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Can Homeowners Be Held Liable for Motorcycle Crashes Caused by Yard Waste?

As we’ve covered before, there are many possible causes of car and motorcycle crashes. Usually, it is a driver who carries at least some of the blame for a crash and the injuries that result. However, roughly a quarter of car and motorcycle crashes are due to environmental factors, which can include:

  • Animals
  • Obstructions and debris
  • Defective pavement
  • Slippery pavement
  • Defective or improperly-maintained shoulders
  • Obstructed or limited view

Generally speaking, local, state and federal governments have a duty to provide properly designed and maintained roadways, sidewalks and crosswalks. But what if another party caused the roadway defect or debris to be in the road?

Homeowners and Landscapers

In a recent interview, New York State Trooper Lynnea Crane said that homeowners and landscapers are leaving grass clippings and other yard waste in roadways that is “like hitting black ice for [motorcycle] riders.” Crane added that police officers are beginning to contact homeowners and landscapers about the problem and threatening fines. The report says that there is an increasing occurrence of this kind of crash, especially as the number of motorcyclists on the road has doubled since 2002.

One of the most important keys to winning a roadway debris case is being able to reconstruct the conditions of the day that the crash occurred. If you or a trusted companion are able to, taking pictures of the conditions that caused your crash can help identify the liable party. Beyond that, it is possible that there is security footage or a paper trail of a homeowner or landscaper being fined or warned about leaving debris in the roadway.

Other Drivers

Another common cause of motorcycle and truck crashes is debris that falls off of other vehicles. Some of the most common kinds include:

  • Construction debris – a truck, tractor or excavator moving in a construction zone may have left behind construction materials on the roadway
  • Falling objects – objects can fall from stationary or moving vehicles, whether from a commercial vehicle or an individual who improperly tied down cargo to their vehicle
  • Car parts – an improperly maintained vehicle may shed parts as it travels, including bumpers, fenders, or exhaust components. On a highway, hitting one of these parts could be deadly.
  • Tire debris – the result of a tire blowout on a highway can leave behind chunks of tire tread on the roadway, also known as “road gators”

As a driver, it’s important to remain vigilant about the kinds of debris that other vehicles can leave behind on the road. 

What to do after a crash caused by roadway debris

There are many possible avenues for recovering damages after a car or motorcycle crash that is caused by another party’s negligence. When it comes to roadway defects and debris, the liability may ultimately lie with a number of different parties, including a local, state or federal government, other drivers, a commercial trucking or construction company, a homeowner, or a landscaping company.

The best thing to do after a roadway defects crash that causes injuries is to consult a personal injury law firm. We offer free consultations at our personal injury law offices in Kingston, NY and Poughkeepsie, NY, and can help you determine the best course of action. Give us a call at 845-600-0000 to set up your free consultation.