UPDATE: OCTOBER 27TH
Two Garland drivers were seriously injured when projectile debris hit a 32 year old man from Texarkana and another man from Dallas. The first man was hit by the axle of another vehicle, the second by a canister of refrigerant.
Police Still Investigating Who is Responsible
Denton police are still investigating a heartbreaking case in which road debris killed an Arlington woman earlier this month. Tina Reese was driving to her daughter Cami’s volleyball game at the University of North Texas when a piece of metal shot through her windshield, hit her in the head, and exited through the back window. The passenger was fortunately able to steer the car off the road.
To add to this tragedy, three years ago Ms. Reese’s car was struck by a drunk driver while she was driving her young son home from school. 10 year-old Tavian died in the horrific accident. The heartbroken mother, beloved by Cami’s volleyball team at UNT and at the wonderful Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas where she served as the director of radiology, spoke publicly about the devastating consequences of drunk driving.
I’ll do that next Saturday at the Walk Like MADD that I’m sponsoring in Fort Worth to raise awareness of these catastrophes.
Cami Reese and her family now mourn another unnecessary death caused by someone else’s careless actions. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family.
Road Debris is Not a Freak Accident
The news media has portrayed the crash as a “freak accident.” Sadly, road debris accidents are alarmingly common. I have handled cases where drivers were seriously injured when their vehicles crashed due to objects lying in the road or hurled through the air.
According to the AAA Foundation, road debris causes 25,000 traffic crashes every year, resulting in an average of 85 deaths annually.
Road debris can cause a serious roadway hazard in a variety of ways, including:
- The driver attempts to avoid the obstruction and swerves into another vehicle or off the road.
- A driver runs into another driver who suddenly slams on breaks upon approaching debris.
- Airborne debris strikes a vehicle or forces the driver to make a sudden avoidance maneuver.
Police believe that the car in front of Ms. Reese kicked up the metal shard.
The driver didn’t stop, possibly not even realizing what had happened.
Investigators have not yet determined whether the debris flew off the
car itself, fell from the unsecured load of a truck or was left by a
What is Road Debris and Who is Responsible for it?
Sometimes, noone is to blame — if they can even be found — for objects that do not belong on the road, including metal, boxes tire tread, tree limbs, or oil. But wth automobiles and trucks travelling at
high rates of speed, even a seemingly innocuous object can become a
deadly missile. Road debris includes:
- Nails, piping, waste and small tools left behind by a construction crew
- Rubber left on the road after a vehicle’s tire blows out
- Objects that spill onto the highway from a tractor-trailer
- Debris that flies out of the bed of a dump or hauling truck
- Material blown onto the highway on a windy day
A motorist or trucking corporation that causes the unsafe condition or
fails to immediately clean up the road debris may be liable for an
accident. Drivers who are negligent in avoiding the object may also be liable, as in all negligence cases. The Texas courts have not ruled on this issue outside of cases pertaining to the contact required to file uninsured/underinsured motorists cases against first party insurance companies or special defects under the Texas Tort Claims Act.
Due to the problems with proving who is at fault, immediate legal assistance is stronly recommended if you have been involved in a collision caused by road debris. A thorough investigation of the scene and into all possible liable parties is a must. Someone is to blame, and we must make our roads safer.
Recover for Your Injuries
If you were injured in an automobile or truck collision, you have the right to recover compensation for your damages. Call us at 817-885-8000 or toll-free at 1-888-801-8585 or send us an email to schedule an appointment. Your first consultation is free.