Car Accident Injuries Caused by Road Debris
Any large or sharp object lying on a road is an accident waiting to happen. A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that between 2011 and 2014 there were 200,000 crashes and 500 deaths caused by road debris. Anyone involved in a car crash caused by road debris should pursue compensation immediately after the accident. The longer you wait, the harder it is to gather evidence.
Types of Debris
Unsecured loads fall of vehicles to litter lanes of traffic causing people to swerve recklessly to avoid them. Swerving on a busy highway may cause a collision that could lead to a fatal vehicle pile-up. Some debris that fall off vehicles includes furniture, ladders, lumber, mattresses and more. But smaller debris like nails, hammers or saws can also cause major accidents.
You are more likely to encounter a debris-related accident on the freeways in the middle of the day. This is because drivers go faster on freeways making it hard for them to react quickly enough, when debris fall off a vehicle ahead of them.
Liability for accidents caused by road debris
Texas law holds drivers who create road debris legally liable meaning that they can be fined. The fine can be as little as $50 but may go up to $500. Other states send drivers to jail for contributing to road debris that cause tragic accidents.
However, it is difficult to establish liability in a road debris case because the injured party may not see the vehicle responsible. Sometimes an accident happens because of road debris that had fallen on the road earlier. The fast moving events in a road debris accident may also make it difficult to identify the driver of the truck that dropped debris.
You may hold a trucking line or company liable if the road debris came from an 18 wheeler, a tractor trailer, diesel or other large commercial truck. However, you will have to prove that federal regulations governing the trucking industry were violated.
Federal regulations governing the trucking industry hold that all loads on tractor trailers or flatbed trucks must be properly secured to prevent them from shifting or falling.
Safety measures that can minimize the risk of debris-related accidents include:
- Driving at a safe distance behind loaded commercial and personal vehicles
- Changing lanes away from a vehicle that seems to have a poorly secured load
- Surveying the road ahead to see if you will have enough time to react if there is debris on the road
Insurance companies may not offer settlements for drivers that cannot identify the source of debris that caused an accident. Most debris lack identification marks and the vehicle that may have spilled the debris may be long gone before the accident even happens.
If you are involved in a debris-related accident, you should seek legal help immediately. A resourceful lawyer can put investigators on the job to try and identify the vehicle that dropped the debris. This will improve your chances of gathering enough evidence that you need to pursue adequate compensation.