Whenever there's a motorcycle accident, there's a chance of road rash. Tacoma riders can prevent some of the risk by wearing proper clothing, like leather jackets and specialty suits, but some may still experience road rash in an accident. When the injuries are very severe, a skin graft procedure may be necessary. This procedure has its own risks and complications, however.
Road Rash Injuries and Skin Graft Procedures
Road rash happens when the motorcyclist skids along the road after an accident and the skin is abraded by the pavement or other surface. It can occur on almost any part of the body including the arms, back and legs, and even the face especially if not wearing a helmet.
There are three degrees of road rash:
- First-degree: The may break the first layer of skin but the abrasions are minor.
- Second-degree: The road rash breaks through the epidermis and may break the dermis but does not penetrate all the way to the muscle.
- Third-degree: The abrasions break all layers of skin and even down to the muscle and other soft tissue.
Skin graft procedures are used for severe second-degree and third-degree injuries when the wounds cannot be sewn or stapled together. To complete the procedure, donor skin is harvested from another site on the body and sewn into the open wound.
There are two types of skin grafting and the one used will depend on the level of injury:
- Split-level skin grafts: Only skin is removed from the donor site for the graft.
- Full thickness skin grafts: The epidermis, dermis, blood vessels and muscles are harvested from the donor site for the graft.
Surgeons prefer to harvest skin from the chest or abdomen, which are easily concealed by clothing. The wound is sewn or stapled together after the graft is applied. Artificial skin might be used in some cases as well.
With split-level skin graft surgeries, the patient can leave the hospital within a few days, while full thickness grafts may require longer hospitalization. Infections can develop in the wound, which require treatment and could lead to graft failure.
Obtaining Compensation for Your Injuries with an Attorney's Help
If another driver caused your accident and road rash injuries, you may file a claim with the at-fault driver's liability insurance. Sometimes these liability insurance companies don't offer sufficient compensation for treatment, such as skin grafting and other procedures, though. In these cases, motorcyclists may need to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Damages that might be recoverable include:
- compensation for medical bills for the skin graft procedure;
- any physical therapy required afterward;
- hospitalization costs; and
- lost wages and pain and suffering during the recovery period.
If you're having trouble receiving compensation for skin graft procedures after a motorcycle accident in the Tacoma area, contact Max Meyers Law. Reach us at 425-399-7000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.