Driving behind a commercial vehicle can be anxiety-inducing; but, when that truck has unsecured cargo flying out, the situation becomes terrifying. If a piece of debris hits your car, it can result in thousands of dollars in property damage and might even trigger a crash that results in injuries.
If this happens to you, you’re probably wondering who is responsible for your damages. Because these cases are so complex, you should hire a Florida truck accident attorney to investigate the incident.
The liability for truck cargo hitting your car depends on the situation. Say a piece of lumber fell from a commercial vehicle and hit yours. The driver may be responsible because they failed to secure their load correctly. However, there might be instances where the company that loaded the cargo is liable because workers did not adequately secure items.
The company that the driver works for might also be liable. There are federal and state laws dictating how many hours truckers can drive before taking a mandatory break. Driver fatigue is already a common cause of truck accidents and may be one reason the trucker did not thoroughly inspect the cargo load or notice the lumber was not secured.
Remember that trucking and cargo loading companies have attorneys on their side. They will try to claim that you were following too closely or that your car’s damages occurred after the accident. These lawyers will be aggressive in their defense, which is why you need a Florida auto accident attorney on your side.
It will likely startle you to see truck cargo flying toward you. This can cause drivers to swerve out of the way, which may cause a single-vehicle crash or a sideswipe accident with another car. If your attorney can prove the truck driver or cargo loading company’s negligence caused your accident, you might be able to receive financial compensation for your losses.
There are four elements to negligence, and your attorney must prove all of them for a successful claim. They are:
The other driver owed you a duty of care. This should be easy to prove since all drivers owe everyone a responsibility to drive and act safely on the road.
The trucker breached that duty of care by allowing the cargo to be in a position where it could fall off the truck.
When the debris fell from the truck, it caused your accident.
Your damages and injuries were a direct result of the falling debris.
Remember, you only have four years to file a personal injury claim in Florida. If you don’t file within that time frame, you might not be able to secure compensation for your accident-related expenses.
As with any accident, it’s crucial to call the police right away. Take photos of the damage and the debris that hit your car. If the truck does not stop, write down any details you can remember, including the license plate number, company name, or vehicle make and model.
Ask any witnesses to stay at the accident scene until police arrive. Their statement may help your car accident claim. You should also check to see if there are any security cameras in the area. A car dashcam can also help prove liability. You might also need an estimate for how much it will cost to repair your car. You can do this by taking it to an auto body repair shop.
Make sure you keep all bills and receipts for all accident-related expenses. Without proof, an insurance company may claim that your costs were not as much as you say.
The best way to avoid falling debris from other vehicles is to remain alert behind the wheel. This includes keeping your eyes on the road, hands on the wheel, and mind on driving. Never allow yourself to be distracted by passengers, your phone, or the radio. When you drive focused, you decrease the chances of being hit by falling objects. Make sure not to tailgate, either. It will reduce the amount of time you have to avoid debris.
Being hit by falling truck cargo is a complex situation, and you might not know who the liable party is. When this happens, turn to the attorneys at the Law Offices of McCullough & Leboff. With over 25 years of experience, you can be confident that our attorneys will thoroughly investigate your case and work to hold the liable party accountable. Call us or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation today.