring for your road rash wounds.
Accountability for Your Boston Road Rash Wounds
After a Boston motorcycle road rash accident, you’re like to have significant expenses, both in terms of medical bills and repairs to your motorcycle. Massachusetts is a no-fault state, which generally means you will first file a claim with your own insurance company, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. Before you file any claim, you should speak with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer. The more serious your road rash and other injuries, the more important talking with an attorney becomes.
If you are uncertain about contacting an attorney, know that you will receive:
- Free consultation – The first thing you should know is you will almost certainly pay nothing to contact an attorney to explain the accident and your injuries and get their views on whom you may hold accountable.
- Possibility of a lawsuit – If the cost to treat your road rash is more than $2,000, or leads to scarring or disfigurement, you may file a motorcycle accident lawsuit. Other options may allow you to file a claim for your injuries, and you should know you cannot count on the insurance company to let you know about them. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney, though, will tell you everything you need to know if you need to sue to get the full compensation you deserve.
Recovering Compensation for Boston Road Rash Claims Harder Than You May Think
You may think the process will be easy. A car traveling on a Boston roadway struck you from behind and, as a result, threw you from your bike and you suffered road rash, often among other injuries. You figure the best option is to file your insurance claims—medical bills, and damage to your bike.
But if your road rash injury is severe, you may be facing weeks or more of follow-up care, surgical procedures, and a serious risk of infection. It could take weeks before you can work again, what additional procedures you need to help your wound heal, and your total medical costs.
The insurance company is likely to offer you a fast settlement. This may seem like a great idea, but the fact is they are always acting in their best interests, not yours. Remember, once you accept a settlement, the insurance company will likely be off the hook for any further compensation. This means if you are out of work for a longer time, or require unplanned medical care for your injuries, you will bear the full brunt of those costs.
What you should do is notify your insurer about your injuries, give them the particulars of the accident, and provide them the name and telephone number of your motorcycle accident attorney. The last thing you want is to accept a quick settlement and be strapped with thousands of dollars in losses because you accepted the first offer you received.
Experience Counts When Filing Boston Road Rash Claims
You may think you can negotiate with the insurance company on your own. More often than not, however, an experienced motorcycle accident attorney can get you much more than you could on your own. A lawyer with proven track records of reaching settlements for their clients knows insurance companies like the back of their hand. They are less likely to fall for the traps laid out by insurance adjusters—things you might be unaware of.
Do not ever forget adjusters work for insurers. An adjuster may flood you with paperwork and flag certain pages for signature. Do not sign anything without your motorcycle accident lawyer reviewing it. Signing certain documents from an insurer could result in your giving up rights, limiting your rights to compensation, or even accepting blame for the accident.
Circumstances can make your road rash more complicated: For example, there may be more than one car involved in the accident. A driver could have tried to get out of the way of someone who made an improper lane change and struck you in the process. Your accident is unique—a skilled motorcycle accident attorney can help you determine who is liable for your injuries, even when there is more than one party involved.
Working With a Boston Motorcycle Injury Lawyer
There are many reasons to get a Boston lawyer who has experience with motorcycle accidents after a road rash accident. Attorneys who are willing to take the time to understand your case, have a firm grasp on these often complicated cases, and possess the resources to take cases that could ultimately land in court, can help make sure you make the best decisions to maximize your compensation.
Every accident victim has a story to tell. If you suffered a road rash or other injury in a Boston motorcycle accident, seek the legal advice of a skilled, knowledgeable, and effective accident injury attorney as soon as possible. Since the initial consultation is free, you have nothing to lose. You will then have more knowledge about your legal options and understand the benefits and drawbacks of those options. Once you have that knowledge, you will make the right decision for you and your family.