Overview of Who is Responsible for Cleaning Up After a Car Accident?

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There were over 490,000 automobile accidents reported in the state of California in 2016, the last year a full set of statistics is available. Of that number, over 3,800 resulted in deaths. There were over 278,000 reported injuries in California car accidents.

The number of automobile accidents on California roadways gives rise to the understandable question about who is responsible for cleaning up after a California car accident. The simple answer is that in many instances different parties may be responsible for a car accident cleanup. Ascertaining who is responsible for car accident cleanup is the topic of discussion in this article.

Who Addresses Roadway Cleanup After an Accident?

There are a number of factors that come into play in regard to ascertaining who cleans up a roadway following an accident. The first consideration is ascertaining what type of debris field was created by an accident. If the roadway debris doesn’t include any biological material, gasoline, or other fluids from a vehicle, a local city or county maintenance crew addresses the car accident cleanup. If an accident occurs on a highway, a maintenance crew from the California Highway Department may undertake this type of automobile accident cleanup.

If blood, bodily fluids, gasoline, and other vehicle fluids are included in the accident debris field, a hazmat team is called to the scene of the accident to undertake appropriate cleanup and remediation. Local communities have a pair of options when it comes to dispatching a hazmat team to a car accident scene.

First, a local community may maintain a hazmat team within its governmental structure. Second, a local community may contract with a private firm that provides biohazard or hazmat remediation services.

How is Blood Cleaned off a Roadway?

There exists a great deal of misinformation about how blood is cleaned off roadways in California and elsewhere in the United States. For example, one myth is that California Highway Patrol officers carry Coca-Cola in the trunks of their vehicle car for use in cleaning blood of roadways.

There are really two elements associated with cleaning blood, bodily fluids, and other biological material off of a roadway. The first phase is collecting any excess blood as well as biological materials and placing it into an appropriate biohazard container for disposal.

The next phase involves utilizing a chemical agent to eliminate any potential pathogens that might be contained in blood, bodily fluids, or biological materials. This can be done utilizing a number of different types of chemical agents. In fact, a solution including chlorine bleach combined with water can serve this purpose.

Before the roadway cleanup process is undertaken, the accident scene must fully be investigated by law enforcement. In some serious accidents, the investigation can take a considerable amount of time. The scene of the accident must be cordoned off, not only to protect the integrity of the accident scene but to ensure that people are not exposed to biological pathogens and other hazardous materials that might be found in the collision zone.

Who is Responsible for the Cleanup of an Automobile After an Accident?

Another issue that arises following an automobile accident can be who is responsible for cleaning up the car itself. You need to bear in mind that if a person is injured or killed in an automobile accident, the vehicle itself may be reparable although contaminated with blood and other bodily fluids. Before a body shop can go to work on a damaged vehicle, blood and bodily fluids contaminating the vehicle must be dealt with initially.

Although a local hazmat team will address any blood or bodily fluids on the roadway itself, such a team will not be responsible for any biohazard remediation in the vehicle itself. Car accident cleanup is the ultimate responsibility of the owner of the vehicle in question. With that said, there are a number of reasons why the owner should not personally undertake car accident cleanup. There are car accident cleanup professionals that provide this type of service.

First, even if the vehicle owner was not injured in the accident, or perhaps not even in the car at the time of the incident, there is an emotional element associated with the event. This is the case even if the owner was not involved in the accident itself. A car owner could have lost a loved one in the car accident, for example. The emotional state of an individual need not be unnecessarily aggravated by undertaking direct responsibility for the car accident cleanup.

Second, there are safety risks associated with car accident cleanup. Blood, bodily fluids, and other biological materials that can be the subject of car accident cleanup can contain what are known as dangerous pathogens. These can include viruses and bacteria that can cause serious and even potentially fatal diseases.

Finally, car accident cleanup must be comprehensive and thorough in order to return the car to a fully usable condition. The reality is that only a professional car accident cleanup specialist has the experience and background, equipment, and supplies and materials necessary to affect a comprehensive and thorough remediation and restoration.