Road rash occurs when your body slides across pavement or concrete, irritating or even removing skin. Road rash from a bicycle accident can be minor, or it can be severe, exposing muscle and leaving you with scars and constant pain. Without proper treatment, it can result in a potentially deadly infection.
Two different types of road rash exist:
- An avulsion injury is a full-thickness wound that takes off most of the skin so that the fat, muscle, and bone are showing.
- A compression injury stems from having your arm or leg crushed between the road and your bike.
Many people suffer both avulsion and compression injuries after being hit by a car on their bicycle. You can suffer road rash anywhere on your body, but arms, legs, and shoulders are some of the most common places.
How Can I Tell If My Road Rash Is Severe?
Road rash is similar to burns in that doctors rate the severity in degrees.
First-degree road rash is minor. You might see redness and minimal scraping.
Second-degree road rash involves skin breakage.
Third-degree road rash involves a complete removal of skin, sometimes injuring the subcutaneous tissue, muscle, and nerves below the surface. This type of road rash is the most severe and requires immediate medical attention.
How Do You Treat Road Rash?
How you treat road rash depends on the severity of the injury. Third-degree road rash needs immediate medical treatment. First-degree road rash often requires no treatment, potentially just a cleaning. Second-degree road rash is usually an injury you can take care of on your own; however, if you are unsure, you should always consult a doctor.
The first step is to clean the wound. You can use sterile wipes and run saline solution over the wound until the most obvious dirt and debris is gone. Then soak a washcloth in mild antibacterial soap and clean out your wound using lots of cool water. Pat dry.
See a doctor if:
- You need stitches.
- You can see muscle under the road rash.
- The road rash is on your face, hands, feet, or genitals.
- The area with road rash is larger than the size of your palm.
What Complications Might I Face from Road Rash after a Bicycle Accident?
Having skin scraped off is painful and can be nearly unbearable if it is deep enough to reveal nerve endings. In some cases, a road rash injury can cause nerve damage, leading to a total lack of feeling in the affected area. (If this happened to you, head to the emergency room immediately.)
There will likely be bleeding, and the healing skin will likely be stiff and tender. Glass, gravel, metal, and dirt can become embedded in the wounds. Because of the potential for embedded debris, an infection may develop. In some cases, you might suffer from a potentially deadly infection called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus, or MRSA.
These are a few signs of infection:
- Your pain gets worse after the first day.
- There is swelling, and the skin turns redder and redder.
- The road rash feels hot to the touch.
- There is pus or fluid draining from the wound.
See a doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms.
How Will Road Rash Affect You?
If you suffered minor road rash, it might not affect you at all. It might be a simple inconvenience, with a little bit of pain or tenderness. Second-degree road rash can leave you in a lot of pain and, in some cases, unable to work.
A third-degree road rash injury can leave you with extensive medical bills and a total inability to work. You may also need skin grafts or reconstructive surgery, which can take weeks or months. If you develop an infection, it can take a long time to heal.
In addition to the financial cost, you will be in pain. This can be minor, or if your injuries are severe, can be long-term and extremely painful. This takes a real toll on you emotionally, especially if you are losing income because you cannot work.
You May Be Entitled to Injury Compensation
Suffering injury in an accident you did not cause should not cost you money. You can file a claim to recover compensation for the medical costs, lost income, pain, suffering, worry, and any other damages you suffered. Jason Schultz can help.
He can handle your entire case from start to finish, communicating and negotiating with insurers, gathering evidence, and building your case from the ground up.Discuss your case with the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. for free today: 404-474-0804.