When people think of vehicular accidents, they often picture two or more vehicles hitting one another with one of the drivers being primarily at fault. But what about an accident where you are injured by flying debris? Debris accidents can lead to totaled vehicles and severe injuries, but who should be held liable?
Determining liability in a debris accident can be challenging. In this blog, we’ll discuss different factors relating to flying and stationary road debris liability and what you should do after a road debris accident.
Common Types of Road Debris
Any loose item can potentially fall from a truck or another vehicle and cause road debris, but a few common types of debris include:
- Car decorations
- Broken glass
- Vehicle parts
- Christmas trees or other decorations
Flying debris can be deadly on the road. It can occur from different factors including storms, heavy winds, and objects falling from high-speed vehicles.
Avoidable debris is an object lying stationary on the road. Some common types of avoidable debris include furniture, construction cones, detached trailers, or any other type of debris that’s immobile rather than flying.
What Should I Do After a Road Debris Accident?
Road debris results in thousands of wrecks every year, and most debris accidents result from a vehicle owner failing to properly secure their load. Flying debris can be especially dangerous because it hits vehicles at high speeds, leading to vehicle damages and possibly serious or even fatal injuries. Hundreds of victims die every year because of road debris. In the event that you wreck because of road debris, you need to:
- Determine whether you or one of your passengers needs medical assistance, and call 911 if you need emergency assistance.
- Contact the police to investigate the scene. Their accident report can indicate who was liable for the wreck.
- If you’re able, collect evidence at the crash. You can collect eyewitness statements and take pictures of the debris and your vehicle at all available angles. You should be cautious when obtaining evidence, especially if your wreck occurred on the interstate.
- Contact a car accident attorney. It’s critical to get proper legal support for an accident caused by debris because you need to prove that the debris was unavoidable, which we discuss in greater detail below.
Who Is At Fault For a Flying Debris Accident?
The person who is at fault for a debris accident is primarily determined by the type of debris. If the wreck was caused by flying debris from a driver’s vehicle, insurance companies usually label them at fault for the accident. If the driver stops after the wreck, you can collect information to hold them accountable for damages, but drivers often flee the scene or fail to realize when their cargo flies off of their vehicle.
If the negligent driver leaves the scene, you need to collect evidence to find out who’s responsible, such as eyewitness reports and dashboard camera footage. If you’re able to obtain the driver’s information, such as the make and model of their vehicle, description, or license plate number, you can turn that information over to the police so that you can track down the negligent driver.
Who Is At Fault For an Avoidable Debris Accident?
If the debris was avoidable, the person who wrecked will likely be held liable. This is especially unfortunate if they were injured in the debris wreck because car insurance won’t cover medical expenses unless it includes medical payments coverage. Medical payments coverage does not compensate you for lost wages, so you won’t recover money for time away from work due to your injury.
Although avoidable debris usually means insurance companies will hold you liable, there are exceptions. For example, if you wrecked because a construction company placed a traffic cone in a dangerous area, the construction company may be found at fault.
Additionally, municipalities can be held liable for debris wrecks. For example, in Indiana, the Indiana Department of Transportation is required to remove debris from interstates. If you wrecked because of road debris that should have been removed, you could hold a municipal institution responsible.
Contact a Debris Accident Lawyer
If you experience a wreck caused by road debris, you’ll likely need to negotiate with your insurance company. You’ll reach a more favorable outcome if you enlist the services of an expert car accident attorney. A car accident lawyer will communicate with your insurance to work toward a suitable claim. Oversharing with your insurance company can potentially hurt your case if you end up filing a personal injury lawsuit, so you need legal experts at your side to help you through the process.
An attorney can also help you prove that the debris was not avoidable so that you can avoid filing through your own insurance company, which will raise your premium. If your traffic accident was caused by flying debris, your lawyer can also help you with collecting information to find and hold the negligent driver responsible. When you can prove that someone else was at fault for your flying or non-flying debris wreck, you can recover damages for your vehicle, medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more.
For expert legal guidance in Indiana, contact the personal injury and car accident lawyers at Crossen Law Firm. We’ll help you receive the compensation you deserve for your debris accident. Call our office at 317-401-8626 or contact us online here.