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Without proper protection, a motorcycle crash can result in serious injuries such as traumatic brain injury, broken bones, and road rash. Although not a life-threatening injury, road rash is still serious and can be extremely dangerous if not treated properly. Various complications can arise in the aftermath of a road rash injury.

Types of road rash injuries

Road rash is a severe abrasion to the skin that occurs when a motorcyclist loses control or is hit by another vehicle and slides uncontrollably across a road surface or pavement. Sometimes hazardous roadway conditions can cause these accidents. There are varying severities to this injury, ranging from first- to third-degree road rash.

  • 1st Degree Road Rash: This is the least severe type of road rash and often does not even require medical care. The skin is often reddened, but not broken. Some pain is involved.
  • 2nd Degree Road Rash: This type of road rash includes some breaking of the skin’s outer layer. The injury may include pain, bleeding, and some hindered movement. Usually, treatment is applied with over-the-counter lotion or ointment.
  • 3rd Degree Road Rash: This level of road rash involves the exposure of all layers of the skin. The danger with third-degree road rash is infection, some which could potentially be life-threatening. MRSA is one deadly type of infection. Other results of this type of road rash can include permanent disfigurement or severe scarring, requiring multiple skin grafts and cosmetic surgeries to repair. Without proper treatment, the victim may suffer permanent tissue, nerve, and muscle damage. Treatment often includes IV antibiotics.

The severity of a road rash injury may be attributed to the speed of the crash and the type of road surface involved. As the skin slides along the surface of the roadway or pavement, various particles such as road debris, gravel, metal fragments, and broken glass may embed into the skin. This can increase the possibility of serious infections.

Some of the results of road rash include:


Scarring is common outcome from road rash injuries. The new skin that forms to replace the lost top layers of skin is tighter than normal to keep the wound sealed. It also does not have sweat glands or hair follicles. During recovery from road rash, the skin also may become inflamed, resulting in damage to healthy skin, and producing a different color of skin than the surrounding skin. These scars may fade over time or they may be permanent.

Bacterial infections

When particles from the ground surface become lodged in the skin, the opportunity for bacteria to enter the blood stream is increased. MRSA, as mentioned above, is a severe bacterial staph infection that resists most antibiotic treatments. It can spread into vital organs if not treated quickly, and result in organ failure.


When road rash causes infections that increase the swelling around the injured area, resulting in the production of excess fluid, it is called edema. This excess fluid can inhibit the normal flow of blood, resulting in significant pain and affecting muscle and organ function.

If you or a loved one suffered road rash injuries in a Chicago motorcycle or bike crash, the experienced motorcycle accident attorneys at Gainsberg Law P.C. want to help. To set up a free consultation, please call us today at 312.600.9585 or complete our contact form.