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Who Is Responsible If You’re Injured by Road Debris?

September 28, 2020Car Accidents

You might know what to do after a car accident involving a negligent or reckless driver: remain calm, get the driver’s information and file an insurance claim. What if the cause of your accident was not another driver, but road debris? Without being able to base your claim on human error, you may not understand how to recover compensation for your injuries and damages. You could still be eligible for financial recovery, however, from the party responsible for keeping the road safe.

How Dangerous Are the Roads in Arizona?

In 2019, someone was injured in a car accident every two minutes and three seconds in Arizona. Driver error was the main cause of these collisions, such as drunk or distracted driving. The majority of fatal accidents (51.69%) in Arizona occurred in rural areas. Rural roads come with unique hazards such as inadequate lighting and speeding drivers. Almost two-thirds of fatal accidents (32.16%) in Arizona in 2019 were single-vehicle crashes in which a driver ran off the road. Road debris and road defects often cause these accidents.

  • Cracks in the asphalt
  • Potholes and divots
  • Uneven shoulders
  • Loose asphalt
  • Construction equipment
  • Fallen tree branches
  • Downed powerlines
  • Missing guardrails
  • Missing road reflectors
  • Faded road markings
  • Obscured or stolen roadway signs
  • Malfunctioning traffic lights
  • Dumped trash
  • Lost cargo
  • Hubcaps or car parts
  • Crossing animals or roadkill

Road debris can refer to anything that does not belong on the road, from vegetation blown into the road by a storm to debris left behind after a car accident. Road debris could force a driver in Arizona to react c avoid hitting the item, such as by jerking the wheel or slamming on the brakes. The driver could then lose control of his or her vehicle, fly off the road, and crash. If a dangerous roadway defect or debris in the road caused your car accident, discuss who could be liable with a Phoenix accident lawyer.

Liability for Dangerous Roads in Arizona

Liability refers to a person’s legal responsibility for an accident. In Arizona, liability for a car crash will go to the party most at fault for causing the collision. If your car accident involved road debris, the person who may be liable for your crash-related damages will be the one responsible for maintaining a safe, debris-free roadway. Determining the identity of this party requires an analysis of who owed you a duty of care, breached this duty and caused your accident. A few different parties may be liable, depending on the circumstances.

  • Construction company. A company or contractor hired to complete a roadwork project in Arizona will be responsible for the safety of the work zone. This responsibility includes clearing the road of any construction materials, equipment, signs or debris upon completing the project.
  • Property owner. If you were on a private road or driveway when road debris caused your accident, the property owner may be liable. Property owners must inspect their roads for dangerous debris before welcoming visitors and invitees.
  • City or state government. Many road debris accidents in Arizona point to government liability. It is the city or state government’s legal responsibility to maintain safe public roads. The government must design safe roads, inspect roads regularly for debris or problems, and respond promptly to complaints from drivers.

If a reasonable and prudent party in the same situation as the defendant would have detected the dangerous debris and removed it or warned drivers of the hazard, the defendant could be liable for your car accident. It will be you or your attorney’s burden to prove the defendant’s liability. A lawyer can help you prove liability for a road debris accident through measures such as hiring crash reconstructionists and taking photographs of the debris. A lawyer can help you bring a lawsuit against the correct responsible party after a road-debris accident in Arizona.

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