Marsalisi Law
who is responsible for road debris damage

For many motorcyclists around the St. Petersburg area, having a piece of road debris unexpectedly fly up and strike them is an everyday hazard on state roads and highways.  From food wrappers sticking to helmet visors to burst tire treads slamming into them, motorbike riders face enormous risks when out enjoying a cruise in the Sunshine State.

If any of these incidents lead to a traffic accident, many riders wonder who is liable for the damages caused by road debris. The question about liability for damages and losses is a crucial one that only knowledgeable motorcycle accident attorneys like Frank P. Marsalisi at Marsalisi Law can answer.



Hazardous Debris on Florida Roadways

Road debris is an ongoing challenge for the Florida Department of Transportation, and this problem frequently causes accidents for drivers of all types on state highways and roads.  When thinking about what constitutes road debris, many imagine paper wrappers or discarded chunks of tire treads, but there are other types to worry about, including:

  • Mattresses;
  • Tarps;
  • Construction materials like lumber;
  • Ladders and other tools;
  • Garbage;
  • Sharp objects like nails and screws;
  • Falling dirt and rock from dump trucks;
  • Vegetation;
  • Tires falling off vehicles ahead; and
  • Appliances


One of the worst situations is when an object strikes a motorcycle rider.  The force of the impact often causes an involuntary physical reaction, which can lead to unpredicted swerving and loss of control.  Trying to swerve around objects on the road also presents an increased risk of accidents.  This is due to overcorrection or misperceiving the actual size of the approaching debris.

Although roadway objects might appear harmless, it is difficult to assess and avoid these hazards accurately.  Hitting what appears to be an empty bag can prove deadly if it contains sharp objects or heavy debris, especially for those who might have their line of sight obscured by other vehicles or if you’re traveling at a higher rate of speed.

Who is Responsible for Road Debris–Related Damages and Losses in Florida?

By Florida law, drivers and vehicle owners that cause hazardous debris conditions on state roads are liable for damages resulting from their negligence.  The challenge is identifying the responsible party.  Shredded tire treads or a random couch in the middle of the road may be on the highway obstructing traffic for quite a while before FDOT receives notice and can remove it.  This means motorcyclists who have the misfortune of crashing into these objects may never learn who was responsible.

This situation leaves the injured rider with the question, “Will my insurance cover this accident?” The answer depends on the type of damage you, your vehicle, and other drivers involved with your accident have received as a result.

Comprehensive Insurance

Motorcycle riders struck by debris—after another vehicle’s tire blew out or rocks fell from a landscaping truck, as examples—may rely on a comprehensive policy to help pay for the damages to their motorcycle and personal property.

Collision Insurance Coverage

For instances where there is an object already in the road, and it causes a collision with another vehicle, collision coverage will prove extremely useful in recovering damages to the motorcycle and personal property.

Liability Insurance

In situations where a motorbike rider can prove who caused the road debris that led to damage or an accident, they can pursue the responsible party’s liability insurance for needed compensation for any loss, including injury or death.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Motorcyclists who have an uninsured motorist policy can use this policy in cases where debris causes damages or an accident, and the responsible party either drove off or was not identifiable.  Using this type of coverage will require proof that the driver or owner caused the debris that gave you your injuries, that the road hazard caused your losses, or that the liable party doesn’t have the insurance necessary to cover your damages.

Don’t Let Motorcycle Accidents Caused by Road Debris Go Uncompensated

If your motorcycle ride turned into a tragic encounter with road debris, it is vital to speak with a knowledgeable attorney about your injuries, damages, and other losses.

Attorney Frank P. Marsalisi to provides the best support and representation to our clients during such difficult times.  You deserve personalized attention when you’re dealing with injuries after a motorcycle accident.  Frank P. Marsalisi will never leave you in the dark about the status of your claim and can communicate with you in English and Spanish.

For more than ten years, Marsalisi Law has helped many motorcycle riders recover just compensation after accidents caused by negligent individuals leaving hazardous debris on roads around the greater St. Petersburg area.  We are proud members of the Tampa Bay Trial Lawyers Association and have successfully litigated numerous claims involving motorbike injuries.  Contact our office online today or at (727) 800-5052 for a free case evaluation to learn what your rights are and how to proceed with your case.


Marsalisi Law is Where Law Gets Personal!