What happens when your house gets hit by a car? Who is responsible for paying the property damage claim? While not as common as other types of motor vehicle accidents, approximately 20% of all motor vehicle accidents in the United States involve strikes against fixed objects. When these accidents occur, they can cause significant and costly property damage. Most often, responsibility for these claims falls upon the driver and their insurance provider.
Causes of Vehicles Veering Off the Road
Vehicles can veer from the roadway for any number of reasons. Drowsy drivers can fall asleep at the wheel. Drivers can suffer a medical event such as a heart attack or stroke. Drunk or drugged drivers can lose control over the vehicle. Likewise, vehicle malfunctions can occur such as a sudden failure in steering or braking systems.
Other times, driver error is responsible. Such instances include failing to set parking brakes, hitting the gas pedal instead of the brake, or putting the vehicle into drive instead of reverse. In some instances, poor road design or road construction can create hazards that make it unsafe to navigate residential streets.
Houses and Landscaping Aren't Designed for Direct Hits
Most houses in Kansas are built using a combination of brick and wood frame construction. The nails used to bind the walls together are capable of a maximum load of between 70 & 80 pounds. That provides little protection considering that a 3,000 lb car traveling at 30 mph delivers an impact of nearly 45 tons. This is more than sufficient force to crash through garage doors, break through walls, and obliterate most landscaping.
Fixed Object Accidents in Kansas
In 2017, the Kansas Department of Transportation recorded 8,416 accidents that involved vehicles striking fixed objects. Of these, 121 were buildings. 527 accidents involved vehicles striking a tree, 203 involved mailboxes, 127 involved walls or barricades, and 535 involved fences or gates. A further 3,740 involved cars striking parked vehicles. Across the state, 20.7% of all accidents involved fixed objects or parked motor vehicles.
Liability for Property Damage
The driver of the motor vehicle and their insurance provider are usually the entities who are liable when a motor vehicle strikes a home, landscaping, or a parked car. This is covered under the driver's property damage clause. Individuals can pursue compensation to cover the cost of repairing the structure, replacing landscaping, and for the repair or replacement of personal property that was damaged or destroyed within the home.
However, damage to property often exceeds the property damage limits stipulated within an auto insurance policy. When this happens, homeowners can file claims with their homeowner's insurance provider. This covers any damages that exceed the at-fault driver's policy limits.
In some instances, government entities including road construction crews, etc. can be held liable when their actions cause or contribute to causing a vehicle to veer from the roadway and into a residential or commercial structure.
Call in the Bull when your home is damaged by an errant motor vehicle. Our attorneys can help you recover compensation for property damage in Kansas, Illinois, Missouri, Texas, and Nebraska. You can call us at 1-800-241-BRAD, or call us on our local line at 316-684-4400 to speak with an attorney. You can reach Brad Pistotnik on his cell at 316-706-5020. You can call Tony Atterbury on his cell at 316-617-9237. You can call from Western Kansas at 620-THE-BULL.