Who Cleans Up After An Accident?

Roadside accident debris can cause annoyance, but it also presents a significant danger. The question that frequently arises is who is responsible for removing road debris after car accidents. Here is an ascending list of the parties who clean up accident scenes along with what to do if it seems appears current efforts are inadequate.

Tow Truck Operator

When there is a collision, drivers and passenger>s may be injured, intoxicated or mentally shaken. If a vehicle is disabled or leaking toxic substances, they will normally not have the means or expertise to move cars or handle the debris themselves. Therefore, there is no expectation for driver owners to remove glass, metal or fluids.

Nevada statute places the responsibility for removing solid debris on tow truck driver. In the portion of the statute that lists the equipment tow drivers must carry (brooms, shovel, and fire extinguisher) it also states: “The driver of the tow car engaged to remove a disabled vehicle from the scene of the accident shall remove all glass and debris deposited upon the roadway by the disabled vehicle which is to be towed.”

Failure to perform this duty can result in a ticket and if the driver or company does not pay, it risks losing its license. However, there are some accident elements that are outside the purview of tow companies and those will be handled by other parties.

Emergency Services

While tow truck operators must remove cars, broken glass, and loose parts, toxic substances are a different matter. Collisions so dramatic that they send gasoline, oil, and other automotive fluids into the road call upon different expertise. Tow drivers may be responsible for the hard debris but do not need to risk these toxins.

When there is a spill of this nature, the local police department will coordinate with the fire department to contain it. This can be especially important if a truck accident involves hazardous material. In those cases, other environmental resources may also report, especially if there is a public hazard risk. You are unlikely to come across neglected hazardous waste as these matters are attended to immediately. Roads are often closed off in order to affect a chemical clean-up.

Private Companies

Collisions also involve traumatic injuries. Pedestrian fatalities can create a grisly scene depending on the extent of the impact. Fire fighters will perform some clean-up, but in the worse accidents, hiring a private specialist may also be necessary.

Those who specialize in crime scene clean-up also do the same for traumatic accidents. Companies hire individual with specialized skills in handling biological matter and removing it effectively. This is often sensitive work as it can involve handling human remains and communicating with loved ones. These services also extend to cleaning out cars after an accident or other violent death, assuming the car is not a total loss.

When A Mess Remains

If there is still evidence of an accident on the road, it is normally glass, a loose bumper or other parts. Chemical spills and blood rarely remain, but if either is involved, the solid debris may be overlooked in order to spend more time on more dangerous elements. It is often just a result of miscommunication than any intention to be negligent.

When you come upon road debris, the best course of action is to the call the police non-emergency dispatch numbers. For Reno, that number is (775) 334-2677 and for Las Vegas it is (702) 828-3111. Have the street name plus any cross streets nearby so the clean-up crew can find the debris quickly. Turnaround time is fairly quick once you bring this to the attention of the police because at that point, it becomes a municipal responsibility.

Hopefully, you will never be in a car accident bad enough that you have to see extended clean-up crews arrive at the scene. However, if you suffer injuries from a motorcycle, car or truck crash, contact Reno personal injury attorney Eric Stovall, Ltd. for a consultation.

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