By Adam B. Lawler | July 5, 2024

Road Rash from Motor Vehicle Accidents

Road Rash from Motor Vehicle Accidents
Motorcycle collision causes road rash

Road rash is a common injury in motor vehicle accidents. It refers to a type of friction burn that happens when a person's skin comes into contact with the pavement during a crash. This injury can range from minor scrapes and abrasions to more severe deep lacerations and tissue damage.

While the term may sound relatively straightforward, the challenges of road rash cases are often underestimated. Determining fault in motor vehicle accidents involving road rash can be challenging, as it requires a thorough investigation to establish negligence or liability.

Additionally, the extent of the injury and effects on the victim's life must be carefully evaluated to ensure they receive appropriate compensation. If you have been affected by road rash from a motor vehicle accident, always seek legal representation from an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. Contact an attorney near you today to discuss your case and understand your rights and legal options.

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Overview of Road Rash

As mentioned above, road rash is a term to describe the painful skin abrasions and lacerations that occur when a person's body slides or scrapes against a rough surface, such as the pavement, during a motor vehicle accident. It commonly affects areas of the body exposed to the ground, such as the arms, legs, hands, and face. The severity of road rash injuries can vary greatly, ranging from mild abrasions to deep wounds that require extensive medical treatment.

The accident's initial impact causes the skin's outer layer to rub against the pavement, resulting in abrasions. These abrasions can range from superficial scrapes to deep cuts that expose underlying tissue and muscle. In some cases, road rash injuries can lead to permanent scarring and disfigurement, as well as complications such as infections, nerve damage, and loss of function in the affected area.

What Types of Accidents Can Cause Road Rash?

Road rash commonly occurs in accidents involving motorcycles, bicycles, skateboards, and other non-enclosed vehicles. These accidents can be caused by various factors, including reckless driving, distracted driving, speeding, failure to yield, and impaired driving. The vulnerability of riders and lack of protective barriers make them more prone to road rash injuries compared to occupants of enclosed vehicles.

Motorcycle accidents are particularly notorious for causing severe road rash injuries due to the high-speed impact and lack of protection. The combination of friction, impact, and the weight of the motorcycle can result in deep abrasions and lacerations, often requiring extensive medical intervention and rehabilitation.

Diagnosing and Treating Road Rash

A doctor holds an X-ray of a patient with a hand injury.

Diagnosing road rash typically involves a physical examination by a healthcare provider. They will assess the severity of the injury by determining the depth, size, and location of the abrasions and lacerations. In some cases, imaging tests such as X-rays may be necessary to evaluate for underlying fractures or broken bones.

Treatment for road rash injuries depends on the severity of the injury. It is always wise to have road rash professionally cleaned and examined. More severe road rash injuries may require surgical intervention, including wound debridement to remove dead tissue and prevent infection, skin grafting to promote healing and minimize scarring, and ongoing wound care and rehabilitation.

Seek medical attention as soon as possible after a motor vehicle accident to ensure timely diagnosis and treatment of road rash injuries. Prompt medical intervention can help prevent complications and facilitate a quicker and more effective recovery.

Losses from Road Rash Injuries

A depressed man after road rash injuries

Road rash injuries can have a significant impact on the physical, emotional, and financial well-being of the victims. The immediate and long-term losses may include:

Medical Expenses

The cost of initial emergency treatment, hospitalization, surgeries, medications, follow-up appointments, and rehabilitation can add up quickly. Road rash injuries often require ongoing medical care and may result in long-term medical expenses.

Pain and Suffering

Road rash injuries can cause severe pain, discomfort, and emotional distress. Victims may also experience anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of their injuries.

Lost Income

Recovering from road rash injuries may require time off work, leading to lost income. In severe cases, the injuries may result in temporary or permanent disability, impacting a person's ability to earn a living.

Property Damage

In addition to personal injuries, motor vehicle accidents can also cause damage to vehicles, motorcycles, and other personal property.

Rehabilitation and Therapy

Recovering from road rash injuries often requires rehabilitation and therapy to regain strength, mobility, and function. These expenses can be significant and may extend over an extended period.

Who is Liable for Your Losses?

Determining liability in motor vehicle accidents involving road rash can be complex. Several parties may be potentially liable for your losses, depending on the circumstances of the accident. These parties may include:

Other Drivers

If another driver's negligence or recklessness caused the accident, they may be liable for your road rash injuries and associated losses.

Vehicle Manufacturers

In some cases, defects in the vehicle or its components may contribute to the accident or worsen the injuries. The manufacturers or distributors may be liable for the damages in such instances.

Government Entities 

Poor road conditions, inadequate signage, or lack of proper maintenance by government entities can contribute to accidents and injuries. In such cases, the government entity responsible for the road's upkeep may be liable.


If the accident occurred during the course of your job, your employer may be held responsible for the injuries under certain circumstances.

Determining liability requires thoroughly investigating the accident, gathering evidence, and analyzing the facts. Seeking legal representation from an experienced personal injury attorney is critical in building a strong case and holding the responsible parties accountable.

Seeking Compensation for Road Rash

A person receiving cheque on account of road rash injury compensation

You may be entitled to compensation for your losses if you have suffered road rash injuries in a motor vehicle accident. Seeking legal representation from a personal injury lawyer is vital in navigating the complex legal process and maximizing your chances of receiving fair compensation. An attorney can:

  • Gather evidence to establish negligence or liability.
  • Calculate the full extent of your losses and future expenses.
  • Negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf.
  • File a personal injury lawsuit if a fair settlement cannot be reached.
  • Represent your interests in court, if necessary.

Contacting a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after the accident is important, as there are legal deadlines for filing a claim. An attorney will guide you through the process, protect your rights, and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Now

If you have suffered from road rash injuries in a motor vehicle accident, never wait to seek legal representation from an experienced personal injury lawyer. Contact a Marion personal injury lawyer today to discuss your case and understand your rights and legal options. Do not delay in protecting your rights and pursuing the compensation you deserve.

Adam B. Lawler

Attorney at Law / Partner

Adam Lawler is the founder of Lawler Brown. Adam is a 2004 graduate of Saint Louis University School of Law. Adam worked for a local firm until founding the Lawler Brown in 2009. Adam’s practice areas focus in Personal Injury, Business, Real Estate, Probate/Trust/Estate Administration and general litigation.

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