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Trucks with cargo, SUVs with mattresses and other objects tied to the rooftop, or an old rusted vehicle way past its useful life, are all safety hazards that could lead to a flying debris car accident. Even if the flying object does not hit a car, it may lead to a serious distraction or cause a vehicle to swerve, leading to a devastating car accident.

Ehline Law and our personal injury attorneys understand how challenging it can be to pursue a comprehensive claim or identify the liable party in a flying debris car accident without legal representation. We’ve put together a guide to help you take the right steps after your flying debris car accident to protect your personal injury claim.

How Can Flying Debris Cause Injuries or Accidents?

In a study carried out in 2016 by the AAA Foundation titled “The Prevalence of Motor Vehicle Crashes Involving Road Debris, United States,” the researchers examined the number of crashes arising due to debris flying from other cars or on the road between 2011 and 2014.

The study’s findings revealed that between 2011 and 2014, 50,658 police-reported crashes arose from road debris leading to 9,805 injuries and 125 deaths. Compared to non-debris-related accidents, the likelihood of debris-related accidents was four times higher on interstate highways. On freeways and interstate highways, motorists and other road users drive at high speeds, increasing the chances of flying debris and making it impossible for others to avoid them.

According to the study findings, the drivers swerved and crashed into other vehicles or objects in 37% of all debris-related accidents that led to deaths. The study also revealed that almost two-thirds of all debris-related crashes involved debris falling from another vehicle due to improper maintenance and unsecured loads.

The following are some of the most common types of debris falling from vehicles:

  • Vehicle parts
  • Garbage or trash
  • Unsecured cargo on a truck bed, SUV, and other vehicles
  • Detached tow trailers.

Flatbed trailers, trucks, SUVs, and other vehicles carry cargo on the road, and some drivers may fail to secure them properly. More than one-third of all debris-related crashes occur between 10 AM and 4 PM, when there are many road users on the road, especially hauling companies and massive trailers with goods, furniture, and other items that can fall if not secured properly.

Besides flying debris, many vehicles on the road have gone way past their recommended maintenance check or are not fit to drive on freeways or interstate highways. These vehicles present a serious threat to other users as parts from the vehicle, such as the tires, wheels, and other components, may break away and smash into another car on the road, leading to a car accident.

Negligence is one cause of a car accident caused by flying debris, and then there are people who intentionally cause harm to others. Although intentionally throwing rocks is not so common, it does happen now and then.

In 2017, California Highway Patrol arrested a 47-year-old Sacramento man for throwing boulders onto the highway at five locations on the I-5. 

In 2019, a judge sentenced a teen to three to 20 years in prison for throwing a large rock on Michigan’s Interstate 75 that penetrated the window of a vehicle and hit a passenger in the face, leading to their death.

Even throwing small rocks from a certain height or speed can be more than enough to kill a grown person. The G-force and the gravitational pull can increase the speed of the object flying from a vehicle or thrown by a person leading to catastrophic injuries.

Flying objects that don’t hit vehicles are still dangerous as it can cause the driver to swerve at high speeds, leading to rollover accidents and crashing into barriers, other vehicles, or objects. Flying objects can lead to devastating car accidents for which injured victims may be able to pursue a personal injury claim against the party responsible for the damages.

Common Injuries Sustained in Flying Debris Accidents

In most flying debris incidents, the driver or the passenger in the vehicle suffers injuries to their faces and chests since these are the most exposed. However, the flying debris can also cause the driver to swerve and suffer from injuries due to a rollover accident or a collision with a barrier.

The following are some of the common injuries that an accident victim may sustain in a flying or road debris accident:

  • Eye injuries
  • Head and brain injuries
  • Facial injuries
  • Chest trauma
  • Rotational force injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries.

Who Is Liable for Your Flying Debris Car Accident?

The party responsible for your injuries depends on the circumstances of the accident. If the flying debris came from a truck with unsecured cargo, the person responsible for securing the load could be liable for your injuries. 

In some cases, it could be a government entity that failed to warn drivers of hazards that led to your flying debris car accident or a negligent driver who decided to drive a clunker. 

Investigating the accident to determine the liable party and pursue a personal injury claim to obtain monetary damages is essential.

What Is the Procedure If Flying Debris Hits My Car on the Freeway?

If a driver’s recklessness or negligence resulted in your flying debris car accident injuries, you could hold them responsible for the damages incurred by pursuing a personal injury lawsuit.

