Imagine riding your motorcycle down the freeway and having a tire tread or some other debris thrust into your path by an unknown vehicle. It is a prospect, in one form or another, that bikers face all the time. Often the problem for injured bikers in these types of situations is that, even if they have uninsured motorist coverage, carriers attempt to deny these claims since it is impossible to show the source of such debris.
Although the law in this area is quite complicated, varies from state to state, and often depends upon the facts, one factor that can be very important is whether the debris is an “integral part” of a vehicle (such as tire tread or hub cap) or just simple debris (such as a mattress, folding chairs, or bail of wire). Believe it or not, the type of road debris can make a huge difference in whether you are able to recover for an injury.
In Arizona, the Court of Appeals recently addressed this very issue in a motorcycle accident case that I handled and, while our law still presents some significant hurdles to these types of claims, the court found that there was sufficient evidence to allow our injured motorcycle client to pursue his claim against his uninsured motorist carrier since his collision with a tire tread gave rise to sufficient “physical contact” with another vehicle.