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An AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety report says that road debris causes 200,000 accidents, 39,000 injuries, and 500 deaths every four years in the U.S. Debris falling from vehicles causes two-thirds of these accidents, whereas debris that is already taking up space on the road causes the remainder. 

When a rock hits your windshield, it can be a frightening experience. If this has recently happened to you, your vehicle likely sustained damage, and you might have been injured as well. Determining who is responsible for the accident can be difficult, but doing so will be essential to building your case. You should reach out to a personal injury lawyer for help identifying the responsible party as soon as you possibly can. 

Depending on the nature of your circumstances, you may be in a position to file a successful personal injury claim against the party responsible for damaging your windshield. You may be able to recover compensation for the damage to your vehicle as well as the injuries you sustained in the accident. You can potentially recover the cost of repairing your car, medical expenses, and lost wages. 

If the rock fell from a vehicle, you can sue the vehicle’s driver so long as you were not driving too close to the vehicle in front of you. If you were tailgating, you might not be able to bring a successful claim against the driver, or the court might reduce your damages according to your contribution to the cause of the accident. 

However, the driver should be held responsible if you were following the vehicle at a reasonable distance and a rock fell from it and struck your windshield. If this is the case, you can sue the driver for damages. Although it can seem like just an accident when a rock falls, it is the driver’s responsibility to make sure that their vehicle (and any cargo that they may be hauling) does not pose a risk to the safety of other drivers on the road. 

For instance, if a driver did not take care to secure debris in a truck bed, then the driver has breached their duty of care to you and to fellow travelers. If you or your vehicle sustained harm, and you can prove that the driver caused the harm, then you may be in a position to win a case against the driver, as you have established that the driver was negligent and caused you to experience financial loss as a result of that negligence. 

It may be challenging, however, to prove that the rock came from any particular truck. A skilled injury lawyer may be able to help you establish that a particular driver is responsible by gathering evidence. Your lawyer might review the accident report for an indication that the driver in front was carrying debris and was responsible for the accident. If you have photos of the vehicle, these may show that the vehicle carried debris. Footage of the accident could also support your case. 

Although you can file a lawsuit against a specific driver when dangerous debris falls off of a particular vehicle, if the debris came from the road, you might not be able to pursue a claim against any single responsible party. For example, if a driver kicks up a rock and it strikes your windshield, the driver might not be at fault for the resulting damage. A reasonably careful driver might drive over a rock, causing it to strike your vehicle. In instances where the driver in front did not breach their duty of care to you, you might not be able to file a personal injury claim against them. 

That being said, each case is unique. It is always best to speak with an attorney to learn more about your options after a rock hit your windshield before making any assumptions about the strength or weakness of your case. If your attorney can show that a specific driver was negligent and caused you harm as a result of their negligent conduct, you might be able to recover compensation for your accident. 

Contact an Experienced California Auto Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one has been in a car accident involving debris in California, you should discuss your legal options with an attorney as you may be entitled to compensation. The California car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates can then help determine if you have an auto accident claim. With multiple offices located in Irvine, Los Angeles, El Segundo, San Diego, and Riverside, our auto accident injury lawyers represent victims across California. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our attorneys, please call 949-727-9300.

Samer Habbas is a California attorney with over 18 years of experience in personal injury law. Throughout his career, he has successfully recovered over $300 million for his clients, solidifying his reputation as a leading advocate in the field.

Samer swiftly gained recognition for his adept negotiation skills and unwavering dedication to his clients. His practice spans a wide range of personal injury cases, including car accidents, dog bites, funeral home abuse, premises liability, and wrongful death.

Samer is known for his compassionate approach and commitment to securing favorable outcomes for his clients. His expertise has earned him the trust and respect of both his clients and his peers within the legal community. He is also deeply invested in giving back to his community. He actively participates in pro bono work and volunteers his time to various charitable organizations. Samer is a champion for those who have been wronged, leveraging his extensive experience and expertise to make a meaningful difference in the lives of his clients and his community.