However, it is crucial that you take the right steps mentioned below to ensure safety and increase your chances of financial recovery.

Assess the Situation

It is important to assess the situation first before making any decisions. Getting out of your car on the road with oncoming vehicles can further put you in danger. If you can move, drive your vehicle to the side of the road to prevent further collisions.

Call 911 or Emergency Services for Help

If the flying debris resulted in a car accident causing injuries to you or your passengers, you must report it to the local police authorities. Call 911, report the accident, and request emergency help if you or your passengers have suffered injuries from the flying debris.

You can also file a police report at a nearby police station after your flying debris car accident, but it’s best to do it when the accident is fresh. Law enforcement authorities coming down to the accident scene can question you about the incident, do a quick investigation of their own, and write a police report which you can submit when filing a personal injury claim against the negligent party’s insurance company.

Identify the Responsible Party

Before pursuing a personal injury claim against the negligent driver’s insurance company, you must identify the responsible party. In most flying debris car accidents, the drivers are unaware of the situation and continue driving away. If that happens, it is important to note down the registration number of the negligent driver’s vehicle and the make and model of the car if you can.

If you are unable to do that, don’t worry. A resourceful personal injury attorney can help locate the negligent party by accessing security or traffic camera footage and determining the vehicle registration number.

Reach Out to Witnesses

When submitted with your personal injury claim or in court, a witness statement can bolster your personal injury case. Reaching out to witnesses during the accident and taking down their contact details for further communication is essential.

Gather Evidence

You must start collecting evidence when the accident is fresh. With flying or road debris, anyone can remove it later in the day, jeopardizing your personal injury claim. 

Take pictures and videos of the debris, the accident scene, the damage to your vehicle, and your injuries. If you have a dashcam installed in your vehicle, the video showing the flying debris smashing into your car can support your personal injury case.

Go to a Hospital for Medical Evaluation

Sometimes injuries may not be so obvious, which is why it is essential to go to a medical provider and get an evaluation done to get a second and professional opinion. 

For example, whiplash injuries may seem like minor pain in your neck, but these can affect your spine for years to come and worsen with time, which is why it is crucial to get them diagnosed earlier on and start your medical treatment.

A medical evaluation is essential for your health and personal injury claim. It helps you document your injuries and creates medical records that can help support your medical diagnosis and determine the extent of your injuries.

Consult with an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer

After seeking medical help, your priority should be consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney. In most car accident cases, it can be challenging to pursue claims, but when flying debris is the cause of your injuries, it can turn a car accident claim much more complex. 

You only get one shot at recovering damages from the insurance company. With the medical bills, lost wages, and other damages, it is important that you don’t jeopardize your chances of recovering compensation by pursuing a claim without legal representation.

Why Choose Ehline Law for Your Flying Debris Car Accident Claim?

  • Our experienced personal injury attorney can help determine the different insurance policies that may apply to your case, such as collision coverage, auto liability insurance, and others. Identifying insurance coverages can help you recover maximum compensation for the damages incurred following your flying debris car accident.
  • Ehline Law is a premier personal injury law firm with over 3,000 successful personal injury cases, a testament to our negotiation skills and knowledge of local and state laws. We handle insurance companies on a daily basis and can help you avoid the challenges associated with managing insurance companies without legal representation.
  • We are a large personal injury law firm with over 15 law offices across California. Our personal injury attorneys can help allocate resources toward investigating your accident, and we can help gather the evidence against the negligent driver to build a trial-ready case.
  • The reputation we have garnered is enough to spark fear in insurance companies and their claim adjusters. When Ehline Law and our experienced trial attorneys take up a case, it sends a message to the insurance company to offer their best settlement. They know that if we don’t like the settlement offer, we’re not afraid to take the car accident case to court.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Ehline Law Flying Debris Lawyer

If you’ve suffered injuries in a flying debris car accident due to a negligent driver, contact us at (833) LETS-SUE for a free consultation, as you may be able to seek compensation.

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Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline is an inactive U.S. Marine and world-famous legal historian. Michael helped draft the Cruise Ship Safety Act and has won some of U.S. history’s largest motorcycle accident settlements. Together with his legal team, Michael and the Ehline Law Firm collect damages on behalf of clients. We pride ourselves on being available to answer your most pressing and difficult questions 24/7. We are proud sponsors of the Paul Ehline Memorial Motorcycle Ride and a Service Disabled Veteran Operated Business. (SDVOB.) We are ready to fight.