Injuries Caused by Crash Debris May be Compensable in Dayton

On Monday March 2, 2015, there was an incident in which a semi-truck hauling 43,000 pounds of potatoes crashed through a cement divider, spewing debris into the northbound lanes of interstate 75. It was reported by WHIO the incident shut down parts of the interstate for about five hours while the scene was cleaned up.

The incident caused injuries to at least three people, who were transported to Miami Valley Hospital for non-life threatening injuries. Those injured in this incident have a legal claim against the driver and/or the truck company (see legal commentary below).

Source WHIO Dayton

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Legal Commentary on Injuries Caused by Debris

You may be wondering if you can recover for injuries sustained from debris. The law is pretty clear.

If you have been injured by flying debris, the insurance company for the driver may deny responsibility, but they should not do so under most circumstances. In Williams v. Safe Auto Insurance Co, 2004-Ohio-3741, Joei Williams was injured when another vehicle collided with her parked car, which she was about to get in to. Ms. Williams was struck by flying debris from the accident, causing her injuries. The Court held that the other driver was responsible for her injuries.

In another case, Estate of Schmidt et al. v. Derenia, 2004-Ohio-5431, a truck driver struck a heavy steel bar laying on a road that punctured her fuel tank, causing diesel fuel to leak onto the highway. The driver of the truck attempted to stop the leak, but made no attempt to set up flairs or otherwise warn other drivers of the hazard caused by the leaking fuel. Several minutes later, a motorcyclist slid on the diesel fuel which had leaked onto the freeway, causing him to crash. The Court found that the truck driver and her company were responsible for the motorcycle crash.

In addition to being able to hold the individual driver responsible, most accidents involving a work-truck will allow the injured person to hold the employer legally responsible as well. This is due to a basic legal principle called respondeat superior, which is Latin for “let the master answer.” This legal principle allows an injured person to hold an employer responsible for injuries caused by its employees when the employees are acting within the course of their employment.

Alex Freitag is an Ohio personal injury lawyer. He offers a free consultation.

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