To get around the greater Houston area, drivers have to traverse a lot of roads, highways, tollways, streets, and more roadways. So many scary things can happen while you’re driving, whether it’s someone darting out in front of you forcing a quick and dangerous slam of your brakes or flash flooding that can leave you stranded and even flood your vehicle with water. One thing that many of us have seen is vehicles of all sizes hauling various items around the city – and worrying that one of those items might come loose and hit us. Even if something small or soft flies off of another vehicle, if it’s traveling at high speeds, it can cause serious damage. This is why Houston drivers need to know what to do when flying debris hits a car while driving.
In Houston, we see huge flatbeds carrying giant concrete elements destined for construction zones or job sites, solid heavy logs, concrete that can pour out, fallen or removed trees, and even livestock being carted around our city. In fact, a recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study found road debris caused more than 200,000 crashes that resulted in 39,000 injuries and 500 deaths over a four-year period. So, what should we do and what can we do when flying debris hits us and damages our vehicle, and causes physical injuries?
6 Steps to Take After Being Hit by Flying Debris
Flying debris accidents are more likely to occur on interstate highways, and most are preventable. Under Texas law, drivers can be charged with a misdemeanor for items that fall off of their truck or trailer bed, have to pay fines between $25 and $500, and/or may be ordered to pay restitution for damages. Commercial drivers and trucking companies may also face regulatory fines for loads not secured according to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) standards.
Just as in any other car accident, if an item flies off of another vehicle and hits you, there are certain steps you should take to both ensure your safety and make note of crucial facts, including:
- Get to safety: Get yourself, your passengers, and your vehicle out of the flow of moving traffic as soon as possible by pulling over to a safe place. If you can’t move your vehicle, get out of the car and move yourself and any occupants to a safe location.
- Identify the responsible vehicle: In most cases, the driver of the vehicle from which an object flew would be legally responsible for any resulting damages, including personal injuries. Therefore, if the responsible party stops, collect personal and vehicle information. If they don’t stop but you can gather identifying details by taking a photo or from a nearby security camera, do that; but, if you can’t figure out who is at fault, you can still file an insurance claim against your own insurance company.
- Contact the authorities: It is important to document the accident with the proper authorities and this can be accomplished by calling 911 and having law enforcement visit the scene of your accident and file a police report. You will need this evidence for your insurance claim and/or lawsuit.
- Collect evidence: If you are not seriously injured, try to collect evidence from the accident scene. Take as many pictures and videos with your mobile phone as possible. Documenting property damage, your injuries, the accident scene itself, and the vehicles can help you when filing a claim.
- Seek medical treatment: It is important to be evaluated by a medical professional as soon as possible after a car accident. The longer you wait, the more challenging it can be for an insurance company and/or your lawyer to prove your injuries were caused by the incident. More importantly, not all car accident injuries are readily apparent or visible to victims and some of those – such as internal injuries – can be deadly if left untreated.
- Call a personal injury lawyer: No one will know the ins and outs of a car accident claim better than an experienced trial lawyer. Initial consultations are free, so there is no downside to calling or going into the office to visit with an attorney about the facts of your case to see what their read is and how they might be able to help.
Contact a Houston Car Accident Lawyer Today
Proving liability in a case where flying debris hits your car can be tricky. Based on our experience fighting insurance companies, we strongly advise speaking with an experienced motor vehicle accident lawyer. If you have been injured by roadway debris, contact us online today. Our experienced auto accident lawyers will evaluate your case for FREE. The lawyers of Adame Garza offer professional, aggressive representation. Our entire office is bilingual, speaking both English and Spanish, and we would be honored to help your family.