Imagine explaining to your insurance company that a garbage truck suddenly jumped the curb, tore through a neighbors lawn, crashed through a light post and plowed into your East Hanover home. After which, the exhaust from the truck set your house on fire, thus causing more than $100,000 in damage.
As improbable as the crash was, imagine explaining the cause.
According to media reports, the driver sneezed (yes…sneezed) causing a water bottle to become wedged under the truck’s brake pedal, preventing the driver from stopping the vehicle before it crashed.
The driver’s explanation smelled like the hot garbage engulfed in the fire. Police did not find a water bottle (although a can was located near the truck’s pedals). Miraculously, no one in the home was hurt, but the driver was taken to the hospital to address a head wound.
While the circumstances may be unusual, it is a classic case of negligence. The driver had a duty to use reasonable care in driving the truck, and an argument can be made that he breached that duty of care when he crashed into the home.
Of course, the driver would argue that it was merely fluke chain of unfortuntate events, and that he did everything he could to avoid an accident. Nevertheless, his actions (or inaction) was the proximate cause of the crash and the ensuing damage to the home. The driver or (depending on additional information) the garbage truck company, could be held liable and the damages could include the cost of replacing the home.
Source: NJ.com, Sneeze may have prompted garbage truck crash, fire that destroyed East Hanover home, May 8, 2013