There are many different injuries bicyclists, motorcyclists, and other outdoor recreational enthusiasts might suffer at any given time. Motorcycle accidents can have a life-changing impact, and even minor injuries can leave motorcycle riders and cyclists in the hospital for days or even weeks. 

One of the most common injuries motorcycle owners and frequent bike riders experience is road rash. Road rash occurs when a person’s skin rubs against a rough surface causing an abrasion. In the case of a motorcycle or bike accident, it is often the skin on a person’s legs, arms, shoulders, or hands that rub against the asphalt.

In a typical year, there can be more than 20,000 road rash cases reported and treated in hospitals around the country. While the vast majority are discharged quickly and sent home, others need further care, and a small but significant minority actually die. 

What can make a case of road rash especially challenging to deal with is when it happens due to another person’s negligence. Motorcyclists and bicyclists are at a safety disadvantage, and when the driver of a car fails to exercise the necessary caution around their two-wheeled neighbors, the consequences can be devastating.

If you have suffered from road rash, it is helpful to know more information about the condition and what’s involved. It is also a good idea to consult with a lawyer to see if there is legal action you can take against the liable party. As you work to recover, you can seek damages to help you cover everything from medical bills to lost wages to pain and suffering.

Symptoms of Road Rash

In some ways, road rash is like a burn. In many cases, the injury is superficial and light. However, in severe cases, the skin abrasion can go all the way down to the bone and require significant medical care.

In addition to causing burn-like symptoms, road rash can also include or happen in tandem with:

  • Broken bones
  • Bruising
  • Nerve damage
  • Foreign objects such as glass or rocks entering the affected area

If you find foreign objects in the wound, you will need to be aware of the possibility of infection and make sure all objects are removed. 

How to Treat Road Rash

While many cases of road rash require professional medical treatment, the majority of cases are treated at home. If you are treating your case of road rash on your own, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before you begin. Trying to clean and treat the affected area with unwashed hands could complicate your case further.

After washing your hands you should:

  • Wash the affected area lightly with soap
  • Clear the area of any debris that was embedded in your skin
  • Use antibiotic ointment to stave off infection
  • Bandage the affected area

In order to prevent infection, make sure to repeat this process regularly and change the bandage often. If your road rash is slow to improve, starts getting worse, or begins to smell, seek medical attention immediately.

Tips for Helping Your Case

Not every case of road rash is going to require legal action. However, if you have been injured in a motorcycle or bike accident caused by another driver’s negligence, there are several things you should do to increase your chances of a successful outcome should you decide to pursue compensation.

The first and most important thing you should do is contact a skilled personal injury lawyer who specializes in motorcycle and bike accidents. The sooner you do this the better as it will give your lawyer the time necessary to investigate your case and determine whether the collection of damages is likely. 

You should also remember as much as you can about the accident. Sometimes the trauma or shock of an accident can make remembering details difficult. It might be worthwhile to write down what happened as soon as possible after seeking medical care. You can also talk to witnesses to get their take on the accident. 

Finally, wait to interact with the other party and their insurance company until your lawyer is present. The initial exchange of facts is fine, but wait to go into detail, and never admit it was your fault.