An accident that left one driver dead. A dash camera showed one car sideswiping another causing the gray car to spin out in front of another car that was recording the accident and then crash into the median.
According to at least one witness, flying debris came across the median from the westbound lane of the I-20. While an investigation is still underway, the debris appeared to hit one car causing it to jerk to its left, sideswipe another car, and then spin out of control. Investigators aren’t sure where the debris came from.
Road Debris and Accidents
In cases where road debris is responsible for an accident, the liability falls to the individual who placed the road debris on the road. Sometimes, this is done intentionally and without care or concern for anyone else on the road. While it may seem like a harmless way of disposing of garbage, debris ejected from windows can cause serious accidents the same as any kind of road debris.
Road debris can be found all over Georgia highways. Sometimes it comes off a truck where the cargo wasn’t secured properly. Sometimes a truck loses its tread and the tire debris is left in the road. And sometimes it’s caused by someone who is too lazy to wait to throw out their trash in an available receptacle.
Throwing Garbage From a Moving Car
When you throw garbage from a moving car, which direction does it go? I bet you think it goes backward. But it doesn’t. In fact, the garbage is going in the same direction you and your car are, initially at the same speed. However, the acceleration provided by your car and wind resistance, causes the garbage to lose speed at a faster rate resulting in the garbage appearing like it’s going behind you.
It’s important to remember this because if you’re in an oncoming lane of traffic and eject debris from within your car, that debris can cross into oncoming traffic where it strikes another car on the other side of the road.
Who Is Responsible in a Road Debris Accident?
Road debris comes in all shapes and sizes—from furniture secured in the back of a pickup to wheels coming off big-rigs. Even very basic things like boxes or clothing can create a problem on highways where drivers are cruising along at 60 mph or faster. A driver who sees road debris will likely attempt to avoid it. They may not have enough time to react appropriately. They try to swerve out of the way. Sometimes, they ignore it completely and their car does respond well to hitting even a small piece of road debris at very high speeds. So who is responsible?
In cases where the road debris can be said to be the proximate cause of a major car accident, the individual who is responsible for the debris is liable for the accident, at least in theory.
For instance, if you’re transporting junk from one place to the dump in your pickup truck and some of that junk makes it onto the road, causes an accident, and someone else is killed as a result of that accident, they can file a wrongful death lawsuit against you or the commercial entity that employs you. If you were speeding or otherwise driving recklessly, this may limit or reduce your damages, but it wouldn’t invalid your claim completely.
Filing an Insurance Claim for a Road Debris Accident
This is where trouble comes in. It can be very difficult to determine who is responsible for road debris that has been left out on the road for even a few minutes. Typically, the driver who is responsible for the road debris would have the claim filed against their insurance policy. If this is a commercial policy, as the case tends to be, the claim would be filed against the company’s general liability policy.
But if you don’t know who caused the road debris, then who do you file the claim against? This can be difficult to navigate. In most instances, an uninsured driver’s policy will not cover road debris accidents if you don’t know who created the road debris. Those who carry collision coverage may be able to recover damages related to the physical damage of their car, but collision coverage is generally a no-fault type of insurance. Here, you’re hoping that someone else pays for your injuries and the damage to your vehicles.
In order to be covered for a road debris accident, you must be able to show that you were part of one unbroken chain of events. For instance, if a truck driver loses their cargo, this causes another car to swerve into your lane, and hits you, the truck driver would be responsible for both damages to both you and the other driver along with anyone else involved in the accident.
Hiring an Attorney to Investigate Your Claim
Sometimes, it will be very easy to identify the primary culprit in a road debris accident. Other times, it will be much more difficult. In cases where your injuries are extensive, it might help to talk to an attorney about the details concerning your case. We may be able to investigate the accident including gaining subpoenas for road cameras. If we can trace the cargo back to a specific driver, we can file a lawsuit against that driver for negligence.
Conducting investigations is a part of what personal injury lawyers do. We can go through police reports, subpoena records from primary companies, and even gain access to surveillance footage that may have caught the incident on tape.
Talk to a Kennesaw Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured in a car accident that you know is not your fault, talk to the attorneys at the Roger Ghai Law Offices today. We will conduct a full investigation and ensure that you are compensated fairly for your injuries and property damage.