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Should I Contact An Attorney About A Road Rash Injury?

A crashed motorcycle and discarded helmet lie on the pavement.

After a road rash injury, the average motorcyclist in Yonkers may wonder about their legal rights and options – and they may consider a consultation with a New York motor vehicle accident attorney. While pursuing legal action may seem like a daunting prospect, injured motorcyclists take advantage of a number of avenues for seeking qualified advice. Stufano Law provides free case reviews, allowing injured motorcyclists to review their options with confidence. Although internet research can help illustrate the process of working alongside an attorney, scheduling a personalized consultation promptly may be advisable, due to the strict time limits associated with personal injury lawsuits. Consider contacting us right away at (914) 752-7746 to request your free case evaluation.

What Is Road Rash? 

Road rash is an informal phrase. The technical medical term for this injury is simply “abrasion.” The Cleveland Clinic explains that abrasions are caused by the friction of an uneven surface against the skin. When the uneven surface is gravel or pavement, the resulting abrasion is called “road rash,” with effects ranging from mild to devastating, depending on not just the total dermal surface area affected, but the depth of the abrasion. Serious cases of road rash can scrape away all layers of the skin, requiring extensive procedures like skin grafting. 

A 2017 article in the Journal of Safety Research, hosted by the National Institutes of Health, states that these soft tissue injuries are more common than any other for crashed motorcyclists. When skin comes into contact with the hard pavement at high speeds, painful scrapes, cuts, and burns can wipe away soft tissue, even down to the bone. The severe road rash often sustained in motorcycle accidents increases the chance of embedded foreign materials, infections, and other issues across the elbows, knees, and ankles. 

Symptoms of Road Rash 

The symptoms of road rash can vary, depending on the severity of the injury. The deeper the injury, the more serious its associated symptoms. Common symptoms and complications following a road rash include:

  • Reddened skin
  • Bleeding
  • Bruising 
  • Pain
  • Damage to the nerves or blood vessels
  • Broken bones
  • Foreign bodies in the wound, such as dirt or glass
  • Infection

In severe cases, road rash plaintiffs can suffer “traumatic tattoos.” These potentially disfiguring injuries develop when particles become embedded in the skin, causing permanent scarring and discoloration. 

Is Road Rash a Serious Injury? 

Road rash can be a serious injury, but it all depends on the severity of the accident and the depth of the wound. In many cases, road rash injury victims can receive effective help from first responders at crash scenes, usually beginning with basic first aid. Some treatments commonly available in the immediate aftermath of an accident might include sterilization with soap and dressing the wound to avoid infection. Seeking medical advice after an accident is almost always a good idea, but in general, minor road rash injuries can often heal within a few weeks. 

Other instances of road rash can result in more serious consequences, requiring hospitalization and intensive medical interventions. Surgery may be necessary to remove foreign bodies or reconstruct scarred tissue. Some victims of road rash work with burn experts to treat their injuries, due to the similarities in dermal damage. 

Can You Get Nerve Damage From Road Rash? 

Some accident victims may suffer road-rash-related nerve damage, depending on the severity and depth of their injuries. While minor cases of road rash may only affect a few layers of skin, more serious cases can sever the underlying nerves.

Motorcyclists should seek immediate medical attention after suffering road rash, regardless of the perceived severity of the injury. Adrenaline can numb pain, and it may not be possible to detect nerve damage in the immediate aftermath of the accident. A medical professional may be in a better position to assess the true extent of injuries and recommend effective treatment. In addition, seeking treatment immediately creates medical records that clearly document injuries. Without these medical records, it could be difficult to pursue compensation to cover the costs of medical care.

Degrees of Road Rash

Medical professionals categorize road rash into three degrees, much like burns. The degree depends on the severity of the injury and tissue damage. 

First Degree

First-degree road rash only affects the outer layer of skin, called the epidermis. These injuries commonly result in bruises, abrasions, and scrapes. Accident victims with first degree road rash may experience reddened skin and minor bleeding. 

Second Degree

Second-degree road rash extends to the lower layers of skin. Individuals who sustain second-degree road rash in an accident may suffer the following symptoms:

  • Bleeding
  • Swelling
  • Exposed nerves and tendons
  • Pain 

Second-degree road rash injuries require immediate medical attention to prevent infection. Reconstructive surgery or skin grafting may also be necessary. 

Third Degree

Third-degree road rash is the most severe type. The injury goes through all of the layers of skin, reaching the fat layer and potentially exposing bone.The affected area may have a milky appearance, and these injuries can be extremely painful. In other cases, however, there may be no pain because of the complete severing of nerves in the affected area.

Does Insurance Cover Road Rash?

New York uses a no-fault system for motor vehicle accidents. In most cases, motorists turn to their own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage after accidents, regardless of fault. However, the New York Department of Financial Services explains that state law specifically excludes motorcycle accidents from no-fault coverage. Therefore, injured motorcyclists can pursue personal injury lawsuits against the parties responsible for their accidents. 

What if There Was No Contact in a Motorcycle Accident?

In some motorcycle accidents, there might not be physical contact between the motorcycle and another vehicle. However, these so-called no-contact motorcycle accidents can still result in road rash and other serious injuries. For example, a car may veer into a lane without warning, causing a motorcyclist to swerve and crash while attempting to avoid a collision. These accidents can easily lead to road rash, and the injured motorcyclist may still have the opportunity to pursue legal action in the absence of a vehicular collision. 

No-collision cases can be complicated, because car or truck drivers might not even be aware of the motorcycle crashes they caused. There may also be less evidence in no-collision accident cases, which can pose challenges for injury victims (and their attorneys, if the injured parties choose to work with professional legal counsel) when attempting to demonstrate who was responsible for the accident. In no-collision motorcycle accident cases that progress to lawsuits, plaintiffs may also struggle to identify the driver if the individual who caused the accident simply drove away without stopping. 

How Can a Lawyer Help After a Road Rash Injury?

After suffering road rash caused by the negligence of another party, injured motorcyclists may be too preoccupied with painful injuries and extensive treatments and to address legal issues effectively. A Yonkers, New York personal injury lawyer from Stufano Law may be able to assist with this legal process, allowing motorcycle accident victims to shift their focus back to recovery. An attorney may also handle communications with insurance companies, case deadlines, investigations, evidence collection, and much more.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer for Assistance Following Your Road Rash Injury

After motorcycle accidents in Yonkers, New York, accident victims struggling with road rash injuries may wish to contact a personal injury lawyer for assistance. Stufano Law offers free case evaluations to help accident victims evaluate their legal options and determine the viability of potential claims. To learn more about how we can help, call (914) 752-7746 today. 


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