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Who Is Liable for Damage or Crashes Caused by Truck Debris?

Driving on the highways alongside large commercial trucks is something many of us do every single day. Because of their weight and size, many people worry about being involved in crashes with these highway behemoths. However, the risk of accidents caused by big trucks isn’t always due to collisions with the vehicles themselves. Instead, they can be caused by truck debris.

Whether it’s from improperly secured cargo or loose parts falling off the truck itself, debris can pose a significant hazard to other drivers and their passengers, leading to accidents, injuries, and even fatalities. Unfortunately, crashes and vehicle damage from truck debris are more common than you think. If you or someone you love was injured or incurred vehicle damage as a result of truck debris, here’s what you need to know.

What Are the Types of Truck Debris Crashes?

Truck debris can damage vehicles and cause serious accidents. The nature of the damage and the severity of these accidents can vary widely, depending on the type of debris and the circumstances of the situations.

Here are some common ways in which truck debris can impact vehicles and road safety:

  • Flying Debris: Objects that fall from a truck and strike a trailing vehicle directly can cause immediate damage. This type of debris could be anything from small tools or parts to larger cargo. High-speed impacts can shatter windshields, dent bodywork, or even penetrate the interior of the vehicle, leading to potential injuries to the occupants.

  • Tire Blowouts: Pieces of semi-truck tires, commonly referred to as “road gators,” can act as large, heavy projectiles when they dislodge. These can lead to severe damage to a car’s undercarriage, hood, or windshield, and the suddenness of such events can also startle drivers, causing them to lose control.

  • Obstructed Roadways: Larger debris, including fallen cargo or parts of the truck itself, can create significant obstacles on the road. Trailing drivers may not have enough time to react, leading to collisions with the debris or swerving into other lanes or off the road entirely.

  • Spills: In cases where the truck is carrying liquids or small materials, spills can create slick surfaces or obscure the road, significantly increasing the risk of vehicles losing traction and resulting in multi-car pileups or off-road accidents.

  • Evasive Maneuvers: Even if the debris itself doesn’t cause direct damage, swerving to avoid objects can lead to accidents. Drivers may collide with other vehicles, barriers, or lose control, especially at high speeds or in dense traffic.

  • Chain Reaction Crashes: One vehicle’s response to debris can set off a series of reactions from other drivers, leading to multi-vehicle collisions. This is particularly dangerous on highways where vehicles are traveling at high speeds and close distances.

Who Can Be Held Liable for a Crash Caused by Truck Debris?

In cases of accidents caused by truck debris, determining liability can be complex and depends on several factors:

  • Truck Driver and Company Responsibility: Commercial truck drivers and their employing companies have a legal obligation to ensure that their loads are secure. This includes proper loading, securing, and inspection of the cargo before transport. If negligence in these duties leads to debris causing an accident, the driver and/or the company can be held liable.

  • Maintenance and Equipment Failure: If the debris was due to a failure in maintaining the truck properly, such as tires blowing out or parts falling off due to wear and tear, liability may lie with the trucking company or the truck owner.

  • Manufacturer Liability: In some cases, the debris may originate from a defect in the truck itself or its components. If this is the case, the manufacturer of the truck or part may be held liable under product liability laws.

  • Other Parties: In certain scenarios, other parties might be involved. For example, if cargo was improperly loaded by a third-party shipping company, that company could be held responsible.

Contact Our Oklahoma Truck Accident Lawyers for a Free Case Review

There’s never an excuse for crashes and damage caused by truck debris. When these incidents happen, it’s always because a person or party failed to do their job. Whether it was a failure to secure cargo, a failure to maintain and replace tires as needed, or a failure to produce defect-free components, negligence is something that can be proven.

At Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers, our Oklahoma City truck accident attorneys work hard to help people injured in all types of truck accidents, including those caused by truck debris. If you or someone you love suffered damages due to airborne or road truck debris, we want to help. Contact us today for a free consultation.