Vehicle crashes happen every single day for a variety of reasons, which means there are hundreds of thousands of accidents every year. In the state of Georgia, many of these accidents are due to debris on the road. These accidents can result in property damage, personal injury, or even death.
When you are involved in this type of accident, it’s important to first determine where the debris came from. If the debris was from another driver, it may be difficult or impossible to determine liability. In some cases, liability may be placed on the government entity responsible for the roadway, if they knew or should have known about the debris and failed to resolve the issue in a timely manner.
If you are involved in an accident due to road debris, it’s important to have an experienced Georgia car accident attorney on your side. Brady M. Larrison of Larrison Law Firm Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorneys has over a decade of experience. He can help you understand your rights and get the compensation you deserve.
What is Road Debris?
An object that is on the road that does not belong there is classified as road debris. Some of the most common examples include:
- Tire falling off of a vehicle
- Cardboard boxes
- Loose/broken car parts
- Tree limbs
Debris on the road is a serious road hazard that can lead to major vehicle crashes. Debris can be dangerous for drivers as well as pedestrians or cyclists, because the driver may hit the object or may swerve to avoid it and hit another vehicle, pedestrian, or cyclist.
Who is Liable for Road Debris Crashes?
The person or entity who was negligent in the crash is liable for damages caused by accidents involving debris on the road. Negligence is when someone’s actions or inactions lead to an accident. There are four elements that must be established to prove negligence:
- Duty of care existed between the plaintiff and the defendant
- The duty of care was breached by failing to act reasonably
- Injury/damages occurred in the accident
- The injury/damages were the result of the breach
In road debris accidents, the parties that are most likely to be held liable include:
The driver of a vehicle has a duty to take precautions to avoid harming others while out on the roadways. If a driver does not properly secure their load or they toss something out of their car window, they may be held liable in a road debris accident.
If a construction company is providing maintenance/repair services on the roadway and they do not maintain a safe work zone, they may be held liable for an accident. This includes properly securing equipment and construction materials so that they do not end up on the roadway.
Premises liability laws state that the owner of the roadway must ensure that it is free of dangerous conditions, including debris. The government owns public roadways, which means they are responsible for removing debris that they are aware of or should be aware of.
What Happens When You Hit Debris on the Highway?
Unfortunately, liability can be difficult to prove in cases involving road debris. However, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of being compensated:
Seek medical attention
If you are involved in an accident, you are the first priority. Even if you do not believe that you have been injured, you should seek a medical evaluation. In some cases, an injury may not be obvious, and prompt medical treatment will reveal- and document- any injuries.
When you are in an accident, it is critical to document the scene as part of your evidence gathering. As long as it is safe, take photos and videos of the scene. Some of the most important factors include debris, skid marks, visible injuries, and damage to the vehicle.
Contact law enforcement
When you are involved in a crash, you must contact law enforcement and file an official report. This will help with your insurance claim and may help prove liability.
Obtain statements from witnesses
If anyone witnessed the accident, make sure that you gather their information including their statement about what happened. In many cases, a witness statement can help with proving liability.
Consult with an attorney
An experienced accident attorney can be helpful in navigating the complexities of road debris accidents. They have the expertise to handle these types of claims. They will be able to fight for your right to compensation.
Tips for Avoiding Road Debris Accidents
According to AAA, there are a few things you can do to prevent or reduce the severity of road debris accidents, including:
- Looking ahead 12 to 15 seconds to detect any debris/hazards in the roadway
- Avoiding distractions from your GPS, smartphone, or passengers
- Leaving at least 3 to 4 seconds between your vehicle and the one in front of you
- Reduce speed if you see debris in the roadway that you cannot avoid. You may also turn on your hazards to alert drivers behind you of a potential threat
- If driving in hazardous weather or at night, pay close attention to the roadway for potential hazards
- Maintain an open space on at least one side of the vehicle at all times when possible, to allow space to move into to avoid debris
Contact Us if Debris Caused Your Auto Accident in Georgia
If you or a loved one is involved in a road debris accident, contact Brady M. Larrison of Larrison Law Firm Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorneys. He has been representing accident victims in the communities of Athens, Loganville, and Monroe for more than 12 years. He can help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact the office for your free case evaluation today.