Who is Liable When Road Debris Causes Your Car Accident? - Catalano Law

Who is Liable When Road Debris Causes Your Car Accident?

Several parties may be liable for damages if you were injured in a road debris accident. These types of accidents are common, especially on highways and busy roads where vehicles are moving at high speeds. Loose debris can cause cars to swerve, blow out tires, or cause a collision with other vehicles.

If you or a loved one was injured in a road-debris accident, a New York car accident lawyer can help you determine who is liable for your injuries and help you recover compensation for your financial losses.

Common Road Debris Accidents

Common types of road debris can cause vehicle accidents, including construction materials, tire fragments, and abandoned vehicles. These accidents often cause serious damage to vehicles, resulting in significant financial losses and physical harm to drivers and passengers.

Determining who is liable in a road-debris accident is crucial for filing a successful claim. However, the type of road debris can impact who is responsible for your injuries.

Avoidable vs. Unavoidable Debris

Road debris can be categorized into avoidable and unavoidable debris. Avoidable debris is already located on the roadway and could have been reasonably avoided if a driver hadn’t been speeding, distracted, or impaired.

Objects may include abandoned trailers, large puddles, or broken furniture. If the debris was avoidable, an insurance company may suggest that you were at fault, regardless of who left the debris on the road.

Unavoidable debris, also called flying debris, are objects in motion during an accident. These may include falling rocks or cargo falling from truck beds. If you are injured by unavoidable debris, someone else may be found negligent, and you can recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and vehicle damage.  

Who is Liable in Road Debris Accidents?

In the case of road debris-caused accidents, determining liability can be complex. Liability can fall on the driver of the vehicle that caused the debris, the owner of the vehicle, the company responsible for securing the load, or even the government entity responsible for maintaining the road.

Government entities, such as city, state, or federal departments of transportation, have a responsibility to maintain safe roads and highways, as well as roadsides, shoulders, and median strips. This includes regular road maintenance and debris removal.

If a road debris accident occurs on a government-maintained road, they may be liable for damages. For example, if overgrown vegetation on the roadside flies into the road, causing an accident, the government entity responsible for that road may be considered negligent and liable for your injury.

Construction companies may be responsible for road debris accidents if they fail to properly secure construction materials or equipment, like lumber, scaffolding, or bricks. They may also be liable for accidents caused by their workers or vehicles if their workers do not follow proper safety protocols for securing their cargo and maintaining their vehicles.

Car makers may be liable for road debris accidents if they manufacture defective or poorly designed vehicles. For example, if a vehicle’s design results in a tire blowout or if it lacks safety features, such as adequately secured trunk lids, the manufacturer may be held liable for any road debris accidents that occur as a result.

Trucking companies may be liable for road debris accidents if they fail to train and monitor their drivers properly or if they fail to maintain their vehicles safely and securely. These businesses are also responsible for following the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) safety protocols for securing cargo. They must regularly inspect and maintain their vehicles to ensure they are in good working condition and free of hazardous debris.

Individual drivers may be liable for road debris accidents if they fail to secure their load properly. If a driver doesn’t tie down or enclose cargo properly, objects can fall from the vehicle and pose a danger to other drivers on the road.

What To Do if You Are in a Road Debris Accident

If you are involved in a road debris accident, contact an attorney from Catalano Law as soon as possible. We can help you gather and preserve critical evidence, such as photos of the debris at the accident scene, witness statements, and medical records detailing your injuries.

We will use this evidence to help you file a claim with your personal injury protection PIP insurance, which pays up to $50,000 in medical expenses and lost earnings.

If your damages exceed this coverage and meet New York’s serious injury threshold, we can also help you file with the negligent party’s liability insurance to receive a settlement for medical care and wages in excess of your PIP payout and property damage and non-economic losses.

Get Help From Auto Accident Attorneys at Catalano Law

If you have been impacted by a debris accident on the road, Catalano Law can help. Our compassionate and dedicated team has over 50 years of combined experience in handling these types of cases and will work tirelessly to help you get the compensation you deserve.

Contact our attorneys today to start your case with a free initial consultation.

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