Devastating motorcycle accidents can result from road hazards such as poor road design, potholes, inadequate signage, fallen road signs, construction road work and construction debris, broken street lights, malfunctioning stoplights, disabled or crashed vehicles, and many more. If your road hazards accident was caused by dangerous conditions like these, another party’s negligence may be to blame. Contact an experienced Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney at Salamati Law to protect your rights to compensation. As part of your free consultation, we will discuss the circumstances of your crash and identify all potentially liable parties. If you suffered serious injury, you may be entitled to substantial compensation for any and all medical bills stemming from the crash, lost wages from time missed at work, diminished earning capacity, loss of quality of life, and more. Call anytime or use our convenient online contact form to request an examination of your claim.
Road hazards that can cause motorcycle accidents
Some road hazards result from acts of nature, while others occur entirely due to the negligence of other motorists or local governments. Salamati Law Firm can review the factors surrounding your crash and advise you on your legal options.
Some common hazards include:
- Animals (dead or alive)
- Blind intersections
- Bottlenecks (sudden narrowing of lanes)
- Changing speed limits
- Construction debris
- Disabled vehicles
- Fallen signs, trees, or rocks
- Ice, fog, or high winds
- Loose gravel
- Malfunctioning signals
- Nails, tacks, glass, wood, or debris
- Poor road design
- Rough edges
- Standing water
- Steep drop-offs
- Traffic accidents
- Uneven lanes
- Unmarked exits
- View obstructions
Top 5 road hazards for motorcycles
Some road hazards are more likely than others to cause a motorcycle crash. Common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Blind spots – Driving next to a car or truck that can’t see you in their mirrors is a road hazard waiting to happen. Be sure you speed up or slow down to stay out of the gray zone.
- Uneven road surfaces – Construction changes can be very confusing, so try to avoid changing lanes until the construction zone ends. Look ahead for divets caused by large trucks that dragged debris in their undercarriage, causing a depression in the pavement. Motorcycles are particularly susceptible to loss of control when riding over these poorly maintained road surfaces.
- Debris like gravel, oil, and sand – Vehicles on two wheels lack the stability to maintain traction on these slippery surfaces. Mainly use your rear brake and travel at a slow speed if you cannot avoid the spill.
- Obscured side roads – Poor visibility due to wild vegetation or other vehicles may make it impossible to see a vehicle turning onto the road. Be ready to react in these situations, but careful not to overcorrect.
- Intersections – The most common road hazard for a motorcyclist is an intersection – particularly where you are traveling straight and someone else is making a left-hand turn. Vehicles aren’t supposed to change lanes while going through intersections, but they often do, so be on the lookout.
Who’s to blame when road conditions cause motorcycle accidents?
Depending on the circumstances of your road hazards motorcycle accident, negligent parties could include:
- A government entity responsible for city planning and maintaining the road in a safe, working order
- A trucking company responsible for maintaining their vehicles and securing their cargo
- Other motorists, cyclists, or pedestrians
- Companies tasked with keeping landscaping properly trimmed for visibility
In a road hazard case, it must be demonstrated that someone breached a duty of care to the motorcycle driver, which caused damage and injuries. There are often unique legal requirements that come with pursuing a motorcycle injury lawsuit against a government entity. It is important that you seek legal counsel right away in order to avoid a delay that could impact your case.
Motorcycle road hazard insurance
You may be wondering, “Do I really need to file a lawsuit? Shouldn’t my motorcycle insurance cover the damage and my injuries?” There are several types of insurance that may cover an accident:
- Your “road hazard warranty” will kick in to cover the cost of new tires from a puncture and roadside assistance.
- The “collision” part of your policy would cover the damage if you hit an animal or other road obstruction.
- The “comprehensive” coverage would kick in if falling debris hits you.
- Your “Personal Injury Protection” coverage will pay for medical injuries once your deductible is met.
- Some motorcycle insurers offer additional coverage for safety apparel, equipment, or new bike replacement.
While basic insurance coverage is adequate for minor collisions, we find that the vast majority of serious injuries are not sufficiently covered. Filing a personal injury lawsuit is the only way to bridge the gap in your coverage and avoid paying huge out-of-pocket expenses.
Motorcycle safety tips
There are numerous steps you can take to reduce the chances of an accident. Even when accidents happen, the appropriate safety gear can help to limit the seriousness of your injuries. Some helpful motorcycle safety tips include:
- Wear a helmet. The most important step you can take to protect yourself while riding is wearing a helmet. According to the NHTSA study, helmets likely saved the lives of approximately 1,872 motorcyclists in 2017 alone. The study also estimates that nearly 800 fatalities could have been prevented had a rider worn their helmet.
- Take a safety course. You can never be too prepared when it comes to motorcycle safety. Even if you feel you are an experienced rider, a refresher safety course could remind you of some best practices that are worth following.
- Be observant. Motorists are infamous for not watching out for the motorcycle riders they share the road with. This means it is in your best interest to remain vigilant and ensure that you account for other drivers around you.
- Stay sober. Riding while intoxicated is an open invitation for a dangerous crash. Driving a motorcycle safely requires your full attention, and you cannot give that if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Avoid fatigue. Fatigued riders face many of the same dangers as drunken riders. Fatigue can cause you to lose reaction time that could prevent a crash. It could also hamper your decision-making process. Get enough rest before getting on a motorcycle.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Motorcycle accident injuries have the potential to be devastating. Motorcycles provide little to no protection for their riders in a collision, and a rider that is thrown to the ground following an impact could suffer secondary injuries. Common motorcycle accident injuries include:
- Cuts, bruises, and lacerations
- Road rash
- Severe burns
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken arms
- Broken legs
- Cracked ribs
- Skull fractures
- Traumatic brain injuries, including concussions
- Eye injuries
- Internal bleeding
If you have suffered any of these injuries in a motorcycle accident through no fault of your own, you could be entitled to financial compensation. Injuries are no less serious with accidents from road hazards compared to those with other causes. Our attorneys are ready to work with you to pursue the monetary award you deserve.
Talk to an attorney about your motorcycle accident
Sometimes it’s impossible to avoid sudden hazards that come toppling onto the road or that appear out of nowhere around a bend. Accidents can happen even if you take care to make sure you are wearing the proper gear – and you check all the fluids, cables, and brakes before you take off.
As you drive, always ask yourself: “What if?” What if a car pulls in front of you? How will you react? What if a boulder tumbles off the cliff or the wind blows down a tree in your path? What if a deer jumps out into the road? Always be prepared for the worst-case scenario. Sometimes good drivers do all they can to prevent accidents, but they happen anyway due to other drivers’ recklessness, known issues in city planning and intersection safety, or road hazards due to another party’s negligence. In these cases, it helps to have legal advice from professionals with extensive experience in these matters. Call the Salamati Law Firm today for a free consultation.