Falling debris is a problem on California roads. Sometimes debris and cargo fly off a semi truck or big rig, and this debris may include heavy items like timber or steel beams. If you have been injured in a falling debris accident, you may face enormous medical bills and the need to take time off from work. You may be able to recover damages from the truck driver, the trucking company, or another party. However, truck accident cases can sometimes be more challenging than car accident cases. It is important to retain a Folsom truck accident lawyer who understands how to recover evidence in these types of cases, and who understands the FMCSA and state regulations governing truck driver and trucking company conduct. At The Law Office of Black & DePaoli, PC, our principal is a former insurance adjuster and law enforcement officer who may be able to put his insights to use for you.
Incidents Caused by Falling Debris
Some of the more dangerous types of debris include steel beams, timber, wooden beams, logs, and tools. When these items fall off a commercial truck, they can fly through a windshield or cause a driver to swerve to avoid them and collide with another car. Parties that move heavy cargo owe a duty to people on the road to properly secure the load. If you were in an accident caused by debris or cargo, you may be able to hold the truck driver, the trucking company, or a third-party loader liable for your damages.
Generally, a Folsom truck accident attorney will need to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant was negligent by showing the duty of the defendant, a breach of duty, causation, and actual damages. In falling debris cases, it will be important to figure out who was responsible for adequately securing the cargo.
There are Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations related to securing cargo on commercial motor vehicles. The cargo is supposed to be appropriately distributed and secured, and it is supposed to be secured so that it does not fall, leak, blow away, or shift within the truck in a way that negatively affects the driver’s ability to keep the truck stable or maneuverable. The cargo is supposed to be secured such that it does not fall off the truck and hit another vehicle. Additionally, any equipment used to operate the truck or secure the cargo is also supposed to be appropriately secured.
If a truck driver, trucking company, or third party that loads the cargo does not meet the FMCSA standards, it is likely that the jury will find that it breached the duty to use reasonable care. Such violations can cause serious truck accidents, resulting in injuries to multiple people. Flying debris can cause one driver to swerve into another car and potentially cause that car to hit another car. There may be multiple accident victims claiming against the insurance policy.
Often, the injuries arising out of a falling debris accident are catastrophic, particularly if the accident occurs at high speeds. These catastrophic injuries may include paralysis, traumatic brain injury, blindness, spinal cord damage, or the loss of a limb. There may not be sufficient coverage on a truck driver’s insurance policy to cover the full scope of your damages, so it is important to look at the case from all angles and determine whether more than one party was at fault for the falling debris.
If liability is established, you may be able to recover both economic and noneconomic losses arising out of the injuries, including medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket costs, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of activities, and mental anguish.