Everyone is familiar with the hazards of driving behind a commercial truck. However, if you're following a big commercial truck on the highway and it drops debris in your path that damages your car, is the company responsible to pay for it?
If the truck drives over something in the roadway, that's an unforeseen hazard, the company generally would not be responsible. But when the debris comes from the truck, under the law, the company is liable for any damage it causes to your car.
Shalynn Reynolds says she and her husband were driving their Prius behind a big commercial truck on Highway 101 Southbound near McDowell. Reynolds says hanging from the truck was a gigantic dirt clog.
"As soon as the big, huge dirt clog loosened and came down, it just hit the ground and sprayed up all over," Reynolds said.
Reynolds says the debris damaged her hood and doors, but mainly her windshield. She says the truck belonged to a Phoenix company called Buesing Corp. She called them to request $300 for a new windshield. She says she was clear with Buesing that the damage was not from an unforeseen road hazard.
"It was obvious that the truck had not been properly cleaned, it wasn't something in the road that he just ran over, this was actually falling off the truck," Reynolds said.
Reynolds says the Buesing rep seemed disinterested but promised to look into the complaint and get back with her, no one from the company ever did.
"I mean this wasn't something small, it came off because of his negligence and it hit and did damage and you assume the trucking company is going to be responsible for that, and they're not," Reynolds said.
Reynolds has a message for Buesing Corp, and any other company with truck drivers.
"If they don't do the cleaning, then the trucking company needs to stand up and say 'Our people didn't take care of this, we're going to take care of this and make it right,'" Reynolds said.
Commercial drivers are required by law to inspect their trucks before every use for potential hazards.
Buesing Corp told CBS 5 News that they take these matters very seriously. They say they left a voicemail for Reynolds and didn't hear back from her. Reynolds says she never got a voicemail from Buesing. Buesing says they conducted a thorough investigation and concluded that the alleged incident was not supported by the facts they gathered, and they, therefore, denied Reynold's claim.
If any motorist is involved in this type of incident, they should gather as much evidence as possible, send copies to the company, by certified mail, and demand they forward the claim on to their insurance company. It should include an estimate of the repair and an exact amount that you want the company's insurer to pay.
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