Who’s Liable in a Truck Accident Caused by Road Debris in Pennsylvania?
Unfortunately, other vehicles are not the only things that can enter the path of your car on Pennsylvania roads. Besides traffic, pedestrians, wildlife, potholes, and dangerous road conditions, your vehicle is likely to encounter road debris.
What does road debris mean? Road debris refers to any materials and objects that are not supposed to be on the roadway and increase the risk of auto accidents. Examples of debris in the roadway include fallen road signs, trees, and branches.
However, road debris may also fall from vehicles due to improperly loaded cargo. Wood, lumber, appliances, pieces of furniture, chunks of metal, as well as tires and other parts of the vehicle, may fly off of a car or truck, causing a potentially dangerous situation or car crash.
Debris-related accidents can cause brain trauma, spinal cord injuries, neck injuries, paralysis, and wrongful death.
In fact, road debris-related accidents injured nearly 40,000 people and caused about 500 fatalities across the nation between 2011 and 2014. Roadway debris collisions are more common on highways, and the vast majority of them are caused by inadequate vehicle maintenance or improperly secured loads.
A Tire Flies Off of a Truck and Injures a Woman in Clearfield County, PA
One such accident has recently occurred in Clearfield County. According to Connect FM, a 20-year-old woman was injured after a tire flew off of another truck when she was driving west on Interstate 80. The tire went through her windshield.
The debris-related accident occurred at around 8:30 a.m. on March 10. The tire flew off of an unknown truck. Luckily, the woman was able to pull off of the roadways and call 911 after the tire went through the windshield and roof of her car. If the driver of the truck is found, he or she could face charges for failing to stop and render aid after a road debris crash.
Failure to Secure Loads is a Violation of Pennsylvania Law
Under Pennsylvania law, drivers must adequately secure loads on their vehicles. Pennsylvania Statute Title 75 Pa.C.S.A. Vehicles § 4903 says that motorists must pay a fine of $100 to $300 for violation of the law. Improperly secured loads could lead to a fine of $300 to $1,000 if the violation resulted in bodily injury or property damage.
However, some Pennsylvania drivers routinely ignore the law, and many do not understand the risk of unsecured loads and cargo.
Liability in Road Debris-Related Accidents
If your motor vehicle is spilling its load and creating road hazards for other drivers, you are likely to be liable for the resulting harm. If unsecured cargo falls from a truck, the injured party may be able to recover damages from the trucking company that maintains the vehicle. However, proving liability in a truck accident caused by road debris can be tricky as it requires sufficient proof.
The victim may have a hard time proving that the tire, cargo, or another object or vehicle part flew off of another vehicle. Ideally, the victim should demonstrate dashcam footage or cellphone photos taken by their passenger, showing that the cargo was not properly secured or that the debris actually fell from the defendant’s vehicle.
Speak with a Scranton truck accident attorney if there is insufficient proof. Let our lawyers at Needle Law Firm investigate your road debris crash and establish fault. Call at 570-344-1266 to schedule a case evaluation.