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Accidents Caused by Road Debris

 

 

Road Debris Accidents

Road debris is a common sight on Florida highways, and its presence poses a significant risk to motorists every day, causing serious accidents and catastrophic injuries. Depending on the severity and liability you may be entitled to compensation. Road debris damage can be caused by loose gravel, stones, tire shreds, fallen cargo from trucks, or discarded objects on roads. The dangers escalate when these items are propelled into the air by vehicles or adverse weather conditions. When they become airborne, they transform from small pieces of litter into potentially deadly projectiles, capable of causing damage to vehicles and endangering the lives of other drivers.

 

 

Should I File a Claim for Road Debris Accidents?

Before filing a claim, assess whether the damage exceeds your deductible. If the damage is less than your deductible, filing a claim might not be worthwhile. In cases where a warning sign was present, your insurance might consider the accident avoidable. However, if government authorities failed to maintain the road, it might be considered unavoidable.

Road debris can include objects like tire fragments, cardboard boxes, tree limbs, or loose car parts. These hazards pose significant risks to drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.

Avoidable Debris

If a driver could have seen and avoided the debris with proper caution but failed to do so, the accident is considered avoidable. For example, if the debris (e.g., a large piece of furniture) is visible from a distance, allowing ample time for the driver to slow down or maneuver around it safely. Insurance companies might not cover these damages, as they are often deemed preventable.

Unavoidable Debris

This refers to debris that could not have been avoided even with careful driving, such as flying debris or sudden obstacles. In these cases, insurance claims may be more straightforward if you have comprehensive coverage.

 

 

Who is Liable if Debris Hits My Car?

The liability in road debris accidents can often be traced back to either individual negligence or systemic shortcomings. In many cases, if the debris came from another vehicle, the driver or owner of that vehicle may be held responsible for any damage or injuries if they failed to properly secure their load or were otherwise negligent. Below is a detailed breakdown of the responsibilities legally assumed by potential parties involved:

Vehicle Drivers/Owners

Drivers must ensure their vehicles are properly maintained and secured. This includes regular checks to prevent parts or cargo from becoming loose and falling onto the road. They can be held liable if their negligence, such as failing to secure a load or neglecting vehicle maintenance, results in debris causing an accident. For example, a tire blowout due to poor maintenance could make the vehicle owner liable for any resulting damage or injury. If the debris is unavoidable or resulted from an unforeseeable mechanical failure, liability might be contested.

Construction Companies

Construction companies must ensure that all materials and equipment on their sites are properly secured to prevent them from becoming road hazards. These companies can be held liable if construction debris causes an accident, particularly if they failed to secure the site or follow safety regulations. Liability may be reduced if the company can prove that they followed all protocols, and that the debris was the result of an unforeseeable event.

Business and Property Owners

Businesses and property owners must maintain their premises to prevent debris from entering public roadways. This includes regular maintenance and prompt removal of potential hazards. If debris from a property causes an accident, the property owner can be held liable for negligence. If the debris was placed by a third party without the owner’s knowledge, the liability might be mitigated.

Cargo Loaders

Companies responsible for loading cargo must ensure that loads are properly secured to prevent them from becoming road hazards. Cargo loaders can be held liable if debris falls from a vehicle due to unsecured loads and improper loading practices. Liability may be mitigated if the company followed all proper procedures and the debris resulted from unforeseeable circumstances.

Utility Companies

Utility companies involved in road work must ensure their equipment and materials are secured and that any debris generated is promptly cleared. Utility companies can be held liable for accidents caused by debris from their activities if they fail to secure their worksite or remove debris. Liability might be reduced if the company can prove adherence to all safety protocols and if the debris was the result of an unforeseeable event.

 

 

Government Immunity in Road Debris Accidents

Governmental immunity, also known as sovereign immunity, is a legal doctrine that generally protects government entities from lawsuits. In Florida, this doctrine typically shields state and local governments from liability for certain actions or inactions. However, statute 768.29 outlines the conditions under which sovereign immunity is waived in Florida. It specifies that individuals can pursue claims against government entities for negligent acts resulting in personal injury or property damage.

Exceptions to Government Immunity in Road Debris Accidents

Governmental immunity may be waived if an accident caused by road debris is due to a dangerous condition on public property. This includes poorly maintained roads, inadequate signage, or other hazardous conditions that the government entity knew about or should have known about and failed to correct. If the entity had prior notice of the dangerous condition and did not take appropriate action to remedy it, they can be held liable for the resulting injuries and damages​.

Failure to Maintain Public Roadways

Government entities are responsible for the maintenance of public roadways. If an accident occurs due to the government’s failure to maintain the roads properly or to remove debris promptly, the government can be held liable. For example, if a government agency neglected its duty to clean up debris or fix road hazards that led to an accident, this negligence can be grounds for a lawsuit​.

Failure to Address Hazardous Situations

Florida law mandates that governmental agencies must address hazardous situations on public property promptly. If a government entity fails to take reasonable action to prevent or mitigate dangers related to flying debris, it can be held responsible for any resulting accidents. This includes failure to warn motorists of known hazards or to implement necessary safety measures​.

 

Choose The Law Offices of Scott Senft for Your Road Debris Accident

At the Law Offices of Scott the Lawyer, we pride ourselves on our unique personalized approach to every case we handle. While we are a big firm with considerable resources and expertise, we maintain a small firm feel by prioritizing individualized attention and care for each client’s case. When you choose us, you are gaining a dedicated team that genuinely cares about your well-being and is committed to working tirelessly on your behalf while you focus on your recovery. With our firm’s dedication to excellence and our attorneys’ in-depth knowledge of Florida law, clients can trust that they are in capable hands during every step of the legal process.

Call for a Free Case Evaluation!

If you have any questions or concerns about hiring a personal injury lawyer for a flying debris accident, do not hesitate to give us a call. Schedule your free consultation today and let us provide you with the support and guidance you need to pursue the compensation you deserve.

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