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The Severity of Road Rash Injuries`

Motorcycle accidents often mean the victim is left with road rash. The dictionary definition of road rash is “mild to severe skin abrasion resulting from a fall (as from a bicycle or motorcycle) which usually involves sliding on a hard rough surface.”

While these injuries may appear mild, complacency can result in infections, scars, and pain. See a doctor immediately after a motorcycle accident and have the wounds checked.

Factors That Determine Road Rash Severity

Road rash is common in sporting accidents, bicycle accidents, and motorcycle accidents. The severity of road rash is determined by several factors including what protective equipment the victim may be wearing at the time of the fall.

Some other factors include:

  • Speed of the vehicle striking the victim.
  • How fast the victim was moving at the time their skin came in contact with the ground.
  • The texture and firmness of the surface the victim struck.
  • Weather conditions.
  • How far the victim slid on the surface.

Degrees and Treatment of Road Rash Injuries

Victims of road rash usually notice they have a series of scrapes along parts of their body that struck the road after being thrown from a bicycle, motorcycle, or moving vehicle. While the victim may suffer other injuries such as head trauma, or broken bones, it does not mean their road rash is not serious.

There are different levels of road rash which are normally categorized as degrees.

  • First degree road rash – Occurs when the upper layer of skin is torn away. Usually, this type of road rash can be easily treated at home. Treatment normally consists of keeping the wound clean, and using an antibiotic ointment on the wound to avoid infection.
  • Second degree road rash – The upper two layers of skin are disrupted and the wounds tend to bleed. These wounds can also be treated at home and may require the victim to keep the wound covered to minimize bleeding. These wounds can result in infections which could mean the wound will have to be treated with more aggressive treatment than over-the-counter antibiotic ointments.
  • Third degree road rash – This type of road rash is often referred to as an avulsion wound and can be very serious. Victims are advised to keep the wounds clean, monitor closely for signs of infection, and monitor themselves for increased body temperatures. Surgical tape, stitches, or staples, may close these wounds depending on the depth of the wound.

In third degree road rash, multiple sites on a victim’s may rip open. This can be very painful, and victims may wind up spending several days in the hospital being treated. Typically, a doctor will recommend the victim receive a tetanus shot if they have third degree road rash.

Hospitalizations and Deaths as a Result of Serious Road Rash

An older study published by the American College of Surgeons reviewed motorcycle accident statistics in one year to determine how many victims of road rash were determined to be serious. This study provided some surprising statistics on the severity of some road rash incidents involving motorcycle accidents. More than 20,000 injuries were reviewed and more than 13,000 victims were sent home immediately, which means the majority of road rash injuries were probably first or second degree.

However, the other 7,000 were very serious, resulting in 400 deaths and nearly 2,000 victims being sent to acute care facilities. On average, victims were 40 years old and stayed in the hospital. Many were in intensive care for nearly six days. These statistics provide only one example of how road rash can be more serious than a series of cuts and bruises.

Future Treatment and Potential Surgical Procedures

Once a third-degree road rash victim has been discharged from the hospital, they will still have to overcome the pain and challenges of treating their wounds. Third-degree road rash can also leave serious scars. If the wounds are on the victim’s face or other exposed skin, they can cause anxiety and insecurity for the victim. The wounds may also require skin grafting to repair, and this process may have to be repeated if the grafting fails. Victims could be laid up for several weeks during their treatment.

South Carolina Personal Injury Rules You Should Know

Victims who have suffered serious road rash injuries should be aware they may have the basis for a motorcycle accident lawsuit following an accident. This would apply if your injuries are the result of someone’s negligent behavior or actions. However, S.C. Code Ann. section 15-3-530 gives victims a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit following an accident. The statute of limitations provides victims three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit.

Contacting a bicycle or motorcycle accident attorney following an accident where you suffered a serious road rash should be a priority for you, or a family member acting on your behalf. Having someone by your side to advocate for you and help with insurance company negotiations can be extremely helpful. The more serious the road rash injury, the more helpful legal advice can become.

Hiring a Motorcycle Accident Attorney for Road Rash

Hughey Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyer
Nathan Hughey, Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Victims of motorcycle accidents often wonder if hiring an attorney is worth their time. The fact is, not hiring an attorney could lead to more financial burdens. Insurance companies may attempt to offer a quick settlement after an injury because they believe if you accept their initial settlement, they will escape further liability.

When you hire an attorney to represent you, you are working with someone who has experience dealing with cases where victims are suffering serious injury and are facing future medical bills, lost wages, and other issues. Remember, insurance companies are not working alone, they have a team of lawyers advising them on how to keep their financial exposure low. You need someone on your side who will advocate on your behalf and will make sure you have the best chance of getting the maximum compensation for your injuries.

Contact an attorney immediately and let them focus on getting you the settlement you deserve, while you focus on recovering from your injuries.


Hughey Law Firm LLC
1311 Chuck Dawley Blvd. | Suite 201
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464
Phone: 843-881-8644

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