Commercial trucks transport tens of thousands of pounds worth of cargo throughout the country to keep America running. If a truck’s cargo is not properly secured or tied down during transit, the resulting shifts can throw off the truck’s center of gravity and cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle, which could lead to a devastating accident. In addition, unsecured cargo could spill out onto the road.
If you were involved in a truck accident as a result of loose or spilled cargo, you could be entitled to compensation. The truck accident lawyers of the Pfeifer Law Firm have a thorough understanding of federal and state trucking industry regulations and can help you pursue the financial recovery you deserve.
today to discuss the details of your claim in a free consultation with a knowledgeable attorney.
Why Is It Crucial to Make Sure Cargo Is Properly Secured?
Unsecured cargo in large commercial trucks can cause a variety of serious problems on the road for both truck drivers and those around them. It’s critical for cargo to be properly secured because:
- Trucks have a higher center of gravity than most vehicles - A higher center of gravity makes trucks less stable, which means even subtle cargo shifts can throw a truck off balance and cause drivers to lose control.
- Securing cargo prevents things from rolling around - Certain types of cargo, such as logs or pipes, are prone to rolling loose if left unsecured. Tie-downs, wedges, chocks, and other restraints make dangerous cargo shifts less likely.
- Securing cargo prevents cargo spillage - Unsecured cargo that spills loose from trucks can cause significant damage, especially if it creates roadway obstacles or strikes other vehicles nearby in secondary accidents.
- Secured cargo makes rollover and jackknife accidents less likely - When cargo shifts occur and a truck’s center of gravity changes, drivers are more likely to lose control and experience rollovers or jackknifing.
- Secured cargo helps with maintaining even weight distribution - In addition to preventing rollover and jackknife accidents, even weight distribution decreases the likelihood of tire blowouts and other loss-of-control accidents.
Who Is Responsible for Securing Cargo?
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), any person who interacts with the cargo in a commercial truck has a responsibility to ensure the cargo is loaded and secured properly. This means multiple people could be legally liable if anyone is injured as a result of an unsecured cargo accident.
The following individuals and entities could be responsible for securing a truck’s cargo:
- The truck driver - A truck driver could be liable if they are initially responsible for loading cargo into the truck themselves or fail to check the cargo periodically to ensure it’s still secured during transit.
- The trucking company that hired the driver - The company that hired the driver could be liable if it failed to train its employees on the proper methods for loading and securing cargo.
- Other employees at the trucking company - If other trucking company employees helped the driver load or secure cargo, they could be liable, too.
- Shipping companies and their employees - If the driver or trucking company worked with a third party whose employees prepared the cargo for shipment, the people who initially loaded the cargo could be liable.
Common Injuries Caused by Unsecured Cargo Accidents
Unsecured cargo accidents can cause several types of serious injuries, including:
- Head and brain injuries, such as concussions, traumatic brain injury, and facial scarring or disfigurement
- Spinal cord injuries, which can lead to loss of sensation, loss of motor function, and partial or total paralysis
- Back and neck injuries, such as whiplash, strains and sprains, soft tissue injuries, and herniated discs
- Broken bones in the arms, hands, legs, knees, feet, ribs, pelvis, or collarbones
- Bruises and lacerations from direct impacts, broken glass, and flying or falling objects
- Heat, friction, and chemical burns from fires, caustic spills, and road rash
- Amputations of the limbs or digits from being pinned or crushed upon impact
Compensation for Improperly Secured Cargo Accidents
If you were injured in an Arkansas truck accident caused by improperly secured cargo, you could be entitled to compensation for the following accident-related losses:
- Past and current medical bills and rehabilitation costs
- Potential costs of future medical treatment
- Costs of at-home care or home accessibility modifications
- Property repair or replacement expenses
- Lost wages from missed time at work
- Lost future earning potential, if you suffer long-term disability
- Pain, suffering, and mental or emotional distress
- Grief and emotional counseling
- Loss of quality or enjoyment of life
- Punitive damages, if the at-fault party was extremely negligent
Proving Liability in an Improperly Secured Cargo Accident
To claim compensation after a truck accident, you must be able to prove that the truck driver or another party was liable for the damages you suffered. Unfortunately, truck accidents are often messy and complicated, so it can be difficult to determine the unique chain of events that led to a particular collision.
An attorney can help you identify and preserve the following types of evidence to support your claim:
- Data from the truck’s electronic tracking and logging devices
- Crash data from the truck’s “black box” device, if available
- Truck inspection and maintenance records from the driver or company
- Truck driver qualifications, training, and work history
- Truck driver cell phone or GPS records
- Photographic and video evidence from traffic or dash cameras
- Cargo loading manifests and other cargo tracking documents
- Collision diagrams from accident reconstruction experts
How Pfeifer Law Firm Can Help
With more than twenty years of experience serving injured victims throughout Little Rock and surrounding Arkansas regions, Pfeifer Law Firm can help you protect your rights and demand fair compensation for your losses. We can handle every aspect of your claim and ensure negligent parties are held accountable while you focus on your health and recovery.
We offer initial consultations completely free of charge, and unless we win compensation for your claim, you’ll never owe us a cent. Contact us
to get started with your free case review now.