Fixed Object Collisions: Who Is Liable?
When we think of car accidents, we often picture two cars colliding with each other. But that isn’t always the case. Many accidents are actually with fixed objects. In cases like that, you may assume that the only liable person would be the one driving the car, but that simply isn’t always true. With a little investigation, you may find that there is a party responsible for the object being in the road and the accident that occurred because of it.
A Property Owner
Fixed objects accidents can include anything in the roadway that led to an accident, from downed tree branches to construction equipment, and many times negligent property owners were the ones responsible for them. As there are many homes and businesses built near major roadways, these property owners are expected to keep any travel areas clear of objects or debris. For example, a homeowner may put their trash cans out by the road for pickup, but they must make sure that the cans themselves are not directly in the roadway. If you had to swerve out of the way for a pet or a loose farm animal and ended up colliding with a fence post, then the owner of that animal could also be held responsible for your damages.
A Trucking Company
If you were driving behind a truck and cargo suddenly fell from the trailer and collided with your car, causing a major accident, then the truck driver and the trucking company might be liable. Trucking companies are supposed to secure all cargo properly to prevent spills. If the company and driver neglected to do so, then they would be responsible for the accident and for your damages.
Even if you did not physically hit another car, it does not mean the other driver isn’t responsible for your accident. For example, a drunk driver may have swerved into your lane, forcing you to quickly dodge them and sending you spinning into a guardrail instead. In a case like that, the drunk driver would be the one responsible for the accident, despite the fact that they never actually hit you.
Dooring is another common example of a fixed object collision that may not be your fault. Dooring refers to when a driver or passenger opens their car door, and another vehicle, whether it’s a car or bike or motorcycle, hits its. If the driver didn’t bother to check to see if there were any oncoming vehicles, then they would be the ones responsible for the resulting accident.
Car Part Manufacturer
Auto part manufacturers are required to test and inspect all components before going to market with their products according to federal regulations. Despite a stringent quality control process, defective components still end up a part of everyday vehicles. If you bought a brand-new tire and it blew out because of a defect, causing you to spin and hit a tree, then the manufacturer could be held legally responsible for the damages it caused. Auto product defects are often the cause of vehicle collisions, and it is important to make sure that big companies are held accountable for cutting corners and skimping out on safety precautions.
A Government Agency
Many fixed-object collisions are caused by poor visibility, either at night or during poor weather. Of course, you can’t hold the weather legally liable for your damages. However, if a municipal agency didn’t bother to provide proper lighting and a clear roadway, then they may be the ones responsible for your accident. That means putting up reflective patches on guardrails, setting up streetlights, and making sure all warning signs are clearly visible, even during poor weather or at night. This is especially true for streets by active construction sites, as the machinery, debris, and building materials can make driving incredibly hazardous.
Going up against a large company or a government entity, however, is not easy. Powerful groups will often have teams of lawyers ready to strike down anyone who demands proper compensation. That is why you need a strong legal team who has experience filing claims for accidents involving fixed objects at your side. At Breyer Law Offices, P.C., our Phoenix auto accident attorneys have years of experience helping people get the compensation they deserve after a serious accident. If your fix-object collision was not your fault, call us at (602) 267-1280 and find out what we can do for you.
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Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer