Did flying debris or an obstruction in the road lead to your injury? You deserve valuable California car accident compensation.
One of the most unexpected and traumatizing auto accidents you can ever experience comes from debris in the road. Imagine cruising down a California freeway on a beautiful day when suddenly a huge log tumbles off of a truck and smashes through your windshield!
Debris in the roadway is all too common here in California. It leads to horrific car accidents including massive chain-reaction collisions that close down our freeways and cause life-changing severe injuries and deaths.
California has about 190,000 fatal and injury-causing crashes every year and a surprising number of them involve loose, flying, and obstructive road debris. AAA of Southern California estimates that road debris was responsible for approximately 39,000 injuries and more than 500 deaths nationwide over four years.
After a road debris accident, you’ll need the experienced car accident team at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers to help you pursue the valuable accident compensation you deserve. Your collision coverage against the liable driver and their insurance company to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and more.
A road debris accident lawyer helps you demand the maximum possible value of your injury claim under the law, and it’s unlikely that you’ll ever set foot in court. To learn more, ask for a free case evaluation and read the information below about road debris accident claims.
Why Do Road Debris Crashes Happen?
If you’re wondering, “How did this happen?” you’re not alone. Road debris crashes are usually confusing for unsuspecting victims. The debris comes flying out of nowhere before you can react. Plus, these situations frequently involve a frustrating game of finger-pointing from the liable party and their insurance company.
Even the California Highway Patrol might not be able to provide good insight into what happened. The good news is that your road debris accident lawyer can conduct a thorough investigation and shed additional light on your situation.
Generally speaking, road debris accidents tend to have causes like:
- A big pothole triggers a chain-reaction vehicle collision
- A logging truck loses its load as it bounces down the roadway
- A big rig’s tire comes flying loose and whips into your car
- A motorist carries an unrestrained load in an open-bed pickup truck
- A vehicle is overloaded, unbalanced, or has a preventable equipment failure
- An inexperienced or unlicensed truck driver fails to strap down a truck’s load correctly
- Construction company workers create road debris as they work
- Road crew workers leave hazardous obstacles behind in the roadway
- A highway clean-up crew fails to completely clear the roadway after an accident
- Someone swerves to avoid hitting by road debris and crashes into you
Sudden swerves are among the top causes of road debris accidents. Almost 4 in 10 debris-related accidents arise from drivers maneuvering to avoid debris in the roadway and hitting other cars. The majority of these accidents occur during daytime hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when trucks are actively hauling cargo.
It’s worth noting that California’s deadly crashes and multi-car pileups have served as inspiration for new statewide safety measures and trash collection efforts. In one year alone, Caltrans spent $76 million on freeway litter removal and collected 9,500 garbage trucks’ worth of debris.
Important Things to Do After a Road Debris Accident
As an injured victim in a road debris accident, it’s your burden to fight for the money you need to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. Your compensation isn’t automatic, but you have certain rights guaranteed under California law.
To protect these rights, learn the steps after a car accident that preserve your path to successful accident compensation. Below are some of the most important things you can do after a road debris accident.
Seek Treatment and Save Your Bills
Most accident claims are built around substantial medical bills that show a clear connection to the road debris accident and establish medical treatment. Additional evidence, like the police report and witness statements, will also help support and round out your case.
Get medical care as soon as possible after your accident, whether you go straight to the emergency room or not. Follow your doctor’s orders and give yourself the best possible opportunity for a full recovery.
Build Additional Evidence
Your lawyer can assist you with gathering car accident evidence regarding your road debris accident. It also helps if you’re proactive about taking photos and videos showing your car damage, the debris that caused the accident, nearby road signs in the area, skid marks from the crash, and so on. Photos of your injuries are also helpful.
Contact the police department to obtain a copy of the police report and reach out to witnesses or provide their contact information to your lawyer. In the meantime, keep a journal that documents your daily thoughts, experiences, and emotional changes to your life.
Stay Quiet About Your Accident
Don’t speak to anyone except your doctor and your lawyer about the accident. Minimize your statements to the police. The insurance company could use your statements against you later to indicate something you didn’t intend.
An insurance representative may sound eager to settle your claim with a valuable offer, but it will likely be a lowball offer at first. Don’t accept an offer too quickly before you speak to your road debris accident lawyer.
Don’t allow anyone to make a video or audio recording of your conversation without your permission, which is your right under California law. Also, you don’t have to give out your social security number or other personal details and data until you talk to a lawyer about whether it’s in your best interests.
It’s a good idea to go dark online and avoid using social media to discuss your road debris accident. Remember, lawyers and insurance companies sometimes look through the internet for things they can use as evidence against you.
Common Road Debris Accident Injuries
Road debris crashes have risen 40% over the past two decades and debris-related injuries are also on the rise. Below are some of the most common injuries from road debris accidents.
- Bruises and scrapes
- Severe skin damage
- Burns and scalds
- Broken bones
- Mouth and tooth damage
- Eye socket damage
- Broken arms and legs
- Neck and shoulder injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Damaged muscles and ligaments
- Back/spinal cord injuries
- Organ damage
- Crushing ribcage injuries
- Numbness and nerve damage
- Temporary or permanent paralysis
- Chronic pain
- Emotional harm
How Insurance Works After a California Road Debris Crash
If you’re not familiar with how insurance typically works in California road accidents, please continue reading. You can also contact Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers for a free online evaluation of your case and an explanation about how insurance could factor into your potential compensation for your crash. Below, we’ll outline how insurance typically works in the average road debris accident, but these results are not guaranteed.
Many road debris accidents are serious enough to involve the police and medical first responders, but some aren’t. Our law firm focuses on road debris cases that are severe enough to cause moderate to major medical bills and other damages like lost wages, significant property damage, and pain and suffering.
In addition to the police investigation, your personal injury lawyer will investigate your accident to determine your paths to compensation regarding insurance and potential legal action. At the same time or soon after, the insurance company will likely make you an offer to see if you’ll accept it.
Your results depend on factors like negotiation, evidence, applicable laws, your medical bills, your other damages, and your level of blame for the crash. Most road debris accident cases can be resolved through careful negotiation without ever going to court. Even if you must appear in court, the team at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers represents you with experience and professionalism.
Assigning Fault in California Road Debris Accidents
California uses the comparative fault rule for traffic accidents. Therefore, the total liability is divided according to each person’s responsibility for what happened. Your compensation will be reduced according to your share of the blame, so you could be totally blameless, 100% to blame, or anywhere in-between.
Shared fault is quite common, especially in road debris accidents that involve swerving and multi-vehicle collisions. It should be emphasized that you can still recover accident compensation even if you are partially to blame for the accident.
Liability in road debris cases often involves California Vehicle Code Section 23113, which indicates that when a vehicle’s driver is responsible for dumping, dropping, or throwing something in the roadway, they are also responsible for causing related harm. The person can be held liable in criminal and/or civil court for damages and injuries their debris caused other drivers, pedestrians, and more. The state may also charge them cleanup fees.
As a victim or partially responsible party in a road debris case, you could be shielded from blame completely under California’s emergency doctrine. This is a legal concept that releases people from liability when confronted by a danger they didn’t create, like flying debris in the roadway. Your lawyer can advise you on whether the emergency doctrine applies to your specific case.
In road debris cases, it’s common to have multiple parties involved – especially when the accident happens on an extremely congested road or freeway. When there are multiple parties involved in your road debris accident, all will be assigned a proportion of liability up to a total amount of 100%. This is a complicated situation, but your lawyer can help you sort through it all and determine your best path forward.
Your road debris accident case could involve many factors, including:
- State and local laws regarding debris, speeding, and other issues
- Federal trucking laws that involve loading and safety
- Where and when the accident happened on California’s roads
- Any relevant weather or visibility conditions
- Road debris like cracked and peeling pavement
- Testimony from other drivers and witnesses
- Expert testimony from highway crash investigators
- The damage to each vehicle and whether they’re totaled
- Whether your accident involves drunk, drugged, or distracted driving
- Additional evidence like video/dashcam footage from cars and businesses
- The police report and police testimony
Any accident can involve many other parties with unexpected connections to your accident. A road debris case may involve a big rig driver and their trucking employer, plus a major trucking insurance carrier.
Maybe the responsible party was working for the government at the time of the accident, delivering trash or moving rubble to the dump. They could have been driving for a commercial trucking company, a delivery company, or Uber, which impacts your case. Your lawyer can help you track down everyone involved and establish what it all means for your case.
Short Statute of Limitations for Some Debris Accident Claims!
Time is ticking! Don’t wait too long to start your road debris accident claim. Under California’s statute of limitations, there’s a firm deadline for filing these claims of two years from the date of the road debris accident.
The deadline is much shorter if your debris claim involves a city, county, or state agency. Generally, this deadline is just six months from the date of the accident. Keep this in mind if your accident involves a county or city vehicle like a bus, dump truck, or trash truck.
You Need the Right Road Debris Accident Lawyer
A road debris accident is upsetting and could leave you too traumatized to drive and enjoy your life the way you used to. Choosing the right lawyer at this difficult time is extremely important.
At Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we approach our clients with care and compassion. We make it worth your valuable time to explore your legal options and try a free initial consultation with a road debris accident lawyer from our experienced legal team.
We always take a personal interest in each person who becomes our client. We’ll work diligently to pursue the full value of your road debris accident claim, including your medical bills, emotional damage, lost earnings, and more. We’re here to stand up for your rights and help you recover, so please contact us as soon as possible to discuss your road debris accident.
We Handle Your Road Debris Accident Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life
When you suffer injury due to road debris in California, please contact our personal injury attorney attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of the law, including road debris accidents. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering while we handle the legal details.
We care about helping California’s injured people. Contact us today for a free online case evaluation or call 877-380-8852