Three people were injured after a big rig overturned on the Highway 121 in Napa on November 21, 2008 leaving boulders strewn across the highway. According to this CBS News report, the Peterbilt truck overturned on a 40 mph curve on the southbound side of Highway 121 at Duhig Road. California Highway Patrol officials said the truck spilled its load of rocks and boulders onto the path of three oncoming vehicles whose drivers tried to take evasive action, but were not successful.
Two people who were in a Porsche Carrera suffered major injuries in this 11/21/08 accident, although they were not life-threatening. The roof of the Porsche had to be cut to extricate the vehicle’s occupants. The occupant of a Toyota Camry suffered moderate to major injuries after his car spun into a guardrail and caught fire. The driver of the big rig and the driver of a Mitsubishi Montero, which was also involved in the accident, were uninjured. CHP officials said the big rig slid to its side as it dumped boulders at least 2 feet in diameter along the highway.
Hundreds of people are killed in California each year as a result of freeway or highway debris and thousands more are severely injured. The California State Department of Transportation (Caltrans) estimates that 140,000 cubic yards of debris is dumped on California’s roadways every year. In the last two years, highway debris has been responsible for 155 California traffic accident deaths.
In California, motorists who drop debris from their vehicles on to the roadway can be fined and held criminally and civilly responsible for injuries caused by the debris they leave on the roadway. In this case, I would look into what caused the big rig to overturn. I’d bet that truck was overloaded and could not handle the turn on the highway even at 40 mph. Overloading big rigs is also the primary reason for mechanical failures, especially brake failure. If it is determined that this accident was the truck driver’s fault, both the big rig driver and his employer could be held liable for the accident and the injuries caused to the three victims.
I’d urge the injured victims to seek the assistance of a knowledgeable California personal injury attorney who will also advise how their auto insurance policy will apply to a roadway debris accident and help them secure the compensation they rightfully deserve. California personal injury law firms with the best reputation will not charge any fees for a consultation.