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Liability of loading a farm vehicle in public right a way?

by Phil
(Hood River , Oregon)

Neighbor uses public street to load out his farm produce at harvest. There are numerous fruit bins up and down st. and three to four fork lifts/tractors at any one time. One lane is usually tied up and occasionally both lanes (two lane road) are blocked while loading out is in progress.

My wife hit a bin while turning from driveway onto roadway. Early morning and sun was in her eyes momentarily. Also, further down road both lanes were blocked.

Oregon state law indicates that one cannot block a right a way wwithout a permit and also a landowner cannot create a hazard to the traveling public. No permit, no warning cones or signs visible. County Sheriff indicates that right of way should remain free.

My State Farm adjuster indicates that my wife is 100% at fault since fruit bin was "stationary" and theorically could have been avoided. We say otherwise, since bins should not have been in the right a way in the first place.

Your thoughts?


Hello Phil,

Well, I think your wife is partially responsible for this. She is probably not 100% for her the loss. What would this mean?

In Colorado, the rules is Modified Comparative Fault -- 50 Percent Bar. Pleas see: C.R.S. ยง 13-21-111. This rule means that a damaged party cannot recover if he is 50 percent or more at fault, but if he is 49 percent or less at fault, he can recover, although his recovery is reduced by his degree of fault.

This therefore means that your daughter will have to be less than 49% at fault for her to recover something. This, therefore, will be a question of who is more at fault. That would be the question State Farm will have to answer for you.

Remember that your adjuster has a duty to defend you and advocate for you. Do not let get away. For more information on fault, please see:

Good Luck,

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