Skip to Content

I hit a refrigerator on the freeway. Who is responsible?

4 lanes of traffic on a freeway

If your car hits debris on the roadway, the party to pursue would be the driver from whose vehicle the debris fell. Whether it’s a refrigerator, a tire, a ladder, or a mattress, the driver who failed to properly secure the object is legally responsible for the damage to your car and your injuries. If the driver was driving a company vehicle, then his employer is likely on the hook for your damages.

If you cannot identify the vehicle from which the object fell, then you can make a claim under your own auto insurance if you have uninsured motorist coverage. But be forewarned: your insurance carrier may argue that you bear some of the fault for the accident if the object you hit was stationary on the roadway. Reason: The law requires a driver to maintain a speed that would allow the driver to go around a fixed object on the road. It would be a different story if, just before you hit the refrigerator, it had been hit by another vehicle and was bouncing around on the freeway, which would make it difficult for you to avoid it. But once it came to rest on the roadway surface, the debris becomes part of the roadway and something you have to maneuver around. Your uninsured motorist carrier could argue that you should have been attentive enough and traveling at a speed that would have allowed you to react and maneuver around the fixed object.