Objects Falling from Semi-Trucks, Who’s Liable?
Capable personal injury lawyers who handle semi-truck accidents are seeing more and more individuals who have been injured or killed due to objects falling from 18-wheeler trailers.
As unlikely as these events may seem, dangerous semi-truck accidents that result from improperly secured loads and road debris happen quite often, and the results are devastating.
The question becomes, “who is responsible when something falls from a vehicle and hits my car?”
In this situation, the driver of the truck or vehicle in which the object was improperly secured would be responsible for any property damage done to your car and any subsequent personal injuries caused to you or a passenger. If the truck driver or whoever secured the load was negligent, then he or she and the company they work for are liable for all damages flowing from such negligence.
According to a study done by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, there were more than 200,000 accidents involving falling objects and road debris in a three-year study period from 2011-2014. As a result, more than 39,000 people were injured, 500 of them fatally.
The study indicates that these accidents are four times more likely to happen on more significant interstates, with a large percentage of them involving trucks carrying poorly secured loads. In 37 percent of the cases, other drivers on the roadway crashed because they had to swerve to avoid objects that had fallen onto the road in front of them.
Tragically, these numbers may be on the rise with the number of truck accidents increasing due to the truck driver shortage. The trucker shortage has contributed to a higher risk of commercial truck crashes due to several factors including inexperienced truckers being hired, truck drivers facing increasingly rigorous delivery schedules, and overloaded trucks. All of these factors increase the likelihood of a load being improperly secured, causing catastrophic consequences.
Semi-truck accidents involving falling debris and objects left on the road can cause massive vehicle damage, injuries, and even deaths. They can happen anytime something drops off the back of a vehicle or if parts fall off the truck itself and are left on the road. These events occur for two main reasons:
- Poorly Secured Loads-
A critical factor in the safe operation of tractor trailers is the proper securing of a load. Whether it is an open load or one contained within the trailer, it is the driver’s responsibility to secure the load to prevent it from moving while in transit.
Improperly secured loads can shift and loosen, eventually falling off or out of the truck and onto the road. Resulting debris can directly strike vehicles behind the semi-truck or land on the road, causing drivers to swerve to avoid hitting the objects. In both cases, catastrophic accidents can result.
- Lack of Vehicle Maintenance-
Poor vehicle maintenance is another cause of semi-truck wrecks. Truck road debris commonly results from vehicle parts falling off the truck or trailer that remain on the road. Poor tire maintenance is primarily to blame. When tractor-trailers are driven on damaged or very worn tires, blowouts are more likely to occur. Chunks of flying tire rubber can either hit other vehicles or become an obstacle in the road.
Who Pays for the Damage?
After an accident caused by objects falling off trucks and road debris, victims are left dealing with the damages. Experienced lawyers who help clients recover from semi-truck accidents find that as long as the drivers responsible for these accidents can be identified, claims can be made against the trucking company.
Many times, the vehicle that has dropped such debris cannot be identified. Drivers who sustain vehicle damage or injuries must file a claim with their own insurance company under either their personal property damage coverage or uninsured motorist coverage. Coverage for all suffered damages may be insufficient, depending on the coverage limits that are carried.
All drivers should be aware of the possibility of semi-truck accidents involving falling objects and debris laying in the road. It is the responsibility of the semi-truck operators to secure their loads properly and do their part to prevent dangerous semi-truck wrecks.
Professional Truck Crash Attorneys of Hamilton Wingo, LLP
With years of experience and a focus on truck and bus crash cases, Hamilton Wingo, LLP, has the skill set, expertise, resources, and track record needed to tackle the complex challenges of your unique truck accident case.
How much will this cost? We handle cases on a contingent fee basis, which means you won’t pay for fees or case expenses unless we achieve a financial recovery in your case. We also offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the details of your unique situation. Please contact us at (214) 234-7900 today.