You’re driving down the freeway, paying attention to the road and the other cars around you, just like you’re supposed to. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, a big steel pipe falls from the truck in front of you and smacks right into your car. This causes you to swerve and hit the car next to you. You’re hurt, the other car’s driver is injured, and both of your vehicles are definitely hurt!
If something like this happens, no matter what the object is that causes your car accident, do you know who’s at fault? Not all accidents happen because of poor driving decisions. Things falling from other vehicles that the other driver did not secure properly can be extremely hazardous. So, who pays for damages caused by a crash like this?
General Liability for Accidents Involving Objects Falling from a Vehicle
Just because an object falling from another vehicle causes a crash, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the person’s fault who is hauling the item. And it doesn’t mean that the driver is liable either. So let’s try to make sense of that.
Maybe the driver in question did all they could to tie down their load, even spent extra time and money to ensure a safe journey for all involved. Still, a problem can occur. Things don’t ride as expected, or the wind is blowing extra hard and shifts objects around. Maybe the driver had to stop quickly for a pedestrian crossing at some point, and the way their cargo was stacked moved significantly. None of this is technically the driver’s fault. They did their part to keep their load safe, but still, an accident can occur.
If the driver of the load did their part in securing their gear, even though an accident still occurred, they will probably not be held liable.
Carelessness in Securing Objects for Hauling
When someone is negligent in tying down their load, this is a different story. These drivers are asking for trouble, especially if they are traveling on bigger roadways at high speeds. Serious and even deadly crashes can take place because of laziness or neglect.
Just think, a truck is moving only 50 mph and drops a few items from their truck bed. It is like they are hurling deadly weapons at other vehicles driving behind them. It can happen fast; it can be dangerous and even fatal.
Things that most often fall from vehicles include:
- Work equipment (tools or lumber)
- Appliances (refrigerators, washers, and dryers)
These kinds of objects can fall from a trailer or vehicle, causing others to swerve or crash while trying to avoid the items. Or the objects can even go through another vehicle’s windshield, causing damage and injury.
Drivers are expected, by law, to secure their load so that it doesn’t fall, shift, blow off, or somehow escape during transport. If falling objects cause a crash because they were not properly secured, there may be fines involved or compensation required for those that incurred damage and/or injuries.
If you have found yourself seeking compensation for an accident like this, hiring a personal injury lawyer at Gainsburgh, Benjamin, David, Meunier & Warshauer, L.L.C. is in your best interest. Proving that the object that fell from the vehicle was because of negligence on the part of the driver will be much easier and more streamlined with the right attorney on your side.
What is the Driver’s Duty in Avoiding Falling Items?
The driver of any vehicle has the responsibility to be as safe as possible while driving. If a driver has sufficient time to avoid danger in the form of falling debris or had an indication that the load in front of them could be falling had time to avoid it, there could be an argument as to who is at fault.
Generally, if the driver isn’t following too closely and is in an accident, the crash would be out of the driver’s control.
Tips to Staying Safe on the Road
Keeping yourself and the people around you safe should be a top priority whether you’re hauling things or driving behind someone that is. Some of the things that you can do to stay safe include:
- Securing all cargo with heavy-duty straps or ropes (remember to make sure they are in good condition)
- Take more than one trip to avoid a load that is too heavy or too large
- Stop during your drive (in a safe place) to check on your gear and make sure it’s still secure
- Don’t tailgate other cars, especially those carrying a load, so that you have time to get out of the way if something were to fall
- Stay alert and always watching for potential dangers
- Minimize all distractions while driving
Unfortunately, unsecured loads that cause accidents are not that abnormal. Even though they happen frequently, drivers can avoid them entirely by taking just a few extra minutes to secure your load properly.
There is even a “National Secure Your Load Day” that occurs each year on June 6th to honor those whose lives have been impacted by unsecured load injuries and accidents. It is also a day for education reminders and encouragement about how important it is to check your load, check it again, and always keep it secured and safe for everyone.
Protect Yourself – Legally
If you or someone you know has been in an accident caused by something falling from a car or truck, Gainsburgh, Benjamin, David, Meunier & Warshauer, L.L.C. is ready to help. With over 70 years of experience, we know how to navigate through even the toughest and most complicated legal issues.
A trusted lawyer handling all parts of your claim will help ease your burden and leave you to live your life and focus on what’s most important to you. Contact us at (504) 522-2304 to schedule an appointment with a knowledgeable attorney today.