A crowbar flew through an attorney’s windshield earlier this week, striking him in the head and killing him. As reported by the Boston Globe, the 63 year-old defense attorney’s car went off the road, struck an unoccupied car, and drove over an embankment before coming to rest in a parking lot. The driver was taken to a local hospital where he died.   

Debris coming loose from or being “kicked up” by cars accounts for hundreds of roadway deaths each year. According to a Government Accountability Office study from 2012, 440 deaths and 10,000 injuries were caused in 2010 due to unsecured loads. During summer months, the risk can rise with an increase in the number of landscaping vehicles on the road. These vehicles often have tools that are stored on trailers and in pickup truck beds, and often carry bushes and other plants to install on the job site. Some of these items can easily fly off the back of a truck if not properly secured.

Massachusetts, like all 50 states, has passed laws to prevent unsecured loads on vehicles. M.G.L. c. 85, §36 imposes a monetary fine upon any person who operates a vehicle with a load for which it was not designed. Additionally, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has published cargo securement rules for interstate trucking companies. As discussed in a previous SUGARMAN blog, however, penalties for driving with unsecured loads are not limited to those imposed by statute, or even by regulatory agencies. When people are injured by objects coming loose from other vehicles, they may have valid personal injury claims against the driver, or some other person or entity responsible for the vehicle from which the object came loose.

SUGARMAN’s personal injury attorneys have extensive experience with complex motor vehicle cases, including many cases involving debris or equipment coming off of vehicles and causing injuries. If you have been injured as a result of a roadway incident, please contact us by phone at 617-542-1000, by email at info@sugarman.com, or by filling out a Contact Form.