A motorcyclist can sustain a variety of injuries in a motorcycle accident. Motorcycle accident injuries can be mild or life-threatening. The rider may sustain permanent impairments because of some motorcycle injuries, including road rash.

What is Road Rash?

Road rash is a term used to describe the abrasions a motorcyclist may receive from a motorcycle crash. The abrasions occur when the skin comes into contact with rough surfaces, such as asphalt, gravel, pavement, and concrete.

The rider “slides” or “skids” across the pavement, causing the skin to be scraped away or torn. In some cases, a motorcyclist may be drug by the motorcycle or other vehicle.

While road rash is more common in body areas that are not covered by clothing, road rash can occur even in areas covered by clothing, such as when a rider is wearing long sleeves and long pants. The material may not provide sufficient protection from the surface.

Typical areas of the body that are prone to road rash in a motorcycle accident are the legs, arms, knees, and elbows. However, any part of the body that makes contact with the pavement can develop abrasions.

How Serious is Road Rash?

Most cases of road rash heal in a few weeks. Some individuals may require extensive reconstructive surgery to repair the damage caused by road rash. Additionally, severe cases of road rash can result in life-threatening complications.

There are three basic degrees of road rash.

First-Degree Road Rash

First-degree road rash is the mildest form of abrasions. The skin may not be broken, but may appear as if the person has a severe sunburn. With a first-degree abrasion, the skin may have some small scrapes, but there are no open wounds.

Second-Degree Road Rash

A second-degree abrasion damages deeper layers of skin. The skin may break open in several areas, which allows dirt, gravel, glass, and other debris to enter the wound. A doctor must carefully remove the debris before cleaning and caring for the world.

Third-Degree Road Rash

The most severe degree of road rash is third-degree road rash. Multiple layers of the skin are injured. In severe cases, muscle, fat, and tissue may be exposed. The wounds may be bleeding freely. Immediate medical care is required.

How is Motorcycle Road Rash Treated?

Some cases of road rash may be treated at home. However, a physician should examine the area and make that decision. If the road rash is a minor abrasion, the doctor may advise the person to follow proper wound care.

Mild road rash may require daily cleaning with antibacterial soap. The area should be dried thoroughly before applying antibacterial cream and clean bandages. A doctor can provide detailed instructions for wound care.

Complications and Infections from Road Rash

A danger with road rash is infection. Even mild cases of road rash can become infected and result in life-threatening conditions.

It is essential to observe the area for signs or symptoms of infection. The area may be infected if you notice:

  • Pus
  • Fever
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Warmth around the infected area
  • Foul-smelling Drainage
  • Flu-like symptoms, including chills, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, and sore throat
  • Wounds that do not heal

Two serious infections that can develop from road rash are necrotizing fasciitis and  Staph infection. Both infections can become life-threatening and result in sepsis and multiple organ failure.

Individuals generally need immediate medical care, including hospitalization. If the infections are not treated, they could result in permanent impairments and death.

Are There Ways to Prevent Road Rash During a Motorcycle Accident?

There is no way to know what will happen during a motorcycle accident. However, there are steps that a motorcyclist can take to reduce the risk of injury from a motorcycle crash, including road rash.

Some steps riders can take include:

  • Wearing leather riding clothing, including shirts, pants, and jackets.
  • Choose riding gloves that are leather and have padding over the back of the hand and around the knuckles and fingers.
  • Always wear a motorcycle helmet with a face shield.
  • Wearing riding boots to protect feet, ankles, and legs.

If you are in a motorcycle accident, call 911 to report the crash and request help. Remain at the accident scene until police arrive. It is generally best to be checked by a physician, even if you do not believe your injuries are serious.

Motorcycle injuries can lead to more serious conditions. To protect your health and your chances of recovering compensation for your damages, document your injuries through medical treatment as soon as possible.

Do not agree to provide a written or recorded statement to the insurance company without talking to a motorcycle accident lawyer. Once you provide a formal statement, you are locked into what is said during that statement. Consulting with an attorney can help you avoid mistakes that could hurt your chance of recovering maximum compensation for a motorcycle accident claim.