New Jersey Injury Lawyers Determining Liability for Road Debris Accidents in Trenton, Titusville, Lawrence, and throughout Mercer County
Each day, the nation’s highways are full of vehicles carrying things, within or on the roof, or in trailers full of things that aren’t secured. Each time a passenger car passes, or is passed by, a truck full of anything—furniture, mattresses, tree limbs and brush, or anything else that’s not fastened down securely, there’s a chance that road debris will fall, damage your car, and perhaps even cause injury to you or your passengers, especially as you swerve to avoid the debris.
The AAA did a study on accidents caused by road debris. They found that more than 200,000 vehicles crashed from 2011 to 2014 because of debris on the road. The crashes resulted in 500 people dying and 39,000 being injured.
Causing road debris results in a fine in many states—if caught—which may be a deterrent to some people. And yet, these sorts of accidents are still happening and causing heartbreak for the people affected.
Crashes that Frequently Involve Road Debris
According to research, some common accidents due to road debris are as follows:
- Punctured tires: Rocks, nails, screws, and other sharp objects on the road can puncture a tire, causing a blowout or flat tire.
- Windshield damage: Small rocks or debris that hit a windshield can cause chips or cracks, which can impair visibility and lead to accidents.
- Wheel damage: Debris on the road can cause damage to wheels, such as dents or bent rims, which can affect handling and cause accidents.
- Collisions: Large debris, such as furniture, tree branches, or tires that fall from trucks, can cause collisions with other vehicles or pedestrians.
- Fire: Debris on the road, such as discarded cigarettes or flammable materials, can ignite and cause a fire.
- Loss of control: Debris on the road can cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle, leading to accidents.
Injuries Derived From Road Debris Accidents
It will depend on what kind of debris you encounter. Broken glass could cause cuts and lacerations. Tires might cause blunt-force trauma—bones can be broken, soft tissue injured, back and neck injuries, and even head or brain injuries. Sharp objects can harm internal organs or even cause amputations.
Challenges in Determining Fault for Road Debris-Related Accidents
In general, it is difficult to determine who is responsible for road debris-related accidents. It could be the person who dropped the debris on the road, the owner of the vehicle that dropped the debris, or even the government agency responsible for road maintenance. In some cases, the responsibility may also lie with the driver who failed to avoid the debris or did not maintain a safe following distance. Ultimately, it depends on the specific circumstances of each accident and may require a detailed investigation to determine liability.
What Does the Term “Flying Debris” Refer to?
Flying debris refers to small objects or particles that are blown away by the wind or any other force and could cause potential harm or damage to people or objects around them. Examples include broken glass, tree branches, rocks, and trash cans. It could also include debris kicked up around a construction site, like boards, traffic cones, and nails.
Avoidable Road Debris and Exceptions
Insurance companies consider anything lying on the road to be avoidable. This includes trailers that have detached furniture and even puddles of oil or water. This means insurance companies consider you to be at fault if you hit “avoidable road debris.” An exception would be if a traffic cone is poorly placed. Then the construction company could be considered liable.
Another exception might be a state’s Department of Transportation, which has the responsibility for keeping interstates free from debris. If the governmental entity responsible for that stretch of road knew of the debris but didn’t seek to remove it quickly, they could be considered negligent.
Filing a claim against a government entity is a long-term process. It involves a lot of paperwork and accurate records of the accident. Cohen & Riechelson, a local personal injury firm handling road debris accident claims and other accident claims on behalf of clients throughout New Jersey, can help you seek justice and compensation for your injuries and damages. Keep in mind, this has to be done before the statute of limitations expires.
What if I Hit Another Vehicle While Steering Away From Road Debris?
Compare these scenarios: If you crashed because you swerved to avoid a drunk driver, this is considered to be a no-contact accident. You could recover damages from their insurance company with your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Unfortunately, you can’t recover damages from a piece of furniture left on the highway. In this case, crashing after swerving could be considered an at-fault collision. It’s best to treat what your insurance company says with skepticism and to call a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer before making any decisions. We can help find out who can be held responsible for your accident. Simply call 609-528-2596 for a no cost, no obligation consultation with an attorney today.
Consult Our Personal Injury Lawyers if you Had an Accident Due to Road Debris in NJ
If you had an accident or were injured because of debris on the road, making your case will involve proving that the debris was left by a specific vehicle. You may have trouble proving this on your own. But there is a better chance that, with the help of the personal injury lawyers at Cohen & Riechelson, you will be able to bring a case against a trucking company that broke the statute that says no one can drive on a highway unless their load is covered and properly fastened. You might also win against a government agency that is responsible for keeping the road free of debris.
If you are watching your medical bill pile get higher and higher while waiting for an insurance company or the party at fault to do right by you, call us now. Get a skilled personal injury attorney to fight for you in Hamilton, Hopewell, Trenton, Robbinsville, Metuchen, South Brunswick, Edison, Princeton, West Windsor, Lawrenceville, and elsewhere in Mercer County, Middlesex County, Burlington County, and Somerset County, New Jersey. We can gather evidence, handle paperwork, and fight for the best possible outcome for you. Contact our offices at 609-528-2596 or fill out our easy to use form at this link for a free case review.