Drivers who cause these accidents because of their unsecured truck cargo may be just as liable for the resulting harm and injury as drivers who cause accidents due to distracted driving or a tire blowout.
When these accidents happen, they can do unthinkable damage to your family through injuries, property damage or worse — the loss of a loved one. Sadly the cause of your car crash and injury is often due to simple truck driver negligence. If you or your loved one have been involved in truck accidents, collision with unsecured cargo, contact with a truck’s hazardous cargo, or even road side debris, our law firm can help you. You may be entitled to compensation from the truck driver and/or the shipping company.
Statistics on Unsecured Cargo
A recent study by AAA conducted over a 4-year period found that dangerous debris was a factor in more than 200,000 crashes. Two-thirds of these truck accidents were the result of truck cargo not being properly tied down. These crashes resulted in 500 deaths and 39,000 personal injuries.
Why does this happen? Although truck drivers and the trucking companies employing them have a responsibility to properly secure cargo loads on trucks, it is not uncommon for truckers to neglect this duty and fail to check that their cargo is adequately secured. If you’ve been hurt by events like these, you may want to understand that there is a legal standard for determining fault and responsibility for negligence.
Common Types of Unsecured, Fallen Cargo
Unsecured cargo accidents are part of a bigger category of trucking accidents that involve trucking-related debris on the road. You’ve most likely seen boxes, mattresses, lumber and/or other large items littering the side of the road. Chances are good that this roadside litter is fallen truck cargo that was improperly secured while the trucker was loading it.
Some common types of fallen truck cargo include the following:
- Raw materials (lumber, sheet metal)
- Household goods (furniture, mattresses
- Car parts (tires, drive shafts)
A recent incident reported to state authorities involved a port-a-potty that flew off a truck and caused significant damage to other vehicles on the highway. Identifying the type of cargo that caused your car wreck and injury may be an important component to filing a claim.
Unsecured Cargo Accidents
Unsecured truck cargo accidents can be easily prevented by standard safety measures. But because of the unrealistic deadlines that many shipping companies impose on their drivers, some truckers work too hastily when securing their cargo. A driver’s rush to get their cargo loaded and on the road can result a life or death situation to someone.
Types of Unsecured Cargo Accidents
Unsecured cargo does not only mean falling objects. When truck cargo is not properly secured, the entire vehicle becomes a hazard on the road. Unsecured cargo means an imbalanced vehicle that is much more prone to causing an accident. Here are some examples of accidents caused by negligent handling of cargo load and unsecured material.
- Improperly secured cargo shifts around in the truck trailer, it creates a critical mass for rollovers. A sudden gust of wind may provide all the momentum needed for the cargo to carry the truck over onto its side.
- If a semi-truck makes a sudden turn or experiences a skid-out, the unsecured load may swing hard against the trailer of the truck, causing it to hinge hard against the cab and even spin the whole vehicle around.
- Falling cargo. Many unsecured truck cargo accidents are caused simply by the cargo falling out of the trailer and flying into the road at top speed. These large, heavy materials can be deathly if they strike the hood or windshield of an oncoming car.
- Debris/Road Hazards. A truck’s cargo may simply fall out of the flatbed or trailer and become an extremely dangerous obstacle. Even if no other motorists are around, big objects lying in the middle of the lane pose serious hazards on the highway when other drivers come upon them unaware.
- Other accidents. Falling debris may cause accidents simply because of the alarm they create. Unexpected flying cargo can force cars to swerve suddenly and risk hitting other motorists, or can frighten drivers, causing them to slam on their brakes.
Causes of Unsecured Cargo Accidents
An unsecured load may be the result of poor balancing of cargo while loading or improper tie-downs. But other factors can contribute to an unsecured truck load, such as:
- Shifting of the load during travel
- Wear and tear on the ropes, chains or straps
This is why the trucker is responsible to check the cargo’s security at regular intervals. Failing to perform this crucial step may constitute negligence on the part of the truck driver whose unsecured load caused the accident.
The types of accidents and causes that result from unsecured cargo is typically caused by negligence, which forms the basis of liability in a potential lawsuit suing for compensation. Your lawyer will seek to prove that the defendant in your case failed to exercise reasonable care in their duty to secure the truck’s cargo.
The truck driver and the trucking company may be held liable for violation of load securement rules depending on their role in the accident. The trucking company may handle the actual loading of the truck and fail to properly secure the cargo, and the truck driver may neglect his or her duty to regularly inspect it to make certain the securing devices are adequately fastened.
Contact Truck Accident Lawyers If Injured by Fallen Cargo
Unsecured truck cargo accidents can do unthinkable damage to drivers like you. Between the personal injury that may result and the massive property damage that is practically a given in these situations, an unsecured load on a truck can mean serious physical and financial damage to you and your family.
Accidents like these are the reason why Kevin P Landry Law Office dedicates part of our practice to trucking law. Over a combined 20 years, we’ve helped hundreds of people who have been involved in truck accidents. We never pull any punches when it comes to proving negligence and seeking the maximum amount of compensation.
If you or a loved one are picking up the pieces after an accident involving unsecured truck cargo, we can make sure that you receive the compensation you deserve. Call us at 401-751-0101 for a completely free, no-obligation consultation. We are here to help you understand your rights.