blog home Motorcycle Accident Don’t Downplay the Danger of Road Rash

By Renee Nordstrand on August 8, 2020

motorcyclist driving down a long wooded highway

When you think of road rash, you may imagine a child falling off of their first bike and skinning their knee or a teen stumbling as they try to flip their skateboard and scratching their arm. But the truth is, road rash is a dangerous injury that many motor vehicle accident victims suffer.

While most of us have experienced a minor form of road rash at some point in our lives, the more severe road rash injuries can affect you for the rest of your life.

The Long Term Impact

A road rash usually occurs when your skin rubs against a rough surface, often pavement, concrete, or dirt, causing tiny abrasions. While to the naked eye the wound appears like a red, swollen rash, upon closer inspection it is actually made up of hundreds of tiny cuts. In minor cases of road rash, these cuts can easily heal on their own as long as they have been properly cleaned. Severe kinds of road rash, however, are much more difficult to recover from.

Catastrophic road rash, like what you would experience in a motorcycle accident, for example, may not just impact your skin, but also your muscle and even bone. When you hit the ground hard enough and slide across it for long enough, the pavement can cut away all of your skin, then your muscle, until finally reaching your bone. In the process, you may even suffer nerve damage. These sorts if injuries will often require extensive surgery, even skin grafts, in order to heal properly. That can cause permanent scars.

If the accident severely injured your muscle, it is possible that you will be left permanently disabled, as the muscle may not fully recover. A catastrophic case of road rash on your leg may make it difficult to support your upper body, thus limiting your mobility.


Road rash injuries, whether minor or severe, need to be properly cleaned. When our skin is worn down by a rough surface, small pieces of that pavement, dirt, pebbles, and other debris can become embedded in our skin. This introduces harmful bacteria which can lead to serious infections. Even a minor case of road rash can cause a potentially deadly infection if not cleaned properly.

For example, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, more commonly known as MRSA, is a highly dangerous infection that can strike your lungs, bloodstream, and urinary tract, and is a common aftereffect of uncleaned road rash injuries. MRSA is resistant to most anti-biotics and very difficult to properly treat, especially after it has started to spread. When left untreated for too long, it can cause fatal organ failure.

MRSA is not the only thing to be aware of, however. Infections often produce fluid and cause severe swelling. The excess fluid and swelling, if not treated, can cause the blood flow to slow in the affected area. This in turn will cause your muscles to suffocate and die. This type of infection is called edema and is extremely painful and potentially fatal.

Getting Medical Help

After a road rash injury, you should always seek medical attention. Even if you believe the wound is minor, you should speak with a medical professional, as getting it properly cleaned is paramount. An infection can easily lead to further complications that will impact you for years to come, or even for your entire life. You should especially seek medical attention if you have experienced road rash that extends beyond your skin, as that will require medical intervention in order to properly heal.

Road rash is an incredibly serious injury, and it is all too common in motorcycle accidents. If your road rash was caused by an act of negligence, contact Nordstrand Black PC at (805) 962-2022 to get the legal aid of a Santa Barbara personal injury attorney. We will fight for our clients to get them the compensation they need to live their life as comfortably as possible while they recover from their injuries.

Posted in: Motorcycle Accident