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Motorcycle Accidents – Road Rash, Scarring and Degloving Injuries.

By Matt Lalande in Motorcycle Accidents on June 24, 2021

Motorcycle Accidents – Road Rash, Scarring and Degloving Injuries.

Motorcycle Accidents – Road Rash, Scarring and Degloving Injuries.

Besides the exhilaration an individual experiences while riding a motorcycle, this form of transportation also offers the owner a variety of financial benefits. For example, when comparing motorcycle costs to that of a typical vehicle, the overall costs associated with a motorcycle are usually less. In addition, a motorcycle is a more economical option due to its lower maintenance costs and higher fuel efficiency. While these savings are extremely beneficial, there are also some drawbacks. For example, carelessness on the part of the motorcycle driver, or another individual on the roadway, can result in a motorcycle accident.

In this article we examine motorcycle accidents and related degloving and roadrash injuries – both of which can be devastating and brutally painful. Normally multiple treatment interventions are required, as is lengthy hospital stays. In addition, degloving and serious road rash injuries can be incapacitating and psychologically devastating. Often times motorcycle accident victims never return to normal.

5 Quick Facts about Degloving Injuries

  1. What is a degloving injury?

    Degloving injuries is a forcible separation of the soft tissue, in which a significant amount of skin and subcutaneous tissue detaches and rips the fibrous connective tissue from the underlying muscle – hence the analogy of “taking off a glove” from the hand.

  2. What limbs are mostly affected in motorcycle accident degloving injuries?

    Traumatic degloving injuries often happen to the lower and upper limbs, and particularly the hand if left unprotected. Degloving injuries also commonly occur in the trunk, scalp and face.

  3. Is surgery normally required in degloving accidents?

    Yes. If the limb was saved and not amputated, surgical management is always required to repair, reattach and replant the skin and ensure proper vascularization. Cosmetic surgery is also often required for years afterwards.

  4. Are degloving injuries fatal?

    They certainly can be. Degloving injuries happen to the skin and tissue when they are forcefully ripped from the underlying muscle, connective tissue, or bone. Degloving injuries of the head and torso are often fatal. For surgeons, controlling infections and massive blood loss is always a top priority.

  5. Can I be compensated if I suffered a degloving injury in a motorcycle accident?

    Absolutely. Normally degloving injuries are not only excruciatingly painful, but also debilitating and require very long recovery time to recover. In our experience helping degloving injury victims – life never returns to the way it was. Often times compensation is required to assist an accident victim with not only wage losses, but for all the costs that will be associated with future medical treatments, surgeries and wound care over one's life.

During a Motorcycle Accident, the Rider’s Risk of Injury is High

Since the individual riding a motorcycle is out in the open, he or she is essentially unprotected. Therefore, the likelihood of a motorcyclist sustaining an injury during a motorcycle accident is higher than that of an individual traveling by car.

According to information collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), per miles traveled, a motorcyclist is 29 times more likely to become fatally wounded. And four times more likely to sustain an injury than an individual who is traveling in a passenger vehicle.

In addition, the NHTSA states that even though motorcycles only represent 3 percent of all registered vehicles in the United States, motorcyclists account for 14 percent of traffic-related deaths, annually. Furthermore, motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to succumb to their crash-related injuries than individuals who are traveling in any other type of vehicle (passenger car included).

Most Motorcycle Accidents Involve Another Vehicle

HG.org states that almost 75 percent of all motorcycle accidents involve at least one more vehicle, with nearly 70 percent of these crashes occurring when another driver infringes upon the motorcyclist’s right of way.

Many of these motorcycle accidents occur when, due to its smaller profile, another driver neglects to see the motorcycle in time.

Common Injuries Motorcyclists Sustain During a Crash

During a motorcycle accident, motorcyclists can sustain a variety of injuries. Injuries that frequently result from a motorcycle crash include head trauma (e.g., traumatic brain injury [TBI]), fractures, injuries to the spinal cord, road rash and degloving (aka avulsion).

Road Rash

Seeking treatment promptly following a motorcycle accident can help prevent the onset of an infection, disability and scarring.

Signs of First-Degree Road Rash (Minor Road Rash):

  • Slight bleeding.
  • Scrapes.
  • Redness.
  • Bruising.

Individuals who have first-degree road rash after a motorcycle accident can usually treat it at home. Nonetheless, it can still cause a significant amount of pain.

Even if an individual thinks the only injury sustained during a motorcycle accident is minor road rash, it is vital that he or she seeks medical treatment to be sure.

Signs of Second-Degree Road Rash:

Due to the friction, there is a break in the skin. Although the underlying layers of skin are intact, they may be visible. With second-degree road rash, there are concerns about dirt, tiny rocks, debris and glass becoming embedded within the wound. Medical care can reduce the likelihood of permanent scarring.

Signs of Third-Degree Road Rash:

  • Deep wounds.
  • Severe abrasions.
  • Every layer of skin is gone, leaving the fat, muscle and tissue visible.
  • Exposed nerves, muscles, tendons and bone.
  • Significant bleeding.
  • Increased likelihood of an infection.
  • When the tendons, nerves and muscles are pulled from the bone.

Degloving Injuries

Degloving is a Severe, Potentially Life-Threatening Injury

During a motorcycle accident, the motorcycle rider is frequently thrown from the bike. After being ejected, the motorcyclist may slide across the pavement or ground, ripping a large portion of the skin and subcutaneous tissue from its underlying fascia, muscle and bone. When this avulsion of soft tissue occurs, the injury is referred to as a degloving injury.

