Who is Responsible for a Car Accident Caused by Truck Road Debris?
Posted on December 13, 2018
You’re driving along in your vehicle and, suddenly, debris or some type of object flies off the back of a commercial truck, leading to a devastating car accident. Unfortunately, these accidents happen more often than we would like to admit and end with serious and disastrous results due to the fact that vehicles swerve out of the way or objects come smashing through their windshields. You might think that you are on your own after one of these accidents, but this is not the case. How can a truck driver or company be held liable in these cases?
A Truck Driver’s Obligation to You
Truck drivers and large trucking companies owe a large duty of care to those who share the roads due to the fact that their vehicles are much larger and have a tendency to cause catastrophic results to those involved. A trucker’s safety obligation on our roads is not to just drive safely. Truck drivers are also required to pay attention to the loads that are secured to the back of their trucks to ensure that debris is not flying directly into the path of motor vehicles.
Some trucking companies are fully aware that they have secured sometimes-dangerous loads to the back of a truck, in which they will try to attach a sign to the back of a truck that reads “We will not be responsible for any damage caused by falling debris.” They think that this means that they will not take responsibility if debris or cargo slides off the back of the truck, but this is not the case and truck companies must always ensure that cargo is being secured correctly, every time.
So, who is Responsible?
The truth is, many parties could be responsible for an accident caused by road debris from the back of a tractor-trailer, and not just the driver. Here are just a few of the people who liability could fall onto:
Truck Driver: It is the responsibility of a truck driver to always inspect their cargo before they head out onto the roadways. This is part of the standard safety inspection that must be made before any truck driver ventures out. If cargo spills out, it could then be the partial fault of the driver.
Company: Trucking companies can also be liable for the acts of their drivers under something known as ‘vicarious liability,’ which means that the company is held responsible for the negligent actions of their employees. In other cases, the trucking company might be liable if they made mistakes that led to improper cargo loading, such as failing to train drivers in procedures. Many companies every year fail to follow regulations, which can lead to serious accidents.
Individual Loading Cargo: In some cases, there might be a designated individual who loads the cargo on the back of the truck. In fact, there are very strict guidelines for these individuals to follow to ensure that it is always done in the safest manner.
If you have been injured in a serious car accident due to the negligence of a truck driver or company that did not abide by cargo regulations, you might have a claim. Moving forward with an injury claim takes the experience of a personal injury attorney who understands the ins and outs of the laws that dictate your case and can help you gather evidence and more. At Katz Kantor Stonestreet & Buckner, we want you to know that you are not alone in the midst of your case. Contact us for more information on how we can help at 304-431-4050.
Note: Secondary sources were used to create this piece and, because of this, the information included has not been independently verified. If you notice a factual issue with our posting, please bring it to our attention and we will correct or remove it as soon as possible.
Disclaimer: Our intent in these posts it to bring attention to the dangers members in our community face and to encourage caution. Accidents do happen and we hope these posts help those affected. However, this information should not be misconstrued as legal or medical advice, and we urge you to contact a trained legal professional for more information regarding your specific situation.