If you have road rash from a motorcycle accident, your case has value. I have handled countless cases involving road rash in Florida. The good news is that most road rash injuries heal quite well. This article is written to discuss my experience involving road rash after a motorcycle accident and to help you understand the value of your case.
Most motorcycle accident cases that cause road rash also have other injuries. But, the road rash alone is usually enough for the insurance company to pay out decent money.
What is Road Rash?
Road rash occurs when the skin rubs against a rough surface causing an abrasion, avulsion, or laceration. According to the American College of Surgeons, there are over 20,000 reported cases of road rash from motorcycle accidents each year in the United States. The extent of the injury depends on the speed of the fall, the texture and condition of the surface, and the sliding distance.
Symptoms of Road Rash
While it is pretty easy to see and diagnose road rash after a motorcycle accident, these injuries are usually in combination with:
- Broken Bones
- Nerve damage and loss of sensation
- Foreign objects and debris entering the wound
- Risk of infection
- Sprains and Strains
How to Treat Road Rash
Some cases of road rash after a motorcycle accident can be treated at home. Always make sure that you are being sanitary and washing your hands thoroughly. According to medical professionals, home treatment includes:
- Washing the injured area with soap
- Clearing any debris or objects from the skin
- Using antibiotics to prevent infection
- Using sterile bandages
For deeper injuries that fail to heal, excision and grafting may be necessary. If the injuries span across joints, patients may require being admitted to a hospital, assistance with wound care and pain relief, and therapies.
Tips to Help Your Case
Seek Medical Treatment
If you have any question about needing medical assistance, go and get it. Since you will not have PIP, run the bills through your health insurance or pay it out of pocket. If you can hire a lawyer quickly enough, you can put the bill on a letter of protection, or I.O.U. Seeing a doctor for the injury will always be viewed as reasonable, and as long as we can find insurance, these bills will be reimbursed. Not only is medical treatment important to your health, it adds great value to your case. But, don’t wait too long. The longer that you wait, the more questions you will get about the delay.
Take Photographs of the Injury
For road rash, a picture is truly worth a thousand words. Photos are the most important aspect to one of these cases. Since the injuries heal quickly, the photos must be taken immediately. I recommend to my clients to take photos every time that they change the bandages.
Take Photographs of Scarring
There will almost always be some discoloration or scarring after the motorcycle accident. You must take good photos that show these changes. The scarring is what is considered a permanent injury and what truly adds value to the claim. If you need help with the lighting, ask someone to help you take it.
Document How the Injury Has Affected You
The pain and discomfort from road rash can be extreme. It can limit range of movement and really affect your life. I recommend that you note how the injury has affected you in real time. If you wait until months after the accident and try to remember, I promise that you will forget details. These facts are all important for pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. Every point that you can prove translates directly into dollars.
Keep Track of Expenses
This tip is really just common sense. If you want to be reimbursed for your expenses, you must be able to prove it. From bandages to copays for medication to even Uber rides, keep track of what the accident has caused you to spend.
Do Not Give a Recorded Statement Without a Lawyer
Every insurance company will ask you to give a recorded statement as soon as possible after the accident. This is done to lock you in. If anything changes with time, they will use the recorded statement against you. Therefore, I always advise speaking to a lawyer before giving the recorded statement. Keep in mind that a recorded statement can only hurt your case. It is not designed to help you in any way.
How an Insurance Company Values Road Rash
Road rash injuries after a motorcycle accident are unique in that the medical bills do not always match up with the seriousness of the injury. What I mean is that there is often very little that is done medically to treat road rash other than bandaging, antibiotics, and waiting for it to heal. Thus, although the injury may be debilitating and painful, the medical bills are low.
In non-surgical cases, photographs are vital. You want the insurance company to look at the photos and be shocked at what they see. The more graphic the photos, the more money they are going to place on the claim. Insurance companies know that if a jury sees gruesome photos, you are going to win the motorcycle accident case.
It has been my experience that insurance companies take road rash cases seriously. They are not worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, but I have never turned down a road rash case. I know that insurance companies will pay to settle these claims because they don’t look good. The optics are bad when the photos of the injuries are presented. Road rash cases simply need to be presented properly by an experienced motorcycle accident attorney.
Examples of Settlements of Road Rash
I could go on and on about examples, but I picked out two that came to mind because they were solely road rash injury claims. Again, so many of my cases have other injuries, it is hard to carve out the exact dollar the insurance company paid for the road rash.
Case #1- Motorcycle accident of a young man.
In this case, my client was a young man heading home just after dusk on his motorcycle. A car did not see him and turned into his lane, causing him to lay down his bike. He skidded along the road. He went to the hospital to treat his wounds. His sole injury was road rash to his arm and shoulder. I have attached a photo.
He had health insurance and the hospital bills were handled through it. He had a small lien of only a few hundred dollars. His wounds were very painful. He was laid up in his bed for a couple of days, but eventually made a full recovery. He had no further medical treatment after the hospital visit. There was a dispute by the car about who was at fault for the accident, but Allstate wound up paying $15,000 to settle the case.
Case #2- Passenger on a Motorcycle
In this case, my clients were boyfriend and girlfriend. The boyfriend was driving his motorcycle about 45 mph when a BMW pulled out of a driveway in front of them. The bike was laid down and skidded into the back of the car. The boyfriend was taken to the hospital and was treated for a broken femur. His case was serious and he was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars. But, the girlfriend is who this case example is really about. She had a road rash to her leg and knee, but never saw a doctor. She never reported that she was injured to the police and never thought much about the case. She was only concerned with her boyfriend. She just chalked it up to a bad day.
After a couple of months, they were both in my office working on his case and she was describing the accident for me. I saw marks on her leg and asked her about it. She said it was from the road rash from the incident. She took photos and I submitted a claim for her. Even though she never saw a doctor and did not owe a cent for expenses, State Farm paid her $7,500.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you should speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. The first few days after the accident are the most important in the entire process. If you have road rash or any other injuries, you need a strategy to maximize the value of the claim. There is money to be recovered, so always reach out to a lawyer, even if you don’t wind up hiring that person.
If you have any questions about a motorcycle accident claim, please contact me immediately for a free consultation. Perhaps the advice that I can give you will improve your chances at a successful and high value claim.