Who is Responsible for Road Debris Damage? | Scott Goodwin Law

Who is Responsible for Road Debris Damage?

by / Wednesday, 10 January 2024 / Published in Motor Vehicle Accidents
Truck excessively loaded with wood logs.

Car accidents can potentially be caused by many different things. Often, they’re a result of human error and negligent actions like impaired driving, but they can also be caused by things like driving too fast for the conditions or a mechanical problem with the car. But they can also be caused by debris in the road. According to the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, in 2022, 560 vehicles in Michigan were involved in collisions with cargo that fell, shifted, or items that were otherwise set in motion by a motor vehicle. 

Even though these collisions represent a small percentage of all crashes with non-fixed objects, that doesn’t mean road debris isn’t dangerous. For example, section 257.677a of the Michigan Vehicle Code requires drivers to clear snow off their cars, stating that, “a person shall not deposit, or cause to be deposited, snow, ice or slush on any roadway or highway” because of how dangerous it can be for objects to end up in the road – especially when those objects can easily cause vehicles to lose traction with the road. Other examples of road debris can include things like cargo loaded onto a commercial vehicle, furniture or an appliance that fell out of a pick-up truck, pieces of tire left after a tire blowout, or other parts of a car that have fallen off. It can also include items that actively go flying out of a vehicle, such as sand or gravel loaded into a truck. 

If you get into a car accident caused by debris in the road, who is responsible? In this situation, it’s a good idea to contact a car accident lawyer for help, especially if injuries are involved. Not all car damage caused by road debris is necessarily an act of negligence. For instance, windshield cracks caused by small stones in the road being kicked up by the wheels of other cars are a common occurrence, but those incidents aren’t considered negligence. On the other hand, if a truck is loaded with large stones that aren’t properly secured and some of those stones fall into the road and cause an accident, that could be considered negligent. Even if a driver is able to stop in time to avoid hitting the debris, there’s a chance the driver could end up being rear-ended if another driver doesn’t stop in time. A lawyer will be able to help determine if your accident was caused by negligence and how to move forward.

One challenge with car accidents involving road debris is that drivers often don’t stop when something falls off their vehicle because they don’t realize something has fallen. If you witness something falling off of a car and onto a roadway, try to note any details you can about the vehicle, such as a license plate number, vehicle color, manufacturer, or other notable features. It’s also a good idea to file a police report to record the details of your accident. 

Contact a Michigan Car Accident Lawyer

At Scott Goodwin Law, you’ll be able to get help from an attorney experienced in handling Michigan car accident cases and no-fault claims so that accident victims get the justice they deserve. If you’ve been injured, contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation so that you can get answers to any questions you have and learn more about your legal options.