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Atlanta Road Debris Auto Accidents

February 23, 2013

Most drivers have had the unnerving and dangerous experience of confronting road debris that obstructs the roadway. Drivers may need to exercise emergency evasive action, such as swerving, stopping suddenly or changing lanes to avoid a collision. Road debris refers to anything in the road obstructing traffic that does not belong there.

There are many types of road debris that may pose hazards to motorists like tree limbs, tread from semi-truck tires, cargo that falls off of pickups, vehicle parts and more.

A recent incident in Midtown Atlanta serves as an example of the types of dangers and appropriate responses involving road debris obstructions. This week Atlanta police closed the westbound lanes of 17th Street because of a road debris hazard. Broken glass from the 24th floor of the BB&T Tower had fallen onto the roadway. The road was closed until the debris could be cleared and remaining glass hanging from the building could be made safe. It appears that police responded quickly to post warnings and close the road. While this prompt response to reports of the road hazard may have averted injuries, sometimes the response by public entities is neither prompt nor adequate.

When road debris car accidents occur, the cases may be difficult to pursue because the source of the debris is often unknown. While efforts can be made to investigate and track the debris back to its source, the public entity responsible for maintaining the roadway also may be liable for the collision. The challenge in pursuing the public entity is its insurance company will argue that its insured did not know nor have a reason to know about the roadway obstruction. An investigation regarding liability of the government entity may depend on a wide range of facts, such as:

  • Complaints made about the road obstruction to the public entity or its surrogates
  • Actions taken to clear the hazard
  • Duration that the hazard was present
  • Whether poor lighting or other road design factors obscured the obstruction
  • Failure to provide warnings or barriers

Whether the responsible party is a public entity or driver of a pickup truck, semi-truck or other motor vehicles, the need to gather evidence to identify negligent conduct by a motorist, city, county and/or state makes it important to work with a Georgia motor vehicle accident lawyer. Our Atlanta personal injury law firm has investigators at its disposal to help uncover evidence of unsafe conduct that results in foreseeable road obstructions or that provides a basis for imputing knowledge of the hazard to the public entity.

Some of the forms of negligent conduct (i.e. unreasonably unsafe conduct that causes foreseeable injury) that may result in Atlanta road debris car accidents include:

  • Failure to construct or maintain roads to minimize storm-related hazards
  • Loads on semi-trucks that are not properly balanced and secured
  • Debris that shatters a windshield
  • Failure to conduct appropriate vehicle maintenance resulting in tire blowouts
  • Debris that falls onto a vehicle causing a driver to lose control
  • Drivers who fail to secure cargo
  • Road debris that causes a driver to swerve or suddenly brake to avoid a collision

Road debris causes over 25,000 motor vehicle accidents annually across the U.S., which may occur on country roads, highways or even parking lots. These collisions can cause severe, permanent injury or even wrongful death. Our Atlanta road debris car accident lawyers at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.

No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.