A AAA study found that between 2011 and 2014, nearly 200,000 crashes and approximately 500 deaths were caused by road debris. This is only a rough estimate since these numbers came solely from police reports and reports aren’t created in every accident case. However, that number alone should prompt drivers to stay even more aware when they’re on the road.
Why Is This Important For You To Know?
If you are involved in an accident from road debris, you need to take note of the debris immediately. If you are able to determine which vehicle something fell from, you should write down the license plate number before you forget or make note of the company if the vehicle is commercial. If there was something already lying on the road, take a picture of it and record specific coordinates of your location. If it’s safe, possible, and appropriate, keep the item. It may be necessary later to prove your case later.
Remember that road debris isn’t always just items that fell from vehicles. It can include road signs, cones left over from a construction project, downed trees or other landscaping material left after another collision. Just about any other thing that you can dream of that doesn’t belong on the roadway qualifies as debris. Depending on the debris, there could be many parties liable:
- Department of Transportation
- Construction company
- Maintenance companies
- Vehicle owner
Without proper documentation and proof, you will be forced to pay for your losses out of your own pocket.
What Do I Do?
If you see a piece of debris in the road, call the local authorities. If it is big enough that it could cause someone to become seriously injured, then call 911. If you’re involved in an accident due to debris in the road, follow the notes and instructions above, and call us for a free consultation. We’re happy to help you through the whole process.
Also, It’s The Law:
- RCW 46.61.655 makes it a crime for failing to secure your load. If someone suffers substantial bodily harm, then you could be charged with a gross misdemeanor. This has a punishment of up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.
- If something falls from your vehicle and causes damage to another vehicle, that is also a misdemeanor, and can subject you to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
- If a police officer stops you because the load is unsafe or something falls off and doesn’t contact any person or property you can still be given a ticket.
If you have questions about any of this, or need help putting together an appropriate plan of action as the victim of a debris-related accident call us at 206-678-1427. We can help.