Road rash is a common injury in motorcycle accidents, although often underestimated. The focus tends to be on more urgent injuries such as head injuries, internal injuries, and broken bones. These injuries are certainly of highest priority when someone injured in a motorcycle accident reaches the emergency room for treatment. Yet road rash, or road burn, should never be ignored.
Road rash occurs when a motorcyclist is involved in a highway accident and her or his skin makes contact with pavement, concrete, gravel, or another roadway surface This contact with the roadway causes damage to the skin with scratches, cuts and bruises, and a burning of the skin. If the motorcyclist is dragged very far or slides very far, the road surface can reach the skin after burning through clothing – even the best protective jackets and gloves.
Road rash/road burn is not as simple or as minor as carpet burn or a simple scrape. It can affect several layers of skin, the underlying muscles or ligaments, and even bones. A road rash injury may be relatively minor and heal well, but it is more likely to be more severe, causing scarring or long-term effects.
Road rash injuries are typically classified in one of three levels of severity.
- First Degree road rash. This level of injury causes redness of the first layer of skin. In most cases, this does not require emergency treatment. One need only to clean the injured area with soap and water. A topical antibiotic can also be applied to prevent infection and aid healing. First degree road burn will usually heal on its own and only rarely causes any scarring.
- Second Degree road rash. This level of injury is marked by an actual breaking of the skin. This type of injury will typically require the same treatment as a first-degree injury and will also heal on its own in most cases.
- Third Degree road rash. In this most severe level of injury, the skin will be peeled back and underlying tissue will be visible. These injuries are susceptible to infection and require immediate medical care. The outcome of these injuries will likely be scarring, and they will often require skin grafts or reconstructive surgery.
More severe road burn injuries might involve more than damage to the skin. It can also cause internal bleeding, nerve damage, muscle damage, and infection. Treatment of the more severe levels of injury might require stitches, or skin grafts and even multiple reconstructive procedures.
Road rash can be very painful and require extensive treatment. Particularly in cases of severe injury, medical bills will be incurred and wages may be lost while the injuries are treated and heal. Scarring can cause emotional issues beyond embarrassment and loss of self-confidence. It is difficult to put a price on these injuries.
If you or a loved one incurs road rash injuries or any injuries in a motorcycle accident, it is important to seek immediate medical care. It is also important to take pictures of your injuries both immediately and throughout the treatment and healing process. It is also important to engage the assistance of an experienced attorney, who can help you navigate the recovery process and build a strong legal case. The trusted attorneys of Altizer Law, P.C. have been helping people who were injured in motorcycle accidents for more than 25 years. Bettina and Terri are fierce representatives of their clients and will bring their determination and skill to your case.