What Happens if a Road Hazard Caused My Motorcycle Accident?

Motorcycle accidents often result from road hazards, for which local governments and other parties may be liable and need to compensate victims. Although motorcyclists can avoid many road hazards by practicing extreme caution, some may still cause accidents and serious injuries regardless of how careful motorcyclists are on the road.

You can build a claim or lawsuit if you or a loved one gets into a motorcycle accident involving a road hazard and believes another party is responsible.

When Road Hazards Cause Motorcycle Accidents

What Happens if a Road Hazard Caused My Motorcycle AccidentMany road hazards present certain risks to motorcycles that may not affect cars and other vehicles. Motorcycles are often more delicate than heavier vehicles, and passing over various hazards could cause riders to lose control and get into a severe collision.

Depending on the nature of the hazard, motorcycle riders or their loved ones may build a case against negligent parties responsible for creating unsafe conditions. This process would involve filing a claim or lawsuit against liable parties to recover compensation for various damages, including medical expenses.

With the assistance of a motorcycle accident attorney, you may successfully prove that a negligent party was behind an accident resulting from a road hazard.

Types of Road Hazards That Cause Motorcycle Accidents

A wide range of road hazards can cause motorcycle accidents. Knowing these hazards can help determine the specific cause of an accident and whether someone is liable for an accident involving them.

The following are among the most common types of road hazards that may lead to a motorcycle accident:

Debris in the Road

Debris is among the most common causes of all types of traffic accidents, with this hazard factoring into 50,658 police-reported accidents in four years.

Many types of debris could block a motorcycle’s path of travel and cause accidents. Some examples of this debris include leaves, rocks, tree branches, or debris from car parts or other items such as tires or dropped cargo. Motorcyclists may lose control when passing over these items, or this debris may hit riders directly and cause an accident.

Accidents may still occur even when riders attempt to avoid or slowly pass over certain debris

Railroad Crossings

Some cases may involve motorcyclists who ride over railroad crossings. Motorcycle tires may become stuck in railroad tracks, causing the motorcycle to suddenly stop and throw the rider off the bike. To safely travel over railroad tracks, motorcyclists must pass over them perpendicularly to prevent the bike’s tires from getting stuck along the track.

Even if a rider practices caution, accidents involving railroad tracks may still occur, particularly when the roads and tracks are wet and slippery.

Rough Roadways

Sometimes roadways may have certain features that make them difficult for motorcyclists to navigate safely. For instance, roads could contain bumps or generally rough surfaces, often resulting from poor construction quality or insufficient maintenance.

Edge Breaks

Motorcycle accidents may also result from impact with edge breaks between traffic lanes, often when one lane sits at a higher elevation than the other. Riders may lose control when changing lanes because of these edge breaks, often when traveling on highways at high speeds.


Motorcycles may lose traction when traveling over gravel in roadways. As a result, motorcycles may slide and topple over on these rough surfaces. Riders must do what they can to reduce their bike’s lean while making turns and avoid sudden stopping or other movements. Gravel presents the biggest risk when riders must turn on it, forcing them to rapidly shift their body weight to safely complete the turn.

Expansion and Bridge Joints

Accidents may also result from gaps between sections of roads or bridges that joints hold together. Although many roads and bridges require these joints to prevent the development of cracks in concrete, they could leave wide gaps that motorcycle tires may get stuck in when passing over them.

Much like railroad crossings, bridges and expansion joints require motorcyclists to travel perpendicularly over them to prevent tires from getting trapped.


Animals contribute to around one to two million crashes yearly in the U.S., and motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to these types of accidents.

Motorcycles can hit small animals or roadkill on the road, causing motorcyclists to lose their balance. It’s often difficult for motorcyclists to avoid live animals that run into the road, as the animal may run out abruptly and without warning, leaving the motorcyclist unable to swerve out of the way in time. Motorcyclists may also get into accidents when swerving to avoid hitting animals.

Slippery Surfaces

Roadways can become slippery due to wet, snowy, icy, or other conditions. Everything from rain and ice to freshly painted surfaces and spilled oil can make the roads slick, increasing the risk of a motorcycle accident. Their design’s lighter weight and instability make motorcycles more vulnerable to accidents on these surfaces, as riders can easily lose control as the bike slides and falls. Standing water can also cause hydroplaning as motorcyclists travel over it.

Slick and slippery surfaces are especially dangerous for riders when making turns.

Defects in the Road

Different types of defects in the road could cause motorcycle accidents. These may include large cracks and potholes that motorcyclists may not see in time and avoid. The risks these defects present make it necessary for cities to maintain their roadways and provide motorists with smooth surfaces that reduce the risk of accidents.

Who Is Liable for Motorcycle Accidents Involving Road Hazards?

Depending on the nature of the road hazard and resulting accident, different parties may be liable for injuries and other damages.

