Inadequately Secured Cargo Accidents
Have You or a Loved One Been Involved in a Large Truck Accident in Texas?
Commercial trucks transport a variety of goods throughout Texas and across the country. Semi-trucks and tractor-trailers haul everything from lumber to packaged consumer goods to hazardous chemicals. While truckers carry out an important service for the country, it’s important that they perform their job safely and in accordance with Federal and State Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, including safely securing the load. Tractor-trailers that are improperly loaded or that allow their loads to shift or create imbalances can cause the driver to lose control over the vehicle causing collisions resulting in catastrophic injuries and deaths. These risks are also present when the load is in liquid or semi-liquid form allowing the weight of the load to shift quickly also causing instability and loss of control. Loads that are not properly secured can fall on nearby vehicles or worse become airborne missiles causing collisions and grievous injuries and death.
If you or someone you love has been hurt in an unsecured cargo accident with a large truck, you have the right to seek compensation for the harm you have suffered. At the Gilbert Adams Law Offices, our commercial truck accident attorneys help Texas injury victims and their families recover compensation for their injuries and losses from truckers, motor carriers, freight companies, and any other parties who may be responsible for the damages they have endured, including those who actually loaded the cargo.
Problems Caused by Improperly Loaded Cargo
Improperly loaded trucks present a danger to all motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians, and other parties on the road. Trucks that are overloaded, meaning they are loaded with more weight than the truck is intended to handle, are likely to tip over or spill goods during the trip. Even if they are within the legal weight limits, loads must be secured properly. The haul must be properly secured by chains, ropes and other tethers, and the weight in the trailer must be distributed in such a manner as to keep the truck balanced while driving. Federal regulations, in fact, set specific guidelines for truck drivers and motor carriers to follow in loading and securing hauls.
Trucks carrying loads that are too heavy or that are otherwise improperly balanced and secured risk several major hazards all of which can lead to life-changing injuries or death, including:
- Goods may shift during transport. A haul that is not properly secured or balanced could shift around during the trucker’s drive. If a truck’s haul is floating around, the truck can easily become imbalanced during the drive. The truck may then jack-knife or turn over during the drive, leading to a massive accident with any other vehicles unlucky enough to be traveling nearby. Shifting weights may contribute to the driver’s inability to swerve or brake suddenly.
- Goods may fly off the truck during transport. Goods that are not properly secured or become unsecured while in transit may fall off the trailer, creating a deadly hazard for other motorists on the road. A haul can be inherently dangerous, such as toxic chemicals, or objects can collide with other vehicles on the road leading to a severe collision.
Liability After a Collision Caused by Loose or Unsecured Cargo
Inadequately secured and unsecured cargo presents a serious danger to everyone on the road. Because the cargo being transported is often loaded by persons other than the truck driver, multiple companies can be responsible for contributing to the cause of the collision. This can be extremely important to obtaining full compensation, especially in collisions involving multiple vehicles or injuries where even increased insurance policy limits can be exhausted quickly.
First, truckers and freight companies are responsible for their own conduct and accidents caused by their trucks. Truckers and freight companies owe a duty to everyone on the road to operate their vehicles safely, including by carrying hauls that are loaded properly and are not overly heavy, in accordance with federal regulations. Federal regulations impose a responsibility on the driver to inspect the load and ensure that it is safely secured, even when the trailer was loaded by others.
The actual shipper of the freight is oftentimes also the loader of the freight can be held responsible for your injuries and damages. Often, trucks are loaded by third-party contractors or other parties hired for the sole purpose of loading. hired specifically for that job. In these circumstances, there is another critical reason to assert your claim against ALL persons or firