Falling debris from a big rig can make an otherwise safe road a very dangerous place for both smaller vehicles and pedestrians, requiring cars to either swerve to avoid the debris or be hit by the objects. Truck drivers must follow federal and state regulations in order to avoid the risk of causing an accident because of falling debris. If you are hurt because items that were improperly loaded on a commercial vehicle fell and caused a collision, the truck accident attorneys at the Dean Law Firm can represent you in a lawsuit near Ocala against a driver and possibly a trucking company.Holding a Negligent Driver or Trucking Company Accountable
Falling debris accidents may be the result of overloading a commercial truck, not adequately securing cargo, or parts of a defective vehicle falling off. In any accident case, it is important to examine whether all Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations were followed and whether a breach of the FMCSA regulations caused the accident. The regulations include numerous cargo securement rules that went into effect in 2004.
Under the FMSCA, truck operators are required to firmly immobilize or secure any cargo on a moving truck with structures that have adequate strength as well as dunnage (loose material that is used for protection and support), tie-downs, shoring bars, or dunnage bags. Any cargo that might roll needs to be restrained appropriately. If a piece of cargo is not blocked to prevent it from moving forward, a certain number of tie-downs must be used based on the length and weight of the cargo. For example, one tie-down must be used for a piece of cargo that is five feet or shorter in length and 1,100 pounds or less.
Commercial trucks used in interstate commerce must have a certain capacity to decelerate in a forward direction or accelerate in a rear or lateral direction that the cargo securement system in place on the truck must withstand. The system must withstand 0.8 g deceleration in a forward direction, as well as 0.5 g acceleration going rearward and 0.5 g acceleration moving laterally.
Generally, you can sue a truck operator if you were injured by falling debris from its vehicle, if you can prove the elements of negligence. To succeed in this claim, you would have to show that the truck operator owed you a duty of care, the truck operator breached that duty, the breach caused debris to fall and harm you, and you incurred actual damages. Every driver in Florida is required to act with reasonable care in avoiding posing foreseeable risks of harm to others in the vicinity. This obligation can be violated by carelessly or improperly loading a truck such that the debris falls off. In addition to showing that the driver or company breached its duty of care, you would need to prove that you would not have been hurt if its conduct had conformed to the appropriate standard in the situation.
In some limited circumstances, the doctrine of negligence per se may apply in Florida. This modified version of a negligence claim is based on the violation of a regulation that was designed to protect a particular class of persons. After proving that this type of violation happened, you would need to show that you are a member of the class to be protected, that the injury is the type the regulation was supposed to prevent, and that the defendant’s failure to follow the regulation was the legal cause of the accident. As with other types of personal injury claims, these elements would need to be shown by a preponderance of the evidence, which means that they are more likely than not to be true.Seek Guidance from an Ocala Attorney after a Motor Vehicle Collision
A falling debris accident can have devastating consequences for Ocala drivers and pedestrians. The motor vehicle collision lawyers at the Dean Law Firm have experience building strong truck accident cases and pursuing substantial sums of compensation for people who have been injured. Often, trucking companies and their insurance carriers try to avoid paying you compensation you deserve. We understand their tactics and how to fight them. Call us at 352-387-8700 or contact us via our online form. We represent injured individuals in Crystal River, the Villages, and other areas of Florida, including Marion, Sumter, Lake, Citrus, and Levy Counties.