Hitting the road on a motorcycle is exhilarating, but it’s important to be on the lookout for debris on the road. Even the most attentive riders may fall victim to a crash, and when road debris is involved, it can be difficult to determine who may be responsible for damages. At Thomas, Thomas & Conrad Law Offices in Eastern Pennsylvania, our motorcycle accident lawyers understand the unique challenges motorcyclists face when involved in any kind of crash.
Types of Road Debris
Any foreign hazard on a roadway may be considered road debris. Some common types include:
- Tires or pieces of blown tires
- Leftover wreckage from motor vehicle accidents
- Damaged mufflers, fenders, and other auto parts
- Litter or objects thrown from cars
- Cargo that has fallen off trucks
- Road construction barrels and cones
- Rough roads due to poor maintenance or ongoing construction or resurfacing
- Oil spills or standing water
- Rocks, stones, and chunks of pavement
- Broken traffic signs, signals, guardrails, and lights
- Mailboxes, trash cans, and other items
- Trees, branches, and wet leaves
Even a small item on the road can cause a deadly motorcycle accident. Unlike occupants of other types of vehicles, motorcyclists have no protection surrounding them, which makes them more susceptible to serious or fatal injuries.
Determining Liability After a Motorcycle Crash
So, what happens if you’re involved in an accident because of road debris? It depends on the circumstances. Pennsylvania is a no-fault state, so your own insurance policy may pay for medical expenses and property damage. However, if you suffer catastrophic injuries such as head trauma or spinal injury, your coverage probably won’t be enough to cover all your medical care or damages such as pain and suffering.
It can be challenging to determine who bears responsibility for road debris that creates dangerous conditions. Items on the road or highway may have dropped from vehicles that are long gone. Even if you see something fall from a truck or another vehicle before an accident, it still can be difficult to identify who’s responsible if they don’t stop.
If the source is identifiable, it’s still a good idea to speak to a motorcycle accident lawyer to track down all potentially liable parties. For example, if cargo that fell off a tractor-trailer caused a motorcycle crash, multiple parties may be liable for damages, including the driver, trucking company, or the company that loaded the cargo. If a trash can or other road debris came from someone’s yard, the homeowner may be responsible.
Personal injury attorneys often use accident reconstruction experts, investigators, and other professionals to help prove how an accident happened and who may be at fault. They also know how to place an accurate value on your claim. It can be easy to underestimate the physical, emotional, and financial costs of injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident. If you have lost a loved one, a motorcycle lawyer may be able to assist you with bringing a wrongful death claim against responsible parties.
Bringing an Accident Claim Against the Government
In some cases, a governmental agency may be at fault if the road is in poor condition, or they failed to remove debris promptly. Bringing a successful claim against state or local agencies is complex, as they enjoy special protections from certain types of liability. There also are specific procedures that must be followed if you decide to bring a personal injury claim against a municipality. A motorcycle accident attorney can evaluate your case and advise you of all the options for compensation that may be available to you.
Preventing Road Debris Motorcycle Accidents
Staying aware and alert while riding your motorcycle can help you avoid road debris accidents. Some things you can do include:
- Anticipate hazards by scanning the road ahead
- Increase the distance between your motorcycle and vehicles in front of you
- Operate your motorcycle at a safe speed
- Keep an eye out for animals, especially at dusk and at night
Wearing proper protective gear such as a motorcycle helmet, jacket, pants, and gloves also can help prevent serious injuries if you’re involved in a crash.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney to Learn More
If you’ve been hurt or have lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, our personal injury attorneys at Thomas, Conrad & Conrad Law Offices are here for you. With offices in Northampton, Lehigh, Berks, and Monroe counties, we offer free case evaluations to clients throughout eastern Pennsylvania. Our team is dedicated to helping injured victims recover the compensation they deserve. To schedule a free consultation, contact us online or call our Bethlehem office at 610-867-2900.