The liable party in these motorcycle accidents is often a local government. Government agencies must do what they can to maintain safe roadways for all motorists and pedestrians, including motorcyclists. Roads can quickly become unsafe without the proper construction and required maintenance and present various hazards to riders.

For example, potholes could form that cause one or more serious accidents. If the city becomes aware of this pothole and fails to properly fill the pothole or repave the affected road, the city could be liable for accidents resulting from this defect.

Other parties may also be liable for motorcycle accidents resulting from road hazards. One example would be if a truck’s improperly secured cargo falls off the back and onto the road or hits a motorcyclist. In this instance, the individual or entity responsible for loading the cargo may be liable for failing to secure the load. These liable parties may include drivers, trucking companies, or third-party contractors.

What Types of Compensation Can You Recover for a Motorcycle Accident?

Following a motorcycle accident resulting from road hazards and other causes, victims or their loved ones may recover many types of damages. These generally include a mix of economic and non-economic damages. In rare cases, these cases may also involve punitive damages that the court awards to punish unusually negligent defendants.

Examples of the economic damages in motorcycle accident cases could include the following:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost income and lost earning capacity
  • Property damage, such as damage to motorcycles, mobile devices, and more
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation

Meanwhile, here are some examples of potential non-economic damages that your case may involve:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of consortium due to the injuries’ impact on relationships
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from the accident

While it’s typically easier to calculate the economic damages in these cases, you may determine how much your non-economic damages are worth with the help of an attorney. Maintaining a pain journal can help document your experience with pain and suffering, proving non-economic damages in a claim or lawsuit.

If the case goes to court, a judge or jury may award punitive damages in addition to economic and non-economic damages. These damages usually only apply if the defendant acted with gross negligence or malicious intent.

One example might be if someone intentionally left one or more pieces of debris on the road with the intention of causing an accident. The goal of awarding these damages would be to prevent the defendant and others from acting similarly.

What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident Involving Road Hazards

Following a motorcycle accident resulting from road hazards, accident victims or their families may begin preparing for a claim or lawsuit. After seeking medical treatment for any injuries sustained in the accident, individuals can take the following steps to increase their chances of getting the compensation they deserve from liable parties:

Gather Sufficient Evidence to Prove Liability

If you believe that a negligent individual or entity is liable for a road hazard causing a motorcycle accident, you need sufficient evidence to prove liability.

The evidence that you may use to build your case includes:

  • Photographs and video footage of the accident scene and damages sustained
  • Police reports
  • Witness statements
  • Correspondence with insurance companies and adjusters
  • Medical records and bills
  • Bills for repairs or replacements for damaged property
  • Pay stubs proving lost income

If you cannot obtain any of this evidence throughout your case, a motorcycle accident lawyer can help. The right attorney may gain access to police records, medical records, witnesses, and more to collect all relevant evidence. This attorney could then organize this evidence to prove liability in a claim or lawsuit.

Notify Your Insurance Company

Soon after the accident, you should notify your insurance company. Your insurer may help you file a claim and advise you on how to repair your motorcycle following the accident. However, you should never give a formal statement to insurers, even if they make it seem like a requirement. Instead, consult an attorney before giving your statement, as an experienced lawyer may give you some guidance to avoid any potential mistakes.

You may file a claim against the party’s insurance company if you identify a liable party behind the accident.

Speak With a Knowledgeable Motorcycle Accident

Another essential step after a motorcycle accident is to consult an experienced attorney focusing on motorcycle accidents. The right attorney will meet with you in a free consultation to discuss your accident. The attorney may then inform you of the options available, including the ability to file a claim or lawsuit against the liable party.

If the attorney decides to handle your case, you will benefit from legal counsel that entails guiding you through the claims or legal process. You’ll begin building a case by gathering all relevant evidence and identifying liable parties who may have caused the accident. Attorneys will assist with negotiations and present evidence to prove liability, and they may take the case to trial if necessary.

Avoid Waiting Too Long to File

If you believe you have a valid motorcycle accident case and want compensation, it’s best to avoid waiting too long before filing a claim. As with other types of accident cases, you’ll only have a limited amount of time to file before you’re unable to recover compensation. Your state’s specific statute of limitations will dictate the time you have before your case expires, after which point you may not file a claim or suit successfully.

The sooner you file your claim, the sooner you can build a case and recover compensation to cover medical expenses and other costs resulting from your accident.

Build a Case Against Liable Parties Responsible for Road Hazards

Andrew Finkelstein Attorney for Motorcycle Accident

Andrew Finkelstein  Motorcycle Accident Lawyer 

If a motorcycle accident results from road hazards, victims may recover compensation from liable drivers, trucking companies, local government agencies, and other parties. With the help of a personal injury attorney with experience handling motorcycle accidents, you may increase your chances of filing a successful claim or lawsuit and recovering compensation from all responsible parties.

Get started on your case by contacting a motorcycle accident attorney who can review the details of your accident. You may then prove liability and begin seeking full compensation from negligent parties.