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Are burn injuries an important issue for motorcyclists?

Burn injuries probably aren't the first thing that come to your mind when you think of the consequences of a motorcycle crash—but they're actually very common.

There are three different usual causes of burn injuries commonly associated with motorcycle accidents:

1. Road rash

Road rash, also known as "road burn," are injuries suffered when the rider or passenger of a motorcycle hits the pavement and their skin is scraped along the pavement as they are thrown from the bike or dragged along after it.

While most people don't think of road rash as a typical burn, they are actually considered friction burns and can remove skin all the way down to the fat and muscle underneath. They also put the victim at a high risk of infection and can require extensive hospital stays and skin grafts, just like any other burn.

2. Engine and exhaust pipe burns

A motorcyclist that's involved in an accident can get tangled up in the bike as he or she goes down, causing parts of their body to come into contact with parts of a hot engine or exhaust pipe.

In some cases, a rider can end up with burns even if there's no accident involved due to design defects. For example, a class action lawsuit was just filed against the Harley-Davidson Motor Company over complaints that one of its most popular motorcycles has a design defect that puts riders at risk of severe burns when the engines overheat.

If the burn seems to be related partially to a poorly designed product, it may be necessary to pursue a legal claim against the manufacturer as well as someone who caused an accident.

3. Chemical burns

A motorcyclist who is in a wreck can be particularly vulnerable to chemical burns if the engine or battery is ruptured. Gasoline or battery acid can spill onto the rider as he or she is on the ground, and the rider may be exposed to the toxic substances for some time if he or she is unconscious or unable to move.

Burn injuries can be exceptionally difficult to heal, requiring long hospital stays, painful treatments and skin grafts. Victims may also be permanently scarred or disfigured.

Anyone who has suffered a motorcycle-related burn injury due to the negligence of another has a right to seek compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and more. .

Source: FindLaw, "Motorcycle Accidents: Overview," accessed Dec. 30, 2016

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