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When Road Hazards Cause Motorcycle Accidents


Road hazards are a common cause of motorcycle accidents in Tennessee and other states. Motorcyclists attempting to swerve and avoid collisions with potholes and debris in the roadway are susceptible to serious injuries including concussions, contusions, fractures, and other injuries.

Common Road Hazards in Tennessee

Poorly constructed roadways and improperly maintained stretches of streets and highways increase the likelihood that motorcyclists in Tennessee will be involved in a crash. Examples of road hazards that government agencies or individuals can be held liable for include:

  • Potholes that are unfilled or improperly repaired
  • Contributing to the erosion or damage to roadways
  • Buckled/Uneven pavement caused by improper construction
  • Debris left in the roadway such as sand or gravel
  • Insufficient signage warning motorcyclists of obstructions or damaged roadways

Liability for Road Hazards

Private property owners, motorists, and government agencies can be held liable for road hazards that lead to an accident. For example:

  • A property owner could be held liable for creating conditions that undermine a roadway and cause potholes to form. For example, for having a broken sprinkler system that erodes the underlying soil or for deliberately depositing debris in the roadway such as piling rocks, sand, lumber, or other building materials during a home improvement project.
  • A motorist could be held liable for materials that spill onto the roadway that cause a motorcyclist to lose traction or avoid a collision with an object. For example, a dump truck that spills gravel or sand onto the roadway, or a motorist driving a vehicle that "drops" items such as lumber, metal, rocks, etc. onto the roadway.
  • A city or state agency can be held liable for failing to properly repair known road hazards. For example, failing to repair a pothole or buckling of the road that has caused a previous accident. In such instances, government agencies are not protected by sovereign immunity because reasonable maintenance and care would have prevented further accidents.

Documenting the Presence of a Road Hazard

Many road hazards are removed promptly following an accident. In particular, debris such as sand, gravel, water, snow, ice, oil, or other obstruction that caused an accident. For this reason, it is imperative to collect video, photographs, and physical evidence from the scene of the accident as soon as possible. A motorcycle accident lawyer can use this evidence to show how the presence and position of the road hazard contributed to causing the accident. Because many road hazards

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