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What if You Are Injured by Road Debris?

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No one expects that they will be involved in a car accident. However, the careless or negligent actions of other drivers often lead to accidents that cause property damage and injuries on the roadways. But what about accidents that occur because of debris on the roadway? Accidents caused by debris do occur, and they can cause serious injuries to those inside the vehicles. There are innumerable types of debris that can lead to serious accidents. When this type of incident does occur, who is ultimately responsible for property damage and injury expenses?

Types of debris that can cause accidents

As a driver, you need to be aware of not only other drivers on the roadway. You must also be vigilant and watch out for dangerous conditions on the road itself. This includes various types of debris that can be on the roadway. Potential roadway debris can take on many forms, including the following:

  • Fallen trees or branches
  • Furniture
  • Mattresses
  • Tire treads from semi-trucks
  • Lumber or scrap wood
  • Scrap metal
  • Cargo from a tractor-trailer
  • and more

Depending on the size and weight of the debris on the roadway, accidents involving these items can range in severity. In some cases, these items will get caught in the undercarriage of a vehicle and cause damage. These items can also become airborne and crash through the windshield of an unsuspecting driver. In other instances, drivers may crash in an attempt to swerve around debris in the roadway.

Who is responsible for these accidents?

There may be various parties that could be held liable in these instances, though proving liability is often immensely difficult. For natural roadway debris (trees, water, etc.), there may be no party liable, particularly if the debris has not been in the roadway very long. However, state or municipal authorities could be held liable if they knew about debris in the roadway and failed to remove it in a timely manner.

In other cases, drivers who fail to secure items in or on their vehicles can be held liable if debris causes an accident. However, proving an at-fault driver’s liability can be difficult. Unless the injured party is able to get the license plate number of the vehicle, more likely than not, the driver will never be found.

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM)

Uninsured or underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist coverage is incredibly beneficial in these situations. In California, this type of insurance is not mandatory, but it is highly recommended. If an injured driver has uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage and the liable party cannot be found, this coverage could provide payments for medical bills, lost income, and property damage coverage.

If you are hurt in an accident or sustained property damage caused by roadway debris, and you are unable to find the liable party, contact your insurance carrier and inquire about your uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.

Make sure to call the police

If you or somebody you care about is injured in an accident caused by roadway debris, you should call the police and ensure that they complete investigation into the incident. Having a police report will be beneficial for any insurance claim, and the police will be able to assist in finding the at-fault driver, if at all possible. Additionally, you need to make sure that you seek medical assistance for any injuries following an incident caused by roadway debris. Contact an Orange County personal injury lawyer if you are seeking compensation for your injuries.

Covid 19 Update: We are accepting new cases and we handle everything electronically and remotely, so our clients never have to leave their homes.