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How Liability is Determined for Car Accidents Caused by Road Debris
You never know what to expect when driving on Connecticut roads. Besides traffic, potholes and random wildlife, you are also likely to encounter (and try to avoid) road debris.
Road debris refers to any substances, materials and objects that are foreign to the roadway. Road debris may include objects near the road, such as fallen trees or road signs. Debris may also come from other vehicles due to improperly loaded cargo. Common objects found on the road include lumber and appliances, as well as tires and other parts from the vehicle itself.
Just recently, nearly three dozen vehicles received flat tires after traveling on Route 8 and Interstate 84 in Waterbury. It was determined that a large piece of metal in the road caused the flat tires. While nobody was injured due to the road debris, such crashes can be fatal. Between 2011 and 2014, 39,000 people were injured and 500 others were injured due to road debris. If you or a loved one is injured or killed by such a crash, who is liable?
Who is Liable?
Connecticut law does consider it illegal for other vehicles to cause road debris through unfastened loads, and violation of this law can result in a $100 fine. However, there is no state law that automatically determines liability for accidents and injuries caused by road debris.
In most cases, the road debris is caused by a private party. When this is the case, the facts must be examined to determine who is liable. If the person was hauling a heavy load and did not secure it properly, causing the objects to fall onto the road and cause an accident, then he or she could be held liable.
In cases where the cargo was dropped onto the road by a commercial truck driver, there are multiple parties who could be held liable. For example, the truck driver, the trucking company and the person who loaded the cargo could al be at fault for not ensuring that the cargo was securely in place before driving on the road.
In some cases, the negligent party may be a government entity. If an agency was responsible for road maintenance, but failed to remove debris from the road in a timely manner, then it could be at fault. However, government entities are often immune against lawsuits, so bringing a lawsuit can be complicated. Contact a personal injury lawyer to learn about your legal rights.
Taking Legal Action
Debris and other road hazards are no laughing matter. While most cause minor issues such as flat tires, others can cause serious front-end damage, injuries and even death.
If you have suffered vehicle damage or injuries, you may be able to receive compensation. The Law Offices of Thomas E. Porzio, LLC can help determine liability and take legal action against the responsible party. To schedule a consultation, contact the Waterbury, Connecticut office at (203) 573-0019.