Although any part of an individual’s body can sustain a degloving injury during a motorcycle accident, this injury frequently occurs in the arms, legs, hands and feet. Avulsion of the soft tissue can be an extremely painful injury, often requiring surgical reconstruction and causing scarring in the affected area in order to both minimize infection and control the normal massive amount of blood loss. Unfortunately, even after reconstruction surgery, the wounded area may have visible scarring and never feel the same again.

A Degloving Injury Following a Motorcycle Accident

The nerves in the affected area may be severed or damaged, and the blood supply to the wound may be limited due to damaged or cut blood vessels. Since the force required to rip a significant amount of skin from its underlying components is great, bone fractures frequently accompany this type of injury.

Types of Degloving Injuries

An Open-Type Degloving Injury – When a large section of an individual’s skin is physically separated from the body, the individual has an open-type degloving injury.

An open-type degloving injury may occur when a motorcyclist is thrown from his or her bike during a motorcycle accident. A long strip of skin may be ripped from his or her legs while sliding along the pavement.

Another open-type degloving injury involves circumferential skin removal. Circumferential skin removal means that the skin has been ripped from all sides of a limb. This injury may result when an individual’s hand gets caught in the belt drive of a running motorcycle and the belt rips the skin off all sides of the hand.

A Closed-Type Degloving Injury – This injury involves the top layers of skin remaining intact, but being internally separated from its underlying bone and connective tissue.

This type of degloving injury may occur if a motorcycle accident victim has sustained a high-energy, blunt force trauma.

Since a closed-type degloving injury is not visible to the naked eye, seeing a physician directly after any motorcycle accident is essential.

Degloving Injuries Categorization Method Based on Injury Depth – The removal of a thin piece of skin is considered a shallow injury, whereas a serious injury may involve the removal of the skin and tissues all the way down to the bone.

Diagnosing and Treating Degloving Injuries

A doctor can usually determine if an individual has an open-type degloving injury by performing a physical examination. Diagnosing a closed-type degloving injury requires the use of diagnostic testing. These tests may include a computed tomography scan (CT scan), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or an ultrasound. When an individual has a closed-type degloving injury, the only visible signs may be bruising and inflammation.

Treating a Degloving Injury

The severity and size of the wound determines which treatment an individual receives. Sometimes, surgery is the only solution for repairing the damaged area. However, even following the repair, scarring may be present.

If the skin remains attached, the surgeon may replant the skin. To accomplish this, the surgeon may need to perform revascularization on the affected area.

When the skin sustains too much damage for replantation or there is skin missing, the surgeon may need to use skin grafts to cover and close the wound. To accomplish this, the surgeon removes a portion of skin from another part of the individual’s body and transfers it to the damaged area.

When treating injuries that are less severe, the surgeon may use skin flaps and skin grafts

Serious degloving injuries may require surgical intervention or amputation.

A less serious closed-type degloving injury may only need the surgeon to drain the wound and apply a compression garment.

Degloving Injuries: Legal Liability

When someone else causes an individual to become injured, the injured party should consider seeking compensation. Bringing a lawsuit for a road rash or degloving injury against the other motorist that cause your motorcycle accident requires that the individual prove another entity or individual is responsible for the injuries that he or she sustaine. It’s important that you contact a motorcycle accident lawyer today to learn about your rights as a motorcycle accident victim, and how we can help.

Potential Compensation:

  • Future health care expenses – for ongoing cosmetic surgery related issues such skin grafts, diagnostic testing, rehabilitation, mental health counseling, doctor visits and prescription medication.
  • Pain and suffering due to an individual’s physical limitations, as well as the loss of enjoyment of life and loss of amenities.
  • Past and Future Lost wages due to the inability to work resulting from the injury.
  • Housekeeping losses – if you are unable to care for your home.
  • Compensation for your family members – both economic compensation and for the loss of care, guidance and companionship.

Our Hamilton Motorcycle Accident Lawyers can help

A motorcycle accident lawyer can help you determine who is liable for the road rash injuries you or a loved one sustained. If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident, call our motorcycle accident lawyers today, no matter where you are in the Province, at 1-888-LALANDE or local in the Hamilton/GTA/Niagara area at 905-333-8888 don’t wait. Our motorcycle accident lawyers have recovered millions for motorcycle accident victims since 2003, and cal help you recover the compensation you deserve.

Contact our Hamilton Personal Injury Lawyer Matt Lalande 24/7 at:

1 King Street East, Suite 1705
Hamilton, On L8P 1A4
Local: 905-333-8888
Toll Free: 1-844-LALANDE
Email: info@hamiltonlawyers.com


  1. https://roadracerz.com/motorcycle-accident-statistics/
  2. https://www.vlaw.com/degloving-injuries/
  3. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/what-is-a-degloving-injury
  4. https://www.steelhorselaw.com/news/what-to-do-about-road-rash-injury
  5. https://www.ghsa.org/sites/default/files/2018-05/ghsa_motorcyclists18.pdf
  6. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/motorcycle-accidents-common-causes-30330.html
  7. https://www.finder.com/motorcycle-accident-stats
  8. https://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/fl-xpm-2013-03-09-fl-finding-fault-in-motorcycle-crashes-20130309-story.html
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4126125/
  10.  https://www.dolmanlaw.com/motorcycle-accident-road-rash/



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