How Dangerous is Falling Debris on the Road?

Car accidents frequently occur in West Palm Beach, Florida. In 2019, there were 2,950 fatal car accidents in Florida. Palm Beach recorded 174 motor vehicle fatalities in 2019. Fortunately, Florida law allows car accident victims to recover compensation for their losses. In these cases, an excellent West Palm Beach car accident attorney can play an essential role in helping you seek the compensation you deserve.

Notably, when people think of car crashes, they tend to only consider vehicles colliding with each other. However, falling road debris can also result in crashes. Moreover, when this happens,  the consequences are often as severe as when vehicles collide. That’s why it’s best to understand how dangerous falling debris is. This article will explain all you need to know. 

How Do Falling Debris Car Accidents Occur?

Falling debris accidents are self-explanatory. They occur when loads attached to vehicles fall off and hit other road users. Road users, in these cases, can be:

  • Car drivers
  • Pedestrians
  • Bicyclists
  • Motorcyclists 

Furthermore, the harmful debris could include several materials, including:

  • Steel beams
  • Logs and lumber
  • Different tools
  • Chemical spills
  • Fuel spills
  • Construction material
  • Furniture
  • Home and office appliances
  • Landscaping equipment
  • Tree branches and limbs
  • Loose gravel
  • Rocks

Each of these materials presents unique dangers. For instance, fuel spills from petroleum tankers often result in fire accidents. Alternatively, logs and lumber rarely start fires. The nature of injuries from these materials also differs. For example, fuel spills usually cause bodily burns. On the other hand, the other materials can result in broken bones. 

It’s also crucial to note the various ways in which falling debris accidents happen. We explain some common incidents that can happen below. 

Unsecured Cargo

Unsecured loads are primary contributors to falling debris accidents. Such a crash will occur when improperly secured items on a vehicle fall off. Trucks are accustomed to transport large items, so they’re more likely to be the source of these crash types. 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has Cargo Securement Rules for motor carriers. These rules aim to reduce falling debris crashes. An experienced West Palm Beach truck accident attorney will know these rules and how to interpret them.

Tow Trailers

When vehicles break down, they often need another vehicle to tow them off the road to a repair shop. Camp cars and boats are often towed to preferred locations too. Tow drivers achieve this purpose with trucks. Unfortunately, towing vehicles often develop hitches during the process. For example, the connecting machine could break or malfunction and separate from the front vehicle. This mishap can dump a car towed on the road, endangering oncoming vehicles. 

Vehicle Parts

Road debris doesn’t just involve loads on vehicles. Rather, any foreign item on the road can qualify as junk. These include motor vehicle parts such as parts of old and unserviced cars can detach while driving. Detachable and harmful car parts include:

  • Vehicle wheels
  • Gas tanks
  • Exhaust pipes
  • Tires
  • Suspension systems
  • Other loose car parts

Any of these detached parts can cause significant crashes. Lastly, falling debris collisions also occur when drivers swerve to avoid colliding with debris. It may cause them to hit another car or veer off the road. 

How Dangerous Are Falling Debris Car Accidents?

Falling debris crashes are pretty serious. Not only are they frequent, but they also result in severe and sometimes devastating injuries. Statistics from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reveal the severity of these types of accidents. From 2010 to 2014, road debris was a factor in about 50,658 crashes in the US. Sadly, these crashes resulted in:

  • Injuries to about 9,805 people
  • 125 deaths annually 

These debris-related accidents occurred in three keyways including:

  • Vehicles strike or are struck by objects falling from other vehicles
  • Cars struck non-fixed objects on roadways
  • Vehicles attempted to avoid non-fixed objects on roadways

From these statistics, it’s clear that debris-related crashes are dangerous. 

Possible Consequences of Falling Debris Car Accidents

Falling debris on the road can cause different types of damage. Some of them include:

Injuries and Death 

The primary effect of accidents is usually injuries. Injuries such as the following can occur in falling debris accidents:

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Burns and bruises
  • Brain injuries
  • Internal organ wounds
  • Fractures or broken bones
  • Impalement
  • Amputations

In worst case scenarios, falling debris crashes can kill crash victims. These deaths either happen at the accident scene or hospital during treatment. 

Vehicle Damage

All falling debris accidents will cause varying degrees of vehicular damage. For example, logs can smash a car. Rods can penetrate a vehicle to harm the occupants. Conversely, fuel can burn vehicles. It is clear that the nature and extent of vehicular damage depend on the type of debris. 

How To Avoid Falling Debris Car Accidents

Car accident victims cannot regulate the negligence of other drivers. Therefore, avoiding a collision is often challenging. Fortunately, some tips can help them escape minor and fatal crashes. They can also avoid devastating injuries if the accidents eventually occur.

Avoid Tailgating

Tailgating is the act of driving too close to another vehicle. It’s risky because if the car in front stops abruptly, the one behind may not have time to avoid a rear-end collision. Similarly, if debris falls off a truck, vehicles driving too close cannot avoid the impending impact as well.

Therefore, it’s always best to keep a safe distance between the next vehicle while driving. For example, suppose the car is carrying loads that can fall. It helps to give them a 15-feet distance. This way, in case anything falls, you have the time and space to quickly swerve away safely.

Driving Defensively

Carefulness isn’t always sufficient to avoid collisions. Vehicle drivers must take additional measures to avoid being injured from another driver’s carelessness. When you are sharing the road with vehicles carrying cargo, keep in mind that an accident can happen so you should anticipate the other drivers’ moves. Always make sure to consistently watch the road, especially when driving behind a loaded truck.

Who Is Liable in a Road Debris Accident?

Suppose you are involved in a falling debris crash in West Palm Beach. Then, your personal injury protection (PIP) insurance can cover medical bills and other losses. However, crash survivors may also have a right to sue the at-fault party. Therefore, it’s crucial to know the liable party in a falling debris collision. 

Usually, the responsible party in a falling debris crash is the driver who improperly secured their cargo. However, if the crash was from a detached vehicle part, then the accident victim may have a claim against the owner or driver of the vehicle. If it was a truck accident, they could also sue the trucking company. 

Notably, seeking compensation will be challenging in cases of stationary debris. In such cases, accident victims will have to identify who deposited the debris at that location. This is where personal injury attorneys with investigative skills become essential. 

Let the Best Car Accident Lawyers Help You

Have you been in a falling debris accident? If so, then you may be eligible for compensation. Firstly, however, you need the best West Palm Beach car accident attorneys. Proceeding alone against the negligent truck driver is ill-advised. 

At Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers, our team has spent years helping accident victims. We have also helped our clients seek compensation for their various damages. Call us today at (561) 800-8000 for a free initial consultation.

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