Facts About Road Rash

Many kinds of accidents, including motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, and pedestrian accidents, can produce road rash. But what is road rash?

Road rash occurs when a victim’s skin drags across a road surface. The texture of the road surface abrades the skin, as well as fat and muscle in some cases, leaving a large scrape wound.

Road rash can produce serious symptoms. It can also lead to life-threatening complications.

Here are some things you should know about road rash and the ways that an injured person can seek compensation.

How Does Road Rash Occur?

Road rash can occur in any type of accident. It occurs when a person slides across the surface of a road, causing severe scrapes and cuts to their skin.

A vehicle might collide with a motorcycle, causing the rider to slide across the road with their leg pinned underneath the motorcycle.

A vehicle could strike a pedestrian, causing them to skid across the pavement.

A car accident could eject passengers from a vehicle and throw them down a dirt embankment.

Common Reasons for Road Rash

All of the accidents involving road rash injuries have a few features in common. These include:

Lack of Protective Clothing

Road rash occurs in places on the body where the victim has little to no protective clothing. For example, a motorcyclist might have road rash on their shoulders and legs after an accident. But road rash will probably not affect the motorcyclist’s helmeted head.

Sliding Motion

Road rash occurs when an accident causes a victim to slide across a rough surface.

Rough Surface

A rough surface grates a victim’s body like sandpaper. In many cases, the rough surface only scrapes the skin. In severe cases, the rough surface might dig into the fat and muscle layers below the skin.

Severity of Road Rash

The severity of road rash depends on a few factors, including the abrasion’s size and depth and whether dirt or debris entered the wound.


A skinned knee might be no larger than a quarter. In contrast, severe road rash could cover a motorcyclist’s entire chest or back after an accident. A large road rash increases the risk of infection. It can also take longer to heal because it may reopen every time the patient moves.


Road rash that abrades the skin might produce a pink scrape but will usually not result in bleeding, infection, or scars.

Victims of minor road rash can treat the wound at home with antibiotic ointment and bandages.

Deep road rashes could produce severe, lifelong injuries. Abrasions that reach the fat layer may require skin grafts to heal properly.

If the abrasion exposes muscle, the underlying tissue might suffer from permanent damage and scars.

A deep road rash also increases the risk of complications like infection.


A severe road rash might be filled with debris like:

  • Glass shards
  • Rocks and dirt
  • Metal

Debris in the wound can increase the risk of infection and tetanus. It will also make the wound more difficult to treat. Doctors will often try to remove as much debris as possible when treating the injury.

Compensation for a Road Rash Injury

When an accident has caused road rash on your body, you can receive compensation for the injury in the form of economic and non-economic damages. Your economic damages for road rash might include medical bills to treat the injury and lost wages from work while you recover. For example, if the road rash required a trip to the emergency room for the wound to be cleaned and dressed, you could include those costs in your injury claim.

Non-economic damages are designed to compensate you for the costs of your injuries that are not strictly financial in nature. If the road rash produced permanent scarring, pain, or PTSD, those effects may support a claim for non-economic damages.

Contact Our Accident & Injury Law Firm in San Diego Today To Get More Information

If you’ve been injured in San Diego, please call Mission Personal Injury Lawyers for a free case evaluation with one of our motorcycle accident attorneys or contact us online.

We proudly serve San Diego County and throughout California.

Mission Personal Injury Lawyers
2515 Camino del Rio S Suite 350, San Diego, CA 92108

(619) 777-5555

Mission Personal Injury Lawyers – Chula Vista Office
690 Otay Lakes Rd #130, Chula Vista, CA 91910
(619) 722-3032

We also serve the state of Texas. Contact our personal injury law office in El Paso for legal assistance today.

Mission Personal Injury Lawyers – El Paso Office
201 E Main Suite 106, El Paso, Texas 79901
(915) 591-1000