A sudden rockslide in Colorado in October claimed the lives of several members of one family, and left one teenage daughter covered in debris, delaying authorities from finding her until many hours later; she was still alive. A rockslide comes without warning, and its impact is fatal to those below who are hiking or driving. Where do rockslides often occur and what can be done if you find yourself in a zone for rockslides with no way out?
Rockslides occur for a few different reasons, whether it be construction events taking part on that section of road or nearby, or from natural causes like wind and rain, or from someone above walking along a trail that suddenly gives way. Rockslides can come with appropriate warning, or they can come suddenly even if warning signs have been posted. When travelling, always pay attention to signs that say “falling rock” or ones that show a graphic of rock tumbling to the ground. Signs like those are nothing to be laughed at; those who have posted the signs know that the area can be hazardous for drivers and others who are passing by that point.
In the case of a construction zone where blasting and other activities occur to move the earth, your best bet is to pay attention to any and all warnings, whether they be signs from the Department of Transportation or traffic directions from the construction workers themselves. Any sudden noises, loud engines, or honking horns could cause vibrations that make rocks fall to the ground below. Construction zones can always be a zone for dangerous situations, and falling rock is no exception.
Several states utilize a rockslide mediation program that assigns levels of risk to various parts of the roadway. With some forms of rock weighing up to 2,000 pounds, the impact for any accident can be deadly. Unfortunately, rockslides can occur in areas where there are no warnings, such as long, winding mountain roads and hilly countrysides. It can be difficult to determine who is at fault on a public road, depending on whose responsibility it is to maintain that road, or who was driving, hiking or working on the section of the road where the rockslides occurred.
If you have been injured on a roadway due to a rockslide or other sudden roadway incident, your best course of action is to enlist the advice of an attorney who can determine cause and compensation to settle your case.