Filing a Road Debris Insurance Claim


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If an accident you are involved in was caused by road debris, it may be possible, though difficult, to file a successful road debris insurance claim.  It is difficult because the evidence that shows how the debris came to be on the road is only available through seeing the debris falling on the road at the exact time that it happened.  A minute or two after the incident will leave you and others pondering how the debris got on the road and from what vehicle it came from. 

Examples of Road Debris Accidents

Road debris can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles by either hitting the object and losing control or swerving to avoid hitting it, thereby losing control.  Large road debris can also cause drivers to brake suddenly, which could lead to other vehicles plowing into them if they can’t stop immediately. 

Other examples of road debris accidents include debris on the road that another driver runs over and flips up onto the windshield, cracking or breaking through it.  This can lead to a frightening distraction for the driver at the very least, and at worst, can strike the driver or passenger and cause serious injury.  This can also cause the driver to lose control of his/her vehicle and lead to an even larger accident involving more victims. 

Another type of road debris accident is from falling rocks and mudslides in areas that are prone to these types of objects, usually near mountains or in valleys.  Like debris on the road, falling rocks and mudslides can lead to frightening distractions for the driver and could cause injury to the driver and passenger of a vehicle, possibly leading to injuries for people in other vehicles if the driver loses control from the distraction and/or injury.

The Difficulty in Filing a Successful Road Debris Insurance Claim

As mentioned, filing a successful claim is not easy because it is often very difficult to identify the responsible party that left the debris.  If you don’t see the actual vehicle that left the debris, you cannot sue the driver of that vehicle for negligence.

Even if you did see and can prove the actual vehicle that left the debris, you will still have to prove that the driver of the vehicle was negligent in securing his/her cargo that led to the debris on the roadway before you can receive compensation. 

The local government is responsible for clearing road debris, but the only way you could get compensation from the government is to prove the following conditions:

  • The government had knowledge of the presence of the debris.
  • The government did not remove the debris within a reasonable amount of time.

Governmental immunity provides an additional defense for the local government, so the chances of the government compensating you for damages and injuries caused by road debris are slim.

You may be able to file a claim with your own insurance company if the driver of the vehicle that left the debris cannot be identified under your Uninsured Motorist coverage.  You will have to prove that the falling object or road debris came from another vehicle, which is harder to successfully prove than you may think.  Insurance companies will not be eager to award your claim, as they will usually make up many different scenarios to explain your circumstances and not award your claim.

Obtaining Legal Help

Being involved in an accident that was caused by road debris may lead to you filing a claim with your insurance company, but it often will lead to you not getting your claim awarded, as it’s very difficult to establish what vehicle or circumstance left the debris and whether the driver or government is responsible for its presence in the roadway.  An established and experienced personal injury attorney in the state where the road debris accident took place knows what state laws apply to your case, has connections to conduct a more thorough investigation into what produced the road debris that caused your accident, and will present the strongest possible case to get the maximum and fairest amount of compensation you deserve for your damages and injuries.

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