Personal Injury Attorney Ben Schwartz explains to a viewer the debris from a dump truck does not make the driver responsible for damages. You should obey the warning signs on the back of a dump truck that warns to stay back 200 feet driver is not responsible for a broken windshield.
Hi, I’m Attorney Ben Schwartz,
Today we are going to do a video with a viewer question. Roger from Smyrna, Delaware sent me an email. Actually, sent me a picture, I’m going to show it to you in a second and we will zoom in on it. But essentially he wants to know when I’m riding behind a big truck like a dump truck and debris falls out and hits my car, is the driver of the dump truck responsible? The reason why he’s asking is that he saw a sign on the back of a dump truck that says ‘warning stay back 200 feet, not responsible for broken windshields.’ Here is a pic, this is the actual picture that he sent me.
Okay, so warning stay back 200 feet not responsible for broken windshields. Here is what I got to tell you. Is it a good idea to stay back a few hundred feet when you are traveling behind a dump truck? Absolutely! Is the driver of the dump truck responsible if debris comes out of the truck and hits your windshield? Absolutely! Now there are a couple of different scenarios where a dump truck could end up sending debris back to strike your vehicle causing damage like a broken window. But it can also cause injuries because sometimes what hits the window comes through the window. Sometimes it surprises the driver of the following vehicle and the driver of the following vehicle loses control. Sometimes the debris from the dump truck lands on the roadway and doesn’t strike the vehicle but vehicles try to go around it and strike each other, sideswipe each other and run off the road. You know debris from dump trucks and other commercial vehicles is a big problem and that type of accident causes many injuries and a lot of property damage every year.
I want to tell you there are two different ways debris from a dump truck could cause an accident. One is debris coming out of the truck. The second is the truck kicks up debris and if there are stones or pebbles or other small items in the roadway and the tires of the dump truck strike the stones, the driver of the dump truck didn’t know the stones were there. He is going 55 miles per hour, then the driver of that dump truck has not done anything wrong and can’t be held legally responsible for the dump truck tires kicking up debris that occurs naturally on the roadway. But if you have a situation where the debris is inside the dump truck and the load is not properly secured, meaning that the stuff in the truck is allowed to fly out, land on the roadway, or fly out and strike vehicles behind the truck, then that’s a problem. That does give the driver of the vehicle, that is injured or damaged, that situation does give the following driver the right to sue the driver of the dump truck. Because drivers of dump trucks have a legal obligation in every state, in the United States, to keep the load secured, meaning cover it. In that way when you are driving down the road at 55 miles per hour and the wind hits something, it doesn’t lift the stuff out of the back of the truck and deposits it on the roadway or on the cars behind.
So it is a really good question. I think that the sign on the back of that dump truck is designed for the situation where the dump truck tires might be kicking up road debris and it’s good to say stay back 200 feet we are not responsible if our tires kick up a stone in the road and that stone hits your windshield. That’s true, they’re not responsible because they didn’t do anything wrong. But if it’s stuff coming out of the dump truck, it’s an entirely different situation and that sign does not apply.
Thanks for asking the question. Thank you for sending in the picture. If you have a legal question that you would like answered, or you know something pertaining to car accidents or personal injury, law, or litigation, send me an email. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for watching!