New Hampshire is known for its beautiful scenery, filled with mountains, lakes, fall foliage, and more. Along with that beauty comes the risk of natural debris. Last summer, a New Hampshire woman died after crashing into trees. In April 2021, a New Hampshire woman hit a tree on a Vermont road and died. A fire ensued mid-May 2021 after a driver hit a deer on Rt 118 in Dorchester.
A study published by AAA in 2016 found that over a three year period, from 2011-2014, “road debris was a factor in an estimated average of 50,658 police-reported crashes (95% Confidence Interval: 42,066 – 59,250) which resulted in 9,805 injuries (7,714 – 11,896) and 125 deaths (104 – 144) annually.” Additionally, debris-related accidents were more likely (4x) to take place on an Interstate highway. Their study was not limited to natural debris, however. It also included unsecured loads that fell off of moving vehicles, for example.
Road debris can also cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles, resulting in the driver choosing to swerve in avoidance but hitting something else.
Common Road Hazards in New Hampshire
A quick look at the NH Motor Vehicle Accident Report shows 18 examples of “fixed objects,” five of which may be considered rocks or natural debris in some circumstances: tree, rock/side slope, embankment, culvert, and the ubiquitous “other.
Liability and Natural Debris
It can be difficult to hold someone liable for natural debris, such as rocks or animals; however, it’s important to examine the accident for specific causes. For example, if a road is overgrown with shrubbery and tree branches due to a lack of maintenance, it may be possible that the responsible party failed to meet their duty to maintain the property. In New Hampshire, this is referred to as a duty of care.
Tenn And Tenn, P.A., Personal Injury Attorneys
Car accidents involving natural debris can be more complicated than other accidents when recovering the cost of damages or the loss of compensation. The attorneys at Tenn And Tenn, P.A. can help you determine if you have a case. Call (888) 332-5855 for your free consultation today or reach out online.