From the Washington Traffic Safety Commission's reports, in 2012 there were 49 serious injury motorcycle crashes in Pierce County, WA where the City of Tacoma is located. Road rash can be a factor in any motorcycle accident, from minor spills to serious accidents. Road rash can range from relatively minor abrasions to serious and life-threatening wounds.
Depending on the rider's injuries and circumstances, he or she may consider taking legal action against an at-fault motorist if the injuries are serious, require extensive medical treatment, and create significant damages.
What is road rash?
In general, motorcyclists are in a much more precarious position on the roadways than cars because the motorcycle's lack of any caging means that the rider will fall to the ground in most accidents. Road rash refers to the skin abrasions that the rider sustains when knocked off the bike and across the road surface.
Depending on the type of surface, the road rash may be more severe. For example, if there are rocks, dirt or broken glass on the roadway, the road rash injuries may be extreme.
There are three degrees of road rash, first through third degree, that measure the impact of the injury. First degree road rash involves only minor abrasion of the skin. Second degree road rash breaks through the skin but doesn't penetrate the deeper layers of skin, while third degree road rash cuts through the layers of skin and may expose the fat and muscle underneath the skin.
While second degree road rash can be painful and require medical attention, third degree road rash can be life threatening. Stitches or skin grafts may be required to help the body heal, and there's a high degree of risk of infection. Often road rash occurs with injuries like broken bones and it can lead to nerve damage too. In very severe accidents, it's possible that a rider may die from the injuries.
Ways Motorcyclists Can Prevent Road Rash
The best way to prevent road rash is to prevent accidents. Riders can take safety courses to learn proper riding techniques. They should also follow the rules of the road and drive carefully, especially around left turns where many motorcycle-car collisions happen.
Proper riding apparel may go a long way to prevent road rash in an accident. Many people might only associate leather with motorcycle culture, but the material serves an important purpose in reducing risk of road rash. There are also full body suits that riders can wear made from sturdy materials that may help reduce risk of road rash. While proper jackets and pants are important, riders should not forget their hands and use sturdy gloves when they ride.
How to Obtain Compensation for Road Rash Injuries
Riders can file claims with the at-fault liability insurance if another motorist is to blame for the accident. Washington is a fault insurance state, meaning that riders can file a lawsuit against the at-fault motorist if the other driver is to blame for the accident. Often motorcyclists seek legal representation if they're unsatisfied or if they suffer extensive injuries. The Max Meyers Law Firm knows how to be a strong advocate for riders. For a free consultation, contact our office at to set up a consultation with an attorney in Tacoma.