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What Is Road Rash?

What Is Road RashRoad rash is a common injury following a traffic accident, particularly in the case of motorcyclists and bicyclists. No, it has nothing to do with any allergic reaction or systemic response like other rashes. Road rash is what happens when your skin is rubbed off by an abrasive surface, such as concrete, pavement, or gravel.

Any child with a skinned knee or person who has slipped on gravel or slid into second base knows the feeling of road rash. Road rash resulting from a vehicular accident is a whole other matter. The skin’s surface is often severely abraded with high friction, particulates, and force, which can lead to infection, scarring, and even nerve damage. In severe cases, road rash has led to traumatic shock and even death. If you suffered from road rash injuries due to another party’s negligence, make sure to protect your rights. Contact experienced motorcycle accident attorney at Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC as soon as possible.

Vehicular Accidents

There is an old adage among motorcyclists that says, “You don’t dress for the ride, you dress for the slide.” This is because a motorcyclist is especially vulnerable to road rash after just about any kind of accident. Wearing a helmet and leathers, especially in motorcycle riding, will reduce the damage from road rash in an accident significantly. In some cases, motorcycle riders without protective gear have sustained injuries due to road rash that require surgery to address. Road rash can cause muscle and nerve damage, as well as become infected very quickly.

Other activities can also result in these kinds of injuries. Rollerblading, bicycling, skateboarding, motocross racing, and a variety of other outdoor sports put you at the mercy of the surface of the road and friction.

Because of the need to reduce weight for performance, road bikers might wear a helmet and some lightweight, short-sleeved clothing when pedaling down the road. A fall at high speeds can be no different than dumping and sliding a motorcycle, and few cyclists ride with the kind of protection that motorcyclists do.

You can even get road rash from slipping and falling in a parking lot or any other surface. The combination of micro-lacerations, friction burns, and the impact can make for a very nasty wound. In most of these cases, proper warning of hazardous conditions or appropriate protective gear can prevent road rash.

How Do Doctors Treat It?

Unlike a laceration, not a lot can be done to administer immediate medical attention to road rash for a quick, painless recovery.

Road rash treatment relies on a few methods of first aid.

  • Control the bleeding: As with any injury, the first step is to reduce blood loss. Road rash can bleed for a long time, so you should always seek the attention of a medical professional depending on the severity of your injuries.
  • Clean the wound: Because of the nature of the wound, A doctor should clean the wound to reduce the chance of infection. For minor road rash, the doctor may do this with topical antiseptics like hydrogen peroxide or alcohol swabs. Even baby wipes containing antiseptics can remove blood, dirt, and even pieces of gravel. This will hurt, since the nerves in the skin are exposed. For more severe injuries, the emergency medical process usually involves irrigating the wound to remove blood and debris, and maybe even further abrading the damaged area with a surgical brush to remove debris from lower levels of the dermal tissue.
  • Skin grafts: If the damage is severe enough, your doctor may consider skin grafts to close the area and promote regeneration of lost tissue.
  • Time and care: Your skin is one of the most adaptive organs in the human body. It is good at repairing itself, provided the area is kept clean. Doctors may prescribe bandages and ointments to promote healing and reduce the chance of infection. Eventually, the skin will knit together again, hopefully only leaving you with a scar and some painful memories of the experience.

Here are some potentially serious impacts of road rash:

  • Infection: When the body’s immune system is compromised, things can turn bad quickly. In the case of road rash, any piece of debris can carry with it the possibility of infection. This can lead to sepsis and other blood-borne infections, even gangrene, which may require amputation in the worse cases.
  • Death: If an infection is left untreated, an injury of this kind can become fatal.
  • Disfigurement: Massive scarring can lead to permanent disfigurement. Unlike other injuries that a doctor can stitch closed, scar tissue is often more widespread than lacerations when it comes to abrasion injuries. Multiple surgeries might be required to curtail the damage done by road rash. In many cases, this kind of surgery might be considered “cosmetic” by insurance companies, even though it affects your physical and (especially) your mental health.
  • Pain and suffering: The road to recovery is a long and difficult one with road rash. Between infections, physical pain, and continual treatment, not only can the process physically exhaust you, it may also take a mental toll on you. Speak with a mental health professional if you feel as though your injuries are causing anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress.

Protect Your Rights

Joseph L. Benson II, Esq.
Car accident attorney, Joseph L. Benson II, Esq.

Like any personal injury, road rash is often preventable, but due to someone’s negligence, you may need to put the pieces of your life back together. Road rash varies in degrees of seriousness, from a scrape to permanent disfigurement. Inadequate signage, availability of safety equipment, and direct impact resulting from careless driving or other vehicle-based injuries deserve compensation.

You might feel overwhelmed by the mounting medical bills, loss of work, and the mental anguish you experience from a disfiguring injury. Insurance companies will do anything they can to low-ball you on an insurance claim during the often slow and arduous process of recovery.

If you suffered from road rash injuries due to another party’s negligence, make sure to protect your rights by consulting an experienced motorcycle accident attorney at Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC as soon as possible. Both Joe Benson and Ben Bingham own and operate motorcycles personally, and understand the merits of litigating motorcycle injury cases’ successfully.


Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC
626 S 10th St
Las Vegas, NV 89101
702-382-9797

Benson and Bingham