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The Hart Law Firm

How Bad Is It? Determining Road Rash Severity

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One of the most common types of non-fatal motorcycle injuries is road rash. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration estimates that even in minor collisions, 90 percent of motorcycle crash victims suffer from some—if not multiple—degrees of the injury. Parkland Memorial alone treats thousands of cases of motorcycle abrasions a year, varying from first-degree cuts to severe third-degree wounds.

So if you do suffer from road rash, how do you know if you need to get medical attention?

On a Scale of One to Three, How Bad Is Your Road Rash?

Road rash occurs as a result of your skin being dragged across the ground or pavement during a motorcycle crash. The force of the collision can either throw you to the ground where you will skid, or cause you to be dragged under your bike as it skids. Either way, any exposed skin will become grated by the ground, causing painful scrapes and abrasions.

Although most road rash injuries aren’t fatal by themselves—many motorcycle fatalities show signs of road rash along with other fatal injuries—the damage it can cause to tissue, muscle, nerves, as well as possible infection—could lead to permanent damage and scarring.

Make sure you get the proper treatment you need for your road rash type by knowing the difference between a minor and a traumatic abrasion.

Degrees of Severity

  • First Degree (minor). A first degree road burn is identified by small scrapes, redness, bruising, slight bleeding, and tenderness. Although you should still have it checked by a physician, you can probably clean and dress the wound yourself.
  • Second Degree (serious). Second degree rashes exhibit bleeding, swelling, radiate heat, and are painful to the touch. There will be exposed muscle, tendons, or nerves. Scarring is common, so make sure you keep the wound clean and seek medical attention immediately.
  • Third Degree (severe). Third-degree burns can cause the skin to actually flay off completely—damaging muscle, bone, and nerves. This type of wound can be identified by excessive bleeding, swelling, and pain, or lack thereof (nerve damage). You will most likely see exposed muscle, tendons, bones, or nerves—and it could cover more than 10 percent of your body. Scarring, deformity and infection are common, so it’s imperative that you seek medical attention immediately and try not to touch the abrasions as infection can set in quickly.

Getting Help to Soothe the Pain

After a motorcycle crash—even if the incident was small—you should still make sure your injuries are assessed by a medical professional. Not only can they help to positively diagnose the severity, but they can also properly clean and treat the cuts and abrasions to prevent possible infections.

Although many bikers claim road rash is a “badge of honor,” that badge can wind up affecting your life. When you suffer a catastrophic motorcycle injury as a result of someone else’s neglect, you’re entitled to compensation for your damages. Contact us today for a free consultation and review of your case. You don’t have to let your scars be the only thing you take away from your ordeal—let us help you get the help and peace of mind you deserve.  

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