Most serious or even fatal car accidents in the Greater Boston area involve one of more vehicles crashing into each other. However, there are also some accidents that are the result of objects left in the roadway. These objects, which can be quite hazardous, are typically objects which have fallen off the back of other vehicles, but can involve car parts left from an accident, or when a tire blows out on a large commercial truck.
With respect to truck tires, they are typically from a large commercial truck, but it is quite possible for a rear trailer tire to blow out on a poorly maintained semi tractor trailer and the driver to be unaware he or she has lost a tire. There have been cases where a tire comes of the back of a truck and goes through the windshield of another vehicle immediately causing fatal injury or death. And there have also been cases where the truck tire has been on the roadway for some time before another driver hits it and is involved in a serious accident. In addition to accidents caused by striking the object directly, there are also accidents in which a driver sees the road hazard and attempts to take evasive action to avoid hitting it. This can result in him or her crashing into another car, and this can also result in a fatal car crash in the greater Boston area.
According to a recent news article from Boston.Com, a Massachusetts lawyer was killed while driving on Route 9 when a crowbar in the road flew up and smashed through his front window. The crowbar then entered the passenger compartment of his vehicle and struck him in the head. Witnesses called 911 and first responders arrived on the scene. They did their best to stabilize him at the site of the accident before transporting him to a local level one trauma center. He was soon pronounced dead at the hospital. It is likely the crowbar fell out of the back of a pickup truck or other vehicle and this is how it ended up on the roadway.
In the case of a truck tire, it is often possible to find out which truck lost the tire since the driver will likely notice the missing rubber and report it at his next inspection as required by federal law. In the case of an object like this crowbar, it is much less likely anyone will find where it came from. If the time crowbar fell out of the vehicle is known, it is possible it was captured on a traffic camera, but many traffic cameras do not record, they only shoot video for real-time monitoring so there is no way to go back in time to when it happened as a recording does not exist.
However, this does not mean there is no way to recover following a serious or even fatal car accident involving an object left in the roadway. One thing that can be done is to file a claim under uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage, also called UM or UIM coverage, is a type of coverage everyone who purchases a motor liability policy in Massachusetts is required to have. There are actually several types of required coverage and some optional types of coverage most people end up getting anyway.
The first type of coverage people are required to get is liability for personal injury to others. This is a policy which pays up to the policy limit for personal injury to a single person involved in car accident, which was the fault of the insured motorist. There is also a per accident limit. This means that there is a limit on the total amount the insurance company will pay to all victims in a car accident since there is often passengers who are injured in addition to the driver.
There is also coverage for property damage to others. This is money which will pay for damage to another person’s vehicle or other personal property that is damaged or destroyed in the accident. Optional coverage includes coverage for damage to your own car.
Another type of required coverage is for when you are injured by an insured motorist. An uninsured motorist can be someone who is driving illegally without a license or car insurance, but it can also be for accidents when the at-fault driver cannot be located. This is typically a hit and run situation, but it can also apply when you cannot find the car from which an object fell off causing a serious or fatal car wreck.
In the case of this crowbar, it was also reported others saw the crowbar in the roadway at least 90 minutes before the accidents. If someone called the police and told them there was an object in the roadway, and they had not taken proper steps to safely remove it from the road, this may lead to additional liability on behalf of the government. This is a complicated issue, which goes to whether the government and actual knowledge and time to act, and also involves the issue of sovereign immunity.
A state, local, or federal government has various required obligations, and the law is set up in such a way that a government does not have to be in constant fear of being sued when engaging in what are known as sovereign functions. This doesn’t mean you can’t file a lawsuit if you were injured by negligent government actions, but it does mean there may be a notice requirement which must be met, and additional complications about which you can discuss during your free initial consultation with an experienced Boston car crash lawyer.
If you are injured in an accident in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — (617) 777-7777.
Crowbar that killed Massachusetts lawyer seen in road long before accident, August 15, 2018, Associated Press, Boston.com
More Blog Entries:
Massachusetts UM/ UIM Claims May be Forced into Arbitration, Feb. 24, 2018, Massachusetts Bus Accident Attorney Blog