Everybody knows that trucking accidents are serious crashes that often leave a path of debilitating injuries and devastating damage in their wake. However, when we picture these trucking accidents, we often tend to imagine them involving collisions between trucks and some other vehicles—not realizing that trucking accidents that involve falling cargo are just as catastrophic.
When a truck’s cargo is not secured correctly, it often leads to fatal outcomes involving motorists, pedestrians, and truck drivers. In fact, according to a AAA study, falling cargo contributed to more than 200,000 crashes over four years, resulting in 39,000 injuries and 500 deaths. That is why if you have been in a falling cargo accident, you need the help of an experienced truck accident lawyer fighting for you.
How Do Falling Cargo Accidents Happen?
Even though the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) provides strict regulations regarding how drivers secure their cargo, fatal accidents unfortunately still happen. Sadly, these falling cargo accidents transpire all across the country—from killing a driver in Georgia to crushing a bicyclist in California. Ultimately, the bottom line is these accidents can happen everywhere and result from a variety of reasons; however, the more common causes include the following:
Just because a truck contains its cargo does not mean that the load is safe. Truck drivers still need to make sure to secure their shipments and take specific measures to prevent the cargo from shifting. In addition, drivers also need to check on their cargo periodically during the transport, ensuring that the load is in place at all times. Failing to do so may result in the cargo spilling out of the truck or in the truck tipping over.
Anchors, tie-downs, and other safety devices that secure cargo are crucial in making sure that accidents do not happen. However, what happens when these safety measures fail? To prevent this problem from occurring, drivers need to do regular checks and ensure the condition of these safety mechanisms before securing any cargo.
Uncovered Trucks or Hauling Over the Limit
Materials such as rock, gravel, and sand are not an unusual sight on a truck. However, these loose objects may pose a significant risk to the other drivers and pedestrians if the objects fly off from an uncovered or an overfilled truck. It only takes one rock crashing into a windshield or a motorcyclist to cause a severe and fatal accident.
Serious Injuries Resulting From Cargo Accidents
What makes these specific accidents so deadly is that cargo may fall at any time and without warning—leaving motorists, pedestrians, and the truck driver with little time to react.
As these loads come undone and cause severe accidents, the specific injuries that may result include:
- Neck and back injuries: As many victims of falling cargo are either slammed into hard objects or crushed by the weight of the cargo, neck and back injuries are common. These injuries range from moderate to severe and may significantly impact a person’s ability to perform daily activities.
- Traumatic brain injuries: These injuries usually result from an external force to the head, such as a blow or a penetrating wound, and are often associated with several severe symptoms, such as headaches, mood changes, vomiting, dizziness, and concentration problems.
- Spinal cord injuries: Severe trauma to the spinal cord, which falling cargo can cause, may result in chronic damage to the spinal cord and, consequently, permanent paralysis.
- Severe lacerations: Broken glass or sharp metal from the crash may penetrate a victim’s skin and cause severe lacerations or cuts.
- Broken bones: Usually, falling cargo accidents involve more broken bones than a regular car crash. Mainly due to the sheer force and weight of the cargo.
Who Is Liable for Falling Cargo Accidents?
Victims injured in these types of accidents not only have to deal with their significant injuries, but frequently have numerous questions, a list of concerns, and needs that they want to be met. Specifically, who may injured individuals hold accountable for their injuries and damages? Proving fault in these falling cargo accidents is quite complicated and requires the injured party to prove negligence on the part of the trucking company and/or the truck driver. Stated simply, to collect compensation for your injuries, you need to show that the at-fault parties failed to exercise a reasonable duty of care in securing the truck’s cargo.
If the trucking company failed to secure its cargo correctly or did not maintain its truck in good shape—resulting in doors opening, safety mechanisms failing, or debris falling—then the trucking company is liable. In this case, injured individuals may hold the company liable for resulting injuries.
Even though truck drivers may not necessarily be responsible for the maintenance of their trucks, drivers are accountable for their actions while driving, such as checking on the load during transport and maintaining good driving behaviors, both of which can help prevent cargo-related accidents.
Sometimes a trucking company will hire a third party to help with particular tasks, such as loading or unloading cargo. If these subcontractors are in charge of securing or loading the shipment, and they did not properly secure the materials, then the subcontractors may share in the liability for your injuries.
How an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney Can Help
Nobody can replace a loved one or remove the pain of a falling cargo accident. However, by obtaining an experienced truck accident lawyer to handle your case, you are ensuring that you’re doing everything you can to maximize your ultimate compensation. These attorneys can not only investigate the accident, obtaining all of the crucial evidence needed for your case, but they can also ensure that you name all potential defendants in your case and pursue all possible avenues of compensation.
If you suffered injuries due to falling cargo, do not wait any longer; contact a knowledgeable and experienced truck accident lawyer today.
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