According to an August 2016 study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, almost 10,000 people suffered injury in more than 50,000 auto accidents each year between 2011 and 2014 due to debris in the roadway. An average of 125 people lost their lives in these road debris wrecks each year nationwide.
Could drivers prevent these debris-related car accidents?
As a driver, you can help reduce your risk of a road debris crash by leaving enough room between you and the car in front of you, especially on the interstate where these accidents most commonly happen. In most states, the safe following distance is three to four seconds. Your following distance should be longer in bad weather or limited visibility.
(Note: You can check your following distance by timing how long it takes you to get to a landmark the car in front of you just passed. For example, if the car in front of you passes a road or exit sign, count how long it takes you to get to the same sign. If it takes less than three or four seconds, slow down a bit.)
Avoiding tailgating, carefully watching the road as far ahead of you as possible for obstructions, and always putting your entire focus on driving are key in avoiding an impact with roadway debris or other cars.
This is important not only to possibly prevent an accident, but because Georgia’s modified comparative negligence law could reduce your payout after a crash if an insurer or jury finds your driving habits contributed to causing the wreck. For example, if an unsecured object fell off the car in front of you but you were speeding and did not have time to safely maneuver around the object, an insurer may find you partially at fault for your accident.
If all drivers took the proper precautions, very few of these accidents would occur. The most common ways that debris ends up on the roadway include:
- Pieces of a vehicle falling off
- Tire blowouts
- Unsecured cargo
- Trailers coming unhitched
To prevent this debris from falling on the roadway, motorists should:
- Check tire inflation and tread wear regularly
- Have a trained mechanic check their vehicle as a part of their routine maintenance
- Tie or strap down any cargo
- Double check tie downs on all cargo
- Cover cargo with a tarp when possible
- Secure all trailers properly
- Always ensure your trunk is closed and latched
Who is legally responsible for a debris-related accident?
About two-thirds of road debris crashes occur because of loose cargo or lost parts from a vehicle. Most of these accidents are entirely preventable, and occur because of the other driver’s negligence.
When motorists are negligent, victims can and should hold them responsible for their actions — or lack of action. Depending on the facts of your case, a Georgia car accident attorney can often help you secure compensation through an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit.
Many of these accidents involve improperly loaded cargo on trucks. In cases where the negligent party was a trucker, your damages may fall under Georgia’s laws regarding commercial truck carrier liability. This means the trucking company may be liable for your property damage and personal injuries.
In some cases, road debris accidents may also be the responsibility of a government agency. This occurs when a tree falls or roadway damage occurs and the entity does not clean it up or fix it in a timely fashion.
Can the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, PC help me get compensation?
The Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, PC works with the victims of Atlanta-area car accidents, ensuring they get the compensation they deserve. We are often able to get clients compensation to cover property damage, medical bills, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. While your potential payout depends largely on the facts of your accident, we can fight to get you every dime you deserve if a negligent driver caused your crash.
If you suffered injuries in a Georgia car accident caused by road debris, call us to discuss your legal options to recover compensation.
Contact us today at 404-474-0804 to schedule a free consultation.