Leonard Vernon Maxwell III, 52, of Garden Grove, died in a motorcycle accident caused by debris on the 91 Freeway in Corona, The Orange County Register reports in this article. Maxwell and his wife were both riding their motorcycles westbound in the carpool lane the night of January 30, 2009 when Maxwell hit a trailer tow hitch that was lying in the lane. Maxwell was knocked off his motorcycle.
His wife apparently tried to help him, but before she could get to him, a sport utility vehicle in the fast lane struck and killed him. The accident occurred just west of Grand Boulevard in Corona.
My heart goes out to Leonard Vernon Maxwell’s wife, family and friends – especially his wife, who actually saw her husband get struck and killed on that freeway. I offer my deepest condolences to her and to those who knew and loved Maxwell.
Freeway debris is a common cause of accidents on California’s freeways. The California State Department of Transportation (Caltrans) estimates that 140,000 cubic yards of debris is dumped on California’s roadways each year. In fact, roadway debris, especially on the highways, has caused 155 traffic accident deaths in California over the last two years. Motorcyclists in particular are more susceptible to serious or fatal injuries in these accidents.
In California, motorists can be fined for dropping anything other than live bird feathers or water from their vehicles onto a roadway. In addition to fines and penalties, they can be held civilly and criminally responsible if the debris causes injury or death to other motorists. Our law firm has successfully handled many major injury and fatality accident cases caused by highway debris. This happens mostly because car and truck drivers are not paying attention to whether their loads were properly secured. It does amount to negligence. In the case of this Corona motorcycle accident, the person that left the trailer hitch lying on the freeway must be held responsible for the fatal accident and injuries.
Victims of an auto accident caused by highway debris have a right to be compensated for their injuries from the person who dropped the debris on the roadway. But if the responsible party is never identified or found, the uninsured motorist provision of an auto insurance policy may compensate the injured victim or the family of a deceased auto accident victim.
I’d urge the family of Leonard Vernon Maxwell to consult with an experienced Southern California personal injury attorney who will explain their legal rights and options. A knowledgeable California auto accident lawyer will also tell you how your auto insurance policy will apply to a roadway debris accident.