UPDATED: Mar 26, 2020
It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.
We strive to help you make confident insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We partner with top insurance providers. This doesn't influence our content. Our opinions are our own.
It’s no secret that insurance can get a bit complicated. Perhaps one of the most complicated areas of insurance is determining who is responsible for paying for damages when accidents occur. A lot of times the answer is cut and dry, but other times it isn’t so simple.
One of the areas where insurance can get a little complicated is when a wreck is caused by debris on the road, more specifically when a motorcycle wrecks on debris in the road.
No matter how vigilant or careful you ride, some accidents are unavoidable. Even with all of the modern motorcycle safety features, accidents still occur. So if you hit debris in the road and wreck your motorcycle, who pays? Let’s take a look at four scenarios and see what type of insurance coverage will likely be footing the bill.
Let’s jump straight into the first scenario!
#1 – Truck Litters Roadway with Debris
With all of the trash being hauled up and down the roads each day, it’s no surprise that sometimes it falls into the road from time to time. Whether it’s construction debris, limbs from a downed tree, or trash being transported, these objects can pose risks to unsuspecting motorcyclists.
The Scenario– Here’s the scenario. You are riding your motorcycle behind a truck hauling debris that isn’t properly covered. While you are behind the truck, some debris falls out of the truck and causes you to wreck your motorcycle.
Who Pays? According to Personal Injury Law, if the debris was not secured properly, the damage would be covered under the truck driver’s auto insurance policy. Alternatively, if it was a work or construction vehicle, their business auto insurance may cover the incident.
In either scenario, whether the offending driver is distracted, or simply doesn’t notice what happened behind them, it is unlikely they will stop. So you will want to collect any information you can immediately, which may be difficult if there are no witnesses.
But what if you don’t know where the debris came from? Then you will have to check out scenario two.
#2 – Debris Left By Unknown Source
Debris on the roadway can be caused by a lot of things. Trees drop their leaves in the fall. Branches break in a storm and fall into the road. And of course, as with the previous scenario, a truck’s uncovered litter can fly out. The list truly goes on and on. Of course, leaving debris such as grass on the road is illegal, but unfortunately, that doesn’t stop it from happening.
The Scenario – You are riding down the road on your motorcycle. As you round a turn, you strike debris in the road, causing you to lose traction and wreck. Unlike the first scenario, you don’t know who left the debris, or whether it was a natural occurrence. Either way, there is no responsible party to be found.
Who Pays? If you strike debris on the roadway, and can’t determine the source or the source is natural, you will have to turn to your own auto insurance.
#3 – Company Leaves Debris on the Road
In the previous two scenarios, we looked at incidents where a vehicle left debris on the road. What if a company deposits debris into the road, but this time it’s not dropped from a vehicle? What type of insurance will foot the bill then? Let’s take a look.
The Scenario – This scenario can occur in several ways. Perhaps it’s lawn clippings blown into the road by a landscaping company. Or maybe a construction company puts trash on the road or curb for pick up. Either way, the debris causes you to wreck your motorcycle.
Who Pays? In this scenario, if negligence is proven, a claim would go against the company’s liability.
#4 – Homeowner Leaves Debris on the Road
This one is quick, but the insurance is very specific, and it’s worth mentioning. Let’s look at a slight variation of scenario three.
The Scenario – In this scenario, debris is left on the road again as in scenario three. However, this time the debris is left in the road by the resident of the home itself.
Who Pays? In this instance, it could be the resident’s renter’s or homeowner’s insurance covering the cost.
What’s the bottom line?
Even the most avid motorcycle collectors can be easily overwhelmed by all of the nuances posed by insurance coverage. Hopefully, these four scenarios will simplify the situation a bit.
It should be noted that anytime you wreck your bike on debris in the road you can turn to your own insurance for coverage. Additionally, negligence will also have to be proven to determine the fault of an offending party. But that is a different article entirely!
However, you should always try avoiding an insurance claim and potentially raising your rates. It only makes sense to do so. If you have any more questions about a motorcycle or car insurance, be sure to search for other topics on this website.
Author Bio: Douglas Dedrick is a landscaper with over a decade of experience and a writer on several topics including lawn care, landscaping, and law. Connect with him or read more at Healing Law.