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Collecting Compensation for Accidents Caused by Road Debris

April 04, 2017

By van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim

According to a recent study published by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, over the last four years there were more than 200,000 debris-related car accidents nationwide. The Foundation also estimated that approximately 39,000 injuries were sustained in those accidents and as many as 500 people lost their lives. Fortunately, those who are injured in these types of accidents can collect compensation from the responsible parties, so if you were recently involved in a car crash caused by debris on the roadway, it is critical to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can evaluate your case.

What is Road Debris?

In its study, the AAA Foundation listed some of the most common types of road debris, which included:

  • Blown tires;
  • Fallen branches;
  • Furniture;
  • Loose cargo, such as lumber or shipping crates;
  • Construction equipment;
  • Detached trailers;
  • Vehicle parts;
  • Rocks and boulders; and
  • Trash.

All of these types of debris pose a danger to drivers regardless of the type of road on which they are traveling. However, colliding with road debris on the freeway can be especially dangerous because cars are much more likely to be driving at high speeds when they strike the object.

Preventive Steps

Although there is not much that drivers can do to ensure that others who are traveling with cargo carefully secure their loads, there are certain precautionary steps that all drivers can take to decrease their chances of being involved in a debris-related collision. For example, drivers who are hauling cargo can ensure that their loads are secured with the correct number and type of straps, tarps, ropes, and tie-downs. The AAA Foundation researchers also reported that approximately 37 percent of all crashes involving debris occurred when a driver attempted to swerve out of the way of the object in the road. While this may seem like the best course of action in the moment, it can actually lead to drivers losing control of their vehicles and causing a chain reaction collision. For this reason, the AAA Foundation encourages people to drive defensively, refrain from tailgating, and scan the road for obstacles every 12 to 15 seconds, which will give them a better chance of seeing oncoming debris in time to avoid a collision without risking the safety of others nearby.

Collecting Damages

The costs of treating injuries suffered in serious collisions can be ruinously expensive. Injured parties who can identify the person responsible for leaving the debris on the roadway, however, may be able to collect compensation for their losses. Responsible parties could include a truck driver who failed to secure cargo properly or a government employee who failed to remove debris even though he or she was aware of its presence. Obtaining eyewitness testimony and copies of the responding officer’s police report can be crucial in establishing fault in these types of cases.

Call a Skilled Personal Injury Attorney Today

Drivers should be able to travel public roads without fear of dangerous cargo or debris spilling onto the road. If you live in Philadelphia and were injured in a debris-related crash, please contact van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim at (215) 486-0123 or initiate a live chat with an experienced personal injury attorney today.



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