In a single mile-stretch of driving, it’s quite possible to encounter all kinds of potentially hazardous road debris. Every day, thousands of cars, hundreds of heavy-duty trucks, and dozens of maintenance vehicles travel across Tennessee. Unfortunately, all of these vehicles, as well as their passengers, can have a hand in leaving treacherous debris in their wake.
According to a three-year study performed by the American Automobile Association (AAA), road debris is a significant factor in many highway accidents. In fact, between 2011 and 2014, large pieces of litter in the road caused over 200,000 accidents, 39,000 injuries, and 500 deaths.
Common Forms of Dangerous Road Debris
Road debris can refer to any object or remains of an object that has been discarded or left in the path of traffic. Therefore, discarded fast food containers or loose grocery bags can be considered roadside debris, even though they’re highly unlikely to cause a driver or vehicle to lose control. For the purpose of this article, when we refer to debris, we’re specifically referring to remains large enough or distracting enough to cause a driver to lose focus or lose control of the vehicle. Typical treacherous roadside debris can include the following:
- Tire treads. When a vehicle experiences a tire blowout, the different pressures that are exerted on the tire and within the tire can cause the rubber to split with such force that it essentially explodes. As a result of the pressure-release blowout, large chunks of rubber can be expelled in all directions, including towards other cars and across the highway. This risk is increased exponentially when the exploding tire is industrial strength, such as those found on commercial trucks. If you are ever hit by a truck tire tread at highway speeds, the weight of the tread could cause serious injuries on top of the damage done to your vehicle.
- Fallen cargo. Loose cargo is a huge risk factor for motorists. Whether it’s a poorly secured mattress or a wall of boxes falling from an open trailer, loose cargo can cause severe damage to cars and passengers. In addition to creating obstacles in the road, depending on the size, falling cargo can strike windshields, crash into engine blocks, and flip cars over.
- Environmental or maintenance refuse. In addition to driver negligence, road debris can be created by maintenance workers, construction crews, and even tree trimmers. When these workers fail to clean up their roadside work areas, or worse yet, completely disregard their messes, they place motorists in severe danger. Anything from pieces of rubble to stray branches can lead to a catastrophic collision if they fly into a vehicle’s windshield or get caught in a tire well.
Don’t Get Left Behind
Though you may not want to admit it to yourself, your insurance company is not your friend. Sure, you’d like to believe that since you pay your monthly bills and premiums, when you need help from your insurance, they’ll be there for you. Sadly, this often isn’t the case. In fact, since Tennessee is a comparative fault state, insurance companies have been known to hire lawyers to argue on behalf of the other party so they won’t have to pay out as much. In other words, they’ll try to increase your liability to decrease your compensation eligibility, despite your pain and suffering.
At GriffithLaw, we think you deserve to be treated better than a discarded piece of debris.
If you or your car sustained serious damage from abandoned tire treads or other road debris, you may be entitled to compensation. To secure a strong injury claim, however, you’ll need to prove liability. Unfortunately, depending on the circumstances of your accident, proving fault can be difficult. However, whether matching tire treads to a specific truck company or establishing negligence for discarded cargo, GriffithLaw is here to help protect your family’s best interests. Contact our Franklin law office today to schedule your FREE case evaluation. You can also discuss your legal options directly through our live chat feature.