Debris Falling from Large Commercial Vehicles Can Cause Serious Accidents On Massachusetts Highways
Sharing the highway with tractor-trailers and other large commercial vehicles is an every-day fact of life for Massachusetts drivers. Although many drivers are intimidated by these huge semi-trailers, flatbeds, and dump trucks, the fact is that the vast majority of commercial motor vehicle operators are safe, experienced, professional drivers with excellent safety records, often accumulating millions of miles on the road without a single accident. However, when one of these vehicles is involved in an accident, it’s often a serious one.
According to statistics gathered by the Massachusetts State Police, in 2011 there were over 100,000 traffic accidents on Massachusetts roads and highways. Of these, over 1800, or 2%, involved a commercial vehicle of some type, accounting for 8.5% of total fatalities.
But not all of these accidents actually involve a collision.
Falling Debris and Equipment Dangers
It’s not uncommon for debris or loose equipment to fall from moving trucks and cause damage to other vehicles. A leaky load from a dump truck is one of the most notorious hazards, but unsecured chains, tools, and other items are also commonly dropped.
Tarp coverings that haven’t been properly tied down can cause accidents, not because they can cause damage themselves, but because they cause drivers to react suddenly and often without noticing the other vehicles in their path.
Due to the wear and tear they experience, whole tires and rims can often separate from the axles and present particularly dangerous projectiles because of their size and weight and the fact that their path is unpredictable. They can easily smash right through a windshield, or knock a motorcycle rider from their bike.
It’s more common to have just the tires come off the rims, or large pieces of tread from tires that have been retreaded. Any of these items have the potential to cause extensive damage to a car, and in some cases serious injury or death, as well as to cause a major accident from drivers swerving to avoid an obstruction that suddenly and unexpectedly presents itself.
Most incidents of debris falling from commercial vehicles only cause damage to the cars behind them, but they do occasionally result in injury and death.
Parties Involved in Liability Claims
When someone is injured by falling debris from a commercial vehicle, there are several parties that can possibly be held liable in a personal injury lawsuit. These include the operator of the vehicle of course, but also the individual or company that owns the truck. If the accident involves a tire that comes apart or fails in some manner, it’s possible that the manufacturer of the tire could face liability if it can be shown that there was a defect that occurred during the manufacturing process that lead to the failure.
Liability depends on whether or not the driver or the owner of the truck were somehow negligent. If the driver didn’t take proper precautions to secure their load, or if regular maintenance schedules weren’t adhered to, or if known defective equipment was allowed to be put into service, it’s highly probable that they will be found at fault for the accident.
Proving liability in accidents involving commercial vehicles is a complicated process, and anyone who has been injured in one should retain the services of an experienced personal injury attorney like Peter Ventura to ensure their rights are protected.
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