Why Road Rash Following a Motorcycle Accident May Not be a “Minor” Injury


March 18, 2015

Road rash is the commonly used name for skin abrasions, most often suffered as the result of motorcycle accident. These abrasions occur when skin hits pavement or concrete as the body is scraped along the road surface. This type of extreme friction rubs off the external skin layers, and in extreme cases can leave the muscle exposed. While some cases of road rash may be relatively minor, deeper abrasions can leave significant scarring as well as chronic pain. Often, road rash injuries are dismissed by some people as being relatively minor injuries. Consider, however, that your skin is the largest organ of your entire body. If road rash covers a large part of the body, illness, infection, scars and chronic pain can be the result.

Types of Road Rash
A road rash injury known as an avulsion injury scrapes away most layers of skin, leaving the fat, muscle and bone partially or entirely exposed. This is known as a full-thickness wound. A motorcycle accident can also lead to compression injuries, sustained when the rider's limb becomes crushed between the road and bike and results in fractures or heavy bruising. Finally, the rider may experience scrapes or cuts which are severe enough to require stitches. Generally, a rider who has been in a motorcycle accident will experience two or three types of these injuries, and may also have heavy bleeding, hanging skin and deep lacerations—all indicators of severe road rash. Road rash burns most often occur on the outside of the lower legs, the knee area, palms, shoulders and thighs.

Potential Complications of Road Rash
Additionally, when a motorcycle rider is involved in an accident and has had the upper layers of the skin scraped away, the exposed nerve endings can lead to excruciating pain. Depending on the extent of your injuries, there may be bleeding from the abrasions and the skin affected will feel stiff and tender as it heals. Unfortunately, there are times when the healing process does not go as expected, and complications can arise. Road rash has the potential to lead a relatively simple infection to to become a serious skin-eating disease known as MRSA.

You may see swelling around the wound site or notice an unpleasant odor in and around the wound, or may see the wound turn a greenish color. If you experience any of these symptoms following your motorcycle injury, you should immediately consult a physician who will determine whether you need a tetanus shot and will be able to tell whether your abrasions have become infected.

If Road Rash Was a Consequence of Negligent Behavior
Road rash injuries are worsened by the presence of gravel, shards of glass and metal fragments so victims are often kept tranquilized to enable them to deal with the pain during the healing process. Serious cases of road rash can require subsequent skin grafts and reconstructive surgery, and hospital bills can mount up quickly.

If the accident was due to negligent behavior on the part of another driver, including speeding, failure to observe traffic rules or driving under the influence, you should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible following the accident. Other cases of injury could be due to faulty and defective motorcycle parts. While it can be challenging to establish liability for a motorcycle accident which results in severe road rash and other injuries, a knowledgeable attorney can help get you the compensation you need and deserve to cover medical bills, ongoing care, missed work and pain and suffering.

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Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.