The road can be a dangerous place, and not just because of the other drivers you encounter. We have all encountered debris on the road at one time or another, such as pieces of rubber from a blown-out tire, tree limbs, roadkill, or trash thrown from a vehicle.
Road debris can cause significant damage to your vehicle, but it could also cause a dangerous crash. You could crash into another vehicle while trying to avoid debris, or you could get hit by a car that swerved or slowed down to avoid hitting something.
Below, we discuss the dangers of road debris, how it can cause crashes and filing claims for damages caused by those crashes.
If you were the victim of any type of motor vehicle accident and you suffered injuries, give us a call today to schedule a free legal consultation. We are prepared to help you seek full compensation for your damages. If our firm represents you, we can navigate Pennsylvania’s no-fault insurance system and deal with the insurance companies on your behalf.
Road Debris You or Other Drivers May Encounter
Some types of road debris are more common than others. For example, we expect to encounter chunks of rubber from a semi-truck tire from time to time. After a storm we may expect to encounter tree branches, fallen utility poles or even road signs. It is also common to see dead animals in the road.
Some other types of road debris you may encounter include:
- Furniture that fell off someone’s truck
- Pieces of guardrails
- Bumpers, pieces of headlights or taillights that were left after a crash
- Glass or plastic bottles
- Garbage cans
- Construction equipment (barrels, bricks, cones, waste from road construction)
- Chunks of concrete
- Beach sand
How Road Debris Can Damage Vehicles
Road debris can cause significant damage to your vehicle if you hit it. For example, say you run over or hit parts of a car that fell off, such as a hubcap, muffler or bumper. Car parts could damage your front fender or slide under and damage the underside of your car. If your car drags the piece of debris at high speed, it could create sparks and create a fire risk.
Rocks, large tree branches and even small sticks could cause significant damage to your tires or the undercarriage of your vehicle.
Sometimes small rocks and other debris could fly into the air or get kicked up by another vehicle’s tires and hit your windshield. This could create small cracks in the windshield that may widen over time.
Glass from broken bottles, car windshields or windows damaged in crashes can damage the treads on your tires, potentially leading to a flat tire.
In some situations, road debris could cause damage to the frame of your vehicle, such as bending, twisting or cracking. This type of damage can be quite expensive to fix. Frame damage could also occur if your wheels get jarred out of alignment because you ran over debris.
If debris scrapes by your car, such as a tree branch, it could cause large scratches and damage your paint job, hurting the value of your vehicle.
Sometimes your vehicle’s transmission could suffer damage from road debris, such as if debris gets under your car or you run over something large that your car is not built to withstand.
How Road Debris Causes Car Crashes
One-vehicle collisions are commonly caused by road debris. For example, sometimes drivers swerve to avoid debris and end up crashing into guardrails, trees or road signs. Sometimes drivers even crash into buildings.
You could also crash into another car while attempting to avoid debris or get hit by another car whose driver was trying to avoid running over or hitting something.
Rear-end collisions can also occur when drivers suddenly hit the brakes and trailing drivers do not have enough time to stop, or slow down and change lanes.
Multi-car pileups can occur when vehicles are traveling at high speed, such as on an interstate highway. If one driver has to maneuver around debris, he or she could crash into another car that could crash into another car and so on and so forth.
Rollover accidents and side-impact collisions can also be caused by debris.
Liability for These Types of Accidents
Other drivers are often the ones liable for road debris crashes. They may have been speeding or not paying attention, which prevented them from avoiding road debris. They may have been able to slow down or change lanes without causing a crash if they had been more aware.
However, there are other parties that could also bear liability, such as construction companies, property owners and government entities responsible for maintaining roads.
These entities may have a responsibility to keep roads safe. For example, construction companies need to take reasonable care not to leave debris in the path of traffic. They also need to have appropriate signage to warn drivers of approaching hazards.
Property owners may have let debris pile up outside their property in the path of traffic. If the hazard was unreasonably dangerous, the property owner may bear liability for damages. Crashes on private roads caused by debris may be the fault of property owners.
Contact an Attorney From Schmidt Kramer for Assistance
Securing full compensation for damages from a car crash can be a challenge because insurance companies are working against you. Hiring an experienced Harrisburg-based auto accident attorney to help you can be vital to your chances of obtaining maximum compensation.
At Schmidt Kramer, we have been helping crash victims for many years and have secured significant compensation on behalf of our clients.
There are no upfront costs for our services, and we do not charge fees while pursuing compensation.
Free consultation. Give us a call today to learn more: (717) 510-1770.