Facts About Road Rash

A motorcycle rider may sustain a variety of injuries during a motorcycle crash. Injuries may include broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries. Unfortunately, the motorcycle offers minimal protection from injuries during a collision. 

Road rash is another common motorcycle accident injury that many riders sustain. Even a minor motorcycle accident could result in a severe case of road rash. Severe cases of road rash can result in significant scarring and disfigurement. 

How Does Road Rash Occur?

Road rash is a term used to describe lacerations and skin abrasions the rider sustains during a motorcycle crash. Concrete, gravel, asphalt, and pavement cut or peel away the skin as the rider drags or slides across the surface.

The severity of the injury depends on the factors of the crash, such as:

  • The surface of the road
  • How long the rider slid across the road surface
  • Whether the rider was wearing protective gear

Immediate medical care is required for road rash. The injury could result in infections if not treated correctly. 

The Degrees of Road Rash

Much like burns, the severity of road rash is described in degrees:

First Degree Road Rash

Mild cases of road rash generally heal in a few weeks and rarely result in severe scars. The skin may have multiple scraps and scratches, but there are no deep or open wounds.

Second Degree Road Rash

Second-degree road rash consists of moderate lacerations and abrasions. It generally affects more than the outer layer of skin. There could be several places where the skin is broken apart from the abrasions. 

Glass, dirt, rocks, and other debris may be embedded in the lacerations. A doctor will remove the debris and clean each area to prevent infections. Scarring is more likely with second-degree road rash.

Third Degree Road Rash

This level of damages can cause significant scarring and damage to the underlying skin layers. In severe cases, the muscles may be exposed. As a result, the wounds bleed freely and are deeper.

Immediate medical attention is required for third-degree road rash. Severe infections and complications may develop if the wounds are not cleaned and treated. 

How is Road Rash Treated?

For mild cases of road rash, a motorcyclist may treat the injury at home. General wound care includes:

  • Cleansing the area with mild soap and water
  • Pat the area dry with a clean cloth and allow to air dry completely
  • Apply antibacterial cream to the area
  • Cover the area with clean, sterile bandages

A physician should treat second and third-degree road rash. The development of infections can cause life-threatening conditions. The physician may prescribe antibiotics to reduce the risk of necrotizing fasciitis or staph infection

Signs of infection can include:

  • Fever
  • Redness and swelling of the affected area
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Wounds that do not heal
  • Warmth and tenderness in the affected area
  • Foul-smelling pus or discharge

Prompt medical treatment may reduce the risk of severe scarring and infections from road rash.

Ways to Prevent Road Rash

Motorcyclists can take steps to prevent or reduce the severity of road rash. For example, wearing gloves and boots protects the hands, feet, ankles, and legs from abrasions during a motorcycle accident.

Riders should choose clothing that does not “shred” easily during a collision. Leather jackets and riding pants are generally better than cotton or denim. Special riding outfits can provide the best protection from road rash.

Wearing a motorcycle helmet and protective shield reduces the risk of facial injuries and lacerations during an accident. You might not be able to prevent all cases of road rash, but reducing the severity of the abrasions and lacerations can prevent significant disfigurement and scarring caused by a motorcycle wreck. 

Seeking Compensation for Road Rash Injuries

A rider can receive compensation for the pain and suffering caused by road rash. The motorcyclist may also recover compensation for scarring and disfigurement. If the rider incurs medical expenses to treat road rash, those expenses will also be part of your personal injury claim.

In severe cases of road rash, a rider may require skin grafts or reconstructive surgery. The cost of medical care could be expensive. Also, the rider may incur lost wages while the rider recovers from the injuries. 

Documenting your damages is a crucial step in ensuring you receive fair compensation for road rash injuries. Take pictures of your injuries after the accident and throughout your recovery. In addition, keep detailed records of all financial losses and expenses incurred because of the injury.

When you file an injury claim, be prepared to provide evidence of your damages. The more evidence you can provide, the better chance you have of recovering maximum compensation for your damages.