Personal Injury

Understanding motorcycle road rash injuries

When it comes to motorcycle accident injuries, we often think of brain trauma or broken bones. Yet, those are not the only serious injuries motorcycle accidents produce. Road rash is another common and severe one, especially if not treated promptly, allowing complications to develop.

If another person’s negligence caused the motorcycle accident leading to your experience with road rash, connect with a Kansas City personal injury lawyer from the team at Langdon & Emison. We are here to help you seek compensation to cover your losses and restore justice.

motorcycle road rash

What exactly is a road rash?

What are commonly called road rash injuries are actually friction burns. They occur when bicyclists or motorcyclists are involved in crashes, causing their skin to come in rough contact with the road. The friction between the road and the skin results in a scrape or abrasion.

When the scrape is surface-level deep, it can heal quickly with proper treatment. Road rash that goes deeper can damage the soft tissue beneath the layers of skin. Typically, the injuries produce bleeding and leave those injured with bright red wounds. If the road surface is scattered with debris or loose gravel, small pieces of that debris can become embedded in the skin, leading to infection.

How do motorcycle accidents cause road rash injuries?

Motorcycle accidents usually occur when motorcycles travel at moderate or high speeds. When motorcyclists hit the pavement, they will likely remain in motion for some distance, being dragged across the roadway. It is easy to see why the friction burns sustained in this type of accident can be intense.

Motorcyclists have little protection when involved in accidents. Though helmeted riders may be protected from facial burns, the rest of their bodies are more vulnerable. Wearing protective clothing can help, but not all riders wear full-body gear, and no gear is foolproof. It can be torn upon impact or dragged along the ground, exposing skin to pavement.

Symptoms range from mild to severe

The severity of the injury and its potential consequences depend on various factors, including the effectiveness of protective gear, the power of the crash, and the type of road surface.


Those fortunate enough to escape with mild road rash, also called “first-degree,” will experience abrasions affecting the top layer of skin. With proper cleaning and wound care, these scrapes usually heal fully. Still, victims must monitor the wound. Even mild road rash injuries can become infected and lead to complications.


Moderate or “second-degree” road rash produces abrasions that go deeper than the skin’s top layer. Moderate road rash can produce open wounds with skin blistering and significant pain. It is best to seek medical treatment for these second-degree burns to ensure they are properly cleaned and dressed to prevent infection.


Severe, or “third-degree,” friction burns damage the skin and the soft tissue beneath it. The skin may be damaged enough to expose muscles, bones, and tendons. Victims need immediate medical care as third-degree road rash comes with a high risk for infection, scarring, and other complications, including nerve damage and limited mobility or sensation in affected parts of the body.

According to the University of Alabama, some Incidences of severe road rash warrant care from burn specialists. The Journal of Burn Care and Research supported this recommendation in a recently published study.

road rash motorcycles

Effects of road rash injuries

During recovery, victims may require hospitalization or outpatient therapy. In either scenario, they may miss time away from working and earning. If their wounds require more time to heal, victims may be out of work long-term or only able to return to work in a limited capacity. The combination of medical costs and reduced income is a recipe for financial distress.

The trauma of the accident, the physical pain of the injury, and the potential for permanent scarring can leave victims suffering emotionally. Their injuries may prevent them from participating in their daily and social lives as they had before the accident, prompting loneliness and the onset of depression. If the injuries cause disfigurement, their altered appearance, and the fear of how others will react to it, which can produce high levels of anxiety.

Victims of road rash injuries caused by someone else’s negligence have the right to seek compensation for their losses. The team at Langdon & Emison can help. We tirelessly hold at-fault parties accountable and get victims a just settlement.

Helping accident victims is what we do at Langdon & Emison

Road rash and motorcycles, which are unfortunate but common combinations. If you have sustained a severe road rash injury and need justice, Langdon & Emison is ready to help. We serve accident victims in Missouri and Illinois through our offices in Lexington, St. Louis, N. Kansas City, and Chicago.

Reach out for a free consultation with a message or by calling (866) 931-2115.