Road Rash From a Motorcycle Accident

If there’s an injury synonymous with motorcycling, it’s road rash. The two are inseparable in the minds of many, especially those who do not ride. Road rash is a common risk for those who ride. It’s painful, and it can be life-threatening or fatal, depending on severity. And if the crash that resulted in the road rash injury wasn’t the rider’s fault, the rider should contact an experienced road rash lawyer as soon as they’re able.


What Exactly Is Road Rash and What Causes It?

Road rash is an “abrasion,” which the American College of Surgeons defines as “when the skin is rubbed away.” An abrasion most usually involves the epidermis, which is the outermost layer of the skin. Deeper abrasions can pierce the dermal layer.

Abrasion injuries like road rash are the result of friction – something rubbing the skin beyond its ability to stretch and compensate. The road is an unforgiving opponent. It doesn’t take a lot of speed to cause a road rash injury, especially if the rider is not wearing sufficient protection.

DOUBLE BURN: Summer riders unfortunate enough to hit the pavement have another problem: asphalt gets very hot in summer, 20 degrees (or more) hotter than concrete. In fact, asphalt has been known to reach temperatures as high as 145 degrees in summer. That means you could be burned after less than a minute of skin contact, such as an unconscious rider might suffer after a crash.

If you suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident and it wasn’t your fault, contact an experienced road rash lawyer who has the knowledge needed to pursue maximum compensation.

How Is Road Rash Classified?

Road rash is often classified by the depth of the injury, much the same way as burns are. The deeper the injury, the higher and more severe the degree.

Road rash injuries are classified by how much of the three main layers of skin have been damaged.

  • First degree: Damage to the outer, epidermal layer of the skin. You might feel a stinging or burning pain as a result, as there are many nerve endings in the skin. Depending on the depth, the injury may bleed or simply burn with reddened, irritated skin.
  • Second degree: Damage to the inner, dermal layer of the skin. This is a more painful injury. This can result in greater blood loss and scarring, and should always be treated by a professional.
  • Third degree: Damage penetrates to the subcutaneous fat layer, the innermost layer of the skin, and can uncover muscle tissue. These are the most severe cases, should be treated professionally, and may need surgical intervention including skin grafts in order to heal.

Like burns, road rash severity must also take into account the amount of the skin involved. For example, if you suffer a first degree rash on your knuckles, you’re in much better shape than someone who suffers a first degree rash to 50% of their body. As such, the severity of a road rash injury must logically take both depth and coverage into account.

No matter how your road rash injury is classified, the person at fault for your wreck – and their insurance company – should be held accountable for your injury, medical bills, and other expenses. Contact skilled road rash injury attorney as soon as you can. We will evaluate your case for free.

How Is Road Rash Treated?

There are several factors that can make road rash difficult to treat and dangerous if left untreated – even in minor cases. Always seek treatment for an injury, including road rash. Here are some keys to treatment:

  • Wound cleaning: Road surfaces, from concrete to asphalt to gravel, are obviously very dirty places. When a rider falls and slides, the wounds created are exposed to the impurities, chemicals, rocks, glass, and other foreign materials on those surfaces, some of which can be transferred into the wound. If not cleaned, these foreign substances can change the color of the skin, which is referred to as “tattooing.” This foreign matter can also increase the risk of infection, so proper cleaning of even a first degree rash is crucial. Anyone treating a road rash injury should wash their hands or wear sterile gloves if possible.
  • Dry and dress: The area surrounding the injury should be dried. Medical ointments or salves are often applied to fight infection, reduce pain, and speed healing, depending on the severity of the wound. The wound generally should be covered with bandages to keep it clean, and the bandages changed as often as needed.
  • Grafts: For deeper cases of road rash, additional procedures may be required. Skin grafts, often from the victim’s own body or a cadaver, may be needed to complete the healing of the skin. When the skin is badly, deeply damaged over an area, it may not be able to recover on its own, and the tissues underneath need the skin to protect them.

Note that, if you are in a crash, you should seek medical help regardless of whether you “feel” like you need it. Even a little, minor road rash could get infected if not cleaned, treated, and dressed properly.

By seeking treatment, you’re protecting your health and your claim to possible compensation from the person who caused the injury. If an insurance company tries to settle with you before your medical treatment is complete, beware! Contact a road rash lawyer immediately. You should not accept a settlement that does not include the compensation necessary to pay all of your medical bills. And how can you know what those will be until your treatment is complete? The insurance company may be trying to settle quickly to avoid a bigger bill.

How Can You Prevent Road Rash?

For motorcyclists, this is all about what you’re wearing when you ride. In the Carolinas, especially in the summer, people tend to forego some or all of their protective gear in a nod to comfort. We see people riding in shorts wearing flip flops, and we don’t need to tell you what happens to those riders if they have to lay the bike down for any reason.

While they’re often referred to as “leathers,” protective gear has come a long way. There are now synthetic fibers and modern clothing for riders that are lighter and more comfortable on hot days. Since we see so many wrecks, we strongly encourage you to wear protective pants, jacket, footwear, gloves, and a helmet at all times!

And as you prepare for the worst case scenario, the other prevention method is awareness. Trust no one, and keep your mind and eyes on the road and on the traffic around you. Anticipate threats. Be careful.

What If I Am Suffering From a Road Rash Injury That Was Not My Fault?

First and foremost, seek medical attention regardless of how serious you think your injury may be. There are two reasons. First, you may not know the extent of your injuries, and you should have any injury treated in any case. Second, if you do not seek treatment, an insurance company is likely to argue that you were not injured, and therefore are not entitled to compensation.

Call the motorcycle accident attorneys at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin. Since 1997, we’ve helped more than 65,000 clients recover more than $1.8 billion in total compensation.1 Call us right away, any time of day, at 866-900-7078 or contact us online for a free case evaluation. Don’t suffer in silence. Tell them you mean business!

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