Road Rash Injury From Motorcycle Accidents


One of the most common injuries in motorcycle accidents is a specific type of skin abrasion popularly known as “road rash.” Road rash, also called a friction burn, occurs when a motorcyclist slides across the pavement after tipping over or falling off their bike, the rough road surfaces scraping against their skin. Depending on the severity of a road rash injury, a motorcyclist may suffer severe complications and require significant medical treatment.

Degrees of a Road Rash

Medical professionals grade road rash injuries similar to how they grade burns. Road rash injuries come in three degrees of severity:

  • First degree is the least severe form of road rash, which includes minor cuts, scrapes, bruising, redness, tenderness, and minor bleeding. First-degree road rashes may cause the skin to appear swollen, resembling a sunburn. First-degree road rashes only require first aid and home treatment.
  • Second degree is a more severe type of injury requiring medical attention since the injury has broken deeper into the skin. Second-degree road rash injuries can cause bleeding, swelling, and tenderness. The skin may feel hot to the touch. Debris, like rocks and glass, may also become lodged in the skin.
  • Third degree is the most severe type of road rash injury and involves skin loss, open sores, significant bleeding, and exposure of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones.

How to Treat Road Rashes

Minor road rash injuries can be treated at home by taking the following steps:

  • Gently rise and clean the injury with lukewarm water and mild soap. Use tweezers to remove any foreign objects lodged in the skin.
  • Apply an antibiotic ointment, which will help prevent infection and keep the skin moisturized.
  • Cover the injury with a bandage or sterile gauze to protect it from infection.
  • Change bandaging often, at least once a day, or more frequently if the bandage becomes soaked with blood.
  • Check the injury for signs of infection, such as worsening pain, fluid discharge, or fever.
  • Use over-the-counter pain medications as necessary.

More severe road rash injuries will require hospitalization and intensive care, such as debridement to clean wounds, skin grafts, or surgeries to repair open wounds.

What to Do When Your Road Rash is Infected

A road rash injury may be becoming infected if you notice increasing redness and swelling, bad-smelling drainage or pus from the wound, and flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, and muscle aches. If you think your road rash injury has become infected, you should see a doctor immediately. Your doctor can clean the wound and prescribe antibiotics to help treat the infection and prevent it from spreading.

How to Prevent Road Rash Injuries

Motorcyclists can reduce their risk of road rash injuries by wearing riding leather or durable clothing that completely covers their arms and legs, as well as other protective equipment and clothing like ankle-high boots, gloves, and helmets.

Contact Our New York City Motorcycle Accident Lawyers

If you’ve suffered road rash from a motorcycle accident someone else caused, get the legal help you need to recover compensation for your medical treatment and other financial and personal losses. Contact Finz & Finz, P.C. today for a free, no-obligation consultation and find out how a motorcycle accident attorney can help you seek justice.