Any type of roadway debris can be a very dangerous obstacle and could cause very serious car accidents. Examples of roadway debris include rocks, branches, dirt, broken car parts, glass, and similar types of damaging materials. Collisions with these objects could cause damage to an individual’s motor vehicle and personal injury to the occupants. Motorists could also lose control of their vehicles if they strike a large object. Further, roadway debris run over by a motor vehicle could be launched at other vehicles behind or in other lanes, also causing damage to vehicles or personal injury to occupants. In addition, many motorists who see the roadway debris and attempt to avoid it could swerve into other vehicles or pedestrians and cause serious personal injury.
The question becomes who is liable for motor vehicle accidents caused by roadway debris. New York statutory law has prohibitions against individuals throwing any injurious substances onto the roadway. This includes glass bottles, probably the most common substance thrown onto the roadway. If a driver places anything dangerous onto the roadway which causes a motor vehicle accident, he or she could be liable for those injuries. Similarly, if a motorist places objects on the roof of his or her vehicle and it falls off while in transit, that could also bring liability if another is injured by the falling debris off of the vehicle.
In addition, New York State and municipalities are responsible for roadway maintenance and upkeep. Debris on the roadway is their responsibility to remove and cure. Failure to remove roadway debris which results in a motor vehicle accident could result in liability. To establish liability, the governmental entity must have had notice. Notice can be established if the debris stayed on the roadway for a reasonable period of time in which it should have been discovered and cured.
Furthermore, other drivers on the roadway which strike the debris could be liable for any injuries which follow. All drivers on the roadway must exercise reasonable care under the circumstances in the use and operation of their vehicles. Thus, if a motorist fails to properly navigate around a hazard—such as a tree in the road or scatter rocks, that motorist may be liable for injuries to another if the debris is launched at another person or any injuries sustained by that motorist’s passengers.
The attorneys at Greenberg and Greenberg handle car accident cases throughout New York State, including Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, and Albany County. Our legal team has earned a reputation for dedicated service to our clients injured in New York personal injury accidents. Please contact us today to receive a free case evaluation by dialing locally to 518-828-3336 or call toll free at 877-469-9300.