Every year, lawyers who handle semi truck accidents work with individuals who have been injured in semi truck wrecks involving objects falling from these big rig trucks. As unlikely as these events may seem, dangerous semi truck accidents that result from improperly secured loads and road debris happen quite often.
The results can be devastating, which clearly points out the importance of proper load handling and giving trucks enough space.
Falling Objects - Dangerous Situations
According to a study done by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, there were more than 200,000 accidents including semi truck 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.1
The study indicates that these accidents are four times more likely to happen on bigger interstates, with a large percentage of them involving trucks carrying poorly secured loads. In 37% 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.
What Are the Causes of Road Debris Accidents?
Semi truck accidents that involve falling debris and objects left on the road can cause extensive vehicle damage, injuries, and even fatalities. 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. Semi truck accident lawyers point out the two main reasons why these events occur:
- Poorly Secured Loads - A key 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 correctly secure the load to prevent shifting 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 truck or land on the road, causing drivers to swerve to avoid hitting the objects. In both cases, dangerous semi truck 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 especially 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?
Another concern with semi truck accidents caused by falling objects and road debris is dealing with the damage. The 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.
Most often, 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 own property damage coverage or uninsured motorist coverage. Coverage for all sustained 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. Semi truck accident lawyers recommend giving tractor trailers plenty of room and being alert to what is happening on the road ahead. Semi truck operators should also properly secure their loads and do their part to prevent dangerous semi truck wrecks!
Hildebrand & Wilson, Attorneys at Law
7930 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581
1AAA Foundation For Traffic Study: The Prevalence of Motor Vehicle Crasheds Involving Road Debris, United States, 2011-2014, 2016