What is Road Rash?

Medium photo closeup of a bandaged arm, with red road rash visible around the bandages, symbolizing the need for a car accident lawyer.

Road rash is a common injury suffered by people in accidents when a person's body strikes the ground. These often include car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle crashes, and pedestrian accidents. Simply stated, road rash is a type of abrasion or scrape. The scraping of skin against a rough road surface results in injuries referred to as a road rash.

Over the years, our legal team has represented many people who have suffered road rash in a variety of accidents. These types of injuries range from minor scratches to serious abrasions with tissue damage that cause lifelong damage. Road rash injuries can result in significant recoveries when the injuries are caused by the negligence of another person.

What is road rash?
Road rash

What Causes Road Rash?

Road rash is caused when a person's skin scrapes against the ground. When a person's skin comes into contact with a rough road surface, like asphalt, it encounters friction. Friction is the resistance experienced by one surface as it moves against another surface.

The friction between the road and skin physically scrapes the skin. Human skin can be seriously damaged by this resistance when it slides across a road surface.

Road rash most often happens in accidents when people are thrown from their vehicles and physically contact the ground at speed. A common example is when a motorcycle operator is struck by a car and is thrown to the ground. The operator usually will slide across the road surface, which in turn causes road rash.

What Are Common Symptoms of Road Rash?

Road rash typically can be seen immediately after an accident. An area of the body that suffers from road rash often looks red and raw. The skin has been physically scraped, and at times may both feel and look like a bad burn. Bleeding is a common symptom, but certain abrasions may not necessarily bleed. Road rash is often very painful.

Road rash injuries can range from relatively minor to incredibly serious. At minimum, skin will be scraped to show a visible abrasion. Less serious abrasions may involve only the top level of the skin or may only cover a limited area. More serious road rash injuries may cause deeper damage to the skin, penetrating through several layers of tissue and even exposing bone. Serious abrasions may also cause severe bleeding.

You should contact a doctor immediately if you experience road rash and have any questions about whether formal treatment is necessary.

Common Treatment for Road Rash

While there are common treatments for road rash, it is best to contact a doctor immediately if you have suffered road rash and have any questions regarding how to care for the injury. For less serious injuries, there are common treatments that can help.

Dr. Chelsea Mann, a family medicine physician with the Mayo Clinic Health System, provided certain tips for treating minor abrasions. These include:

  • Thoroughly washing your hands prior to touching any wound;
  • Thoroughly cleaning and rinsing the area with lukewarm water (being careful not to abrasively scrub the wound);
  • Removing all debris and dirt from the wound;
  • Applying a layer of Bacitracin or an antibacterial ointment or petroleum jelly to the wound;
  • Covering the cleaned abrasion with a non-stick bandage;
  • Changing the bandage daily;
  • Checking for signs of infection.

If you have any question about the proper treatment for a road rash injury, it is best to speak to a medical professional. That way a doctor can advise you as to the proper care and treatment for any skin abrasion, whether it is a lesser or more serious wound.

The Risk of Infection with Road Rash

Infection is always a serious risk for any wound. If a wound is not properly cleaned and cared for then it may become infected. An infection can worsen rapidly and cause devastating health risks.

Warnings signs of an infected wound can include:

  • Redness and swelling;
  • Foul-smelling discharge or pus from the wound or area;
  • Increased pain;
  • Fever or other flu-like symptoms;
  • Lack of healing in the area.

Again, if you think you may have any possibility of infection it is best to seek formal medical help immediately. Infections can worsen rapidly. If an infection is caught early, the wound may be properly cleaned and a course of antibiotics may help limit the infection.

If the infection is not treated quickly, it can cause other, more serious health problems. These can include delayed healing, tissue damage, tissue death, and in worse case situations sepsis or blood poisoning. Sepsis can be fatal. For these reasons, contact a doctor immediately if you are worried you have any risk of infection from road rash.

How Long Does Road Rash Take to Heal?

Recovery from road rash depends on the severity of the abrasion. Properly cared for, minor abrasions may heal in a matter of weeks. More serious abrasions may require more serious treatment and have a prolonged recovery time. Serious road rash that causes extensive tissue damage can require skin graft surgery. In these cases, recovery can take far longer or result in certain permanent limitations and scarring.

Common Accidents Involving Road Rash

Road rash injuries are typically caused by a person being physically thrown to the ground. When the person is thrown to the ground at speed and scrapes across the ground, it can cause road rash.

It is less common for these types of injuries to occur in a collision between two cars, unless a person is not restrained by a seat belt and is ejected from the vehicle. Road rash is more commonly caused in accidents when a person is not protected by being inside of a vehicle. These include:

  • Motorcycle accidents, when the motorcycle operator is thrown from the vehicle;
  • Bicycle accidents, when the cyclist is thrown from the bike;
  • Pedestrian strikes, when a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle and thrown to the ground;
  • Skateboarding accidents, when a skateboarder is hit or caused to fall;
  • Roller skating falls;
  • Trip and fall incidents, when a person is caused to fall and impacts the ground.

There are other ways in which a person can suffer road rash injuries. If you have been injured in any accident and have suffered road rash or serious abrasions, contact our firm today to discuss your potential claims. The initial consultation is completely free. We never get paid unless we recovery money in your case.

Can I Sue Someone for Causing Road Rash Injuries?

You may have a claim for damages and compensation if you have been injured in an accident and have suffered road rash injuries. This depends on the facts of the accident and whether someone was negligent. A person can be negligent if they failed to act reasonably under the circumstances.

An example of negligence in a case involving road rash can be if a driver fails to stop at a stop sign and strikes a person on a motorcycle. The motorcyclist is thrown from his or her vehicle and suffers road rash injuries. Given the at-fault driver was negligent for failing to stop at the stop sign, he should be responsible for the injuries caused in the accident. The injured motorcyclist could bring a claim for money damages.

In cases we have handled that have involved road rash injuries, we fight to maximize our clients' compensation for those injuries. There are different types of damages that can be claimed for road rash injuries. Some of these include:

  • Physical pain and suffering caused by road rash;
  • Scarring and disfigurement caused by the damage to the skin;
  • Past and future medical bills;
  • Mental and emotional pain and suffering;
  • Past and future lost wages if the injuries prevent someone from working.

These areas of damages are just common examples. There may be additional categories of damages that apply to your potential case if you have suffered road rash injuries. Our firm has years of experience in handling case that include road rash injuries.

Contact our team of personal injury lawyers today if you have any questions about a potential claim for road rash injuries. The initial consultation is completely free. Also, we only get paid a fee if we recovery money in your case.

Road Rash and Limited Tort Insurance

Drivers in Pennsylvania have the option of choosing different types of auto insurance. One type is called full tort and the other is called limited tort. People who elect full tort insurance have no limitation on their ability to sue a negligent driver for money damages. However, people with limited tort insurance can only recover pain and suffering damages if they suffer a more serious injury.

Road rash injuries can often help overcome this limitation. Road rash carries a risk of scarring and disfigurement. Scarring and disfigurement from road rash can be unsightly and cause people embarrassment, humiliation, and depression. It can be permanent and last throughout a person's life. More serious road rash that causes permanent scarring may be helpful in overcoming the limited tort restriction on damages.

In Pennsylvania, a person who is injured while a pedestrian should not be limited by limited tort.

Motorists in New Jersey also deal with limited tort insurance. In New Jersey it is often called a limitation on lawsuit option. Unlike in Pennsylvania, pedestrians injured in a car accident case in New Jersey may still be limited in their ability to bring a claim for damages.

A person injured in a car accident in New Jersey may still recover non-monetary damages like pain and suffering if he or she suffers significant scarring or disfigurement. See Section 39:6A-8. Road rash injuries that result in scarring or disfigurement may help overcome the limitation on lawsuit option and allow an injured victim to recovery pain and suffering damages.

If you have been injured in an accident in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, the experienced road rash accident lawyers at Mattiacci Law can help. Our attorneys have nearly two decades of experience in handling accidents that have caused road rash. We fight to maximize our clients' recoveries for road rash injuries and other damages.

Our car accident lawyers stand ready to answer your questions. We are here to help. Contact our firm now for a free consultation. The initial consultation is completely free. We also do not get paid unless we recover money in your case.

Call our firm at 215-608-1643 or call toll free at 866-617-0050.

Rate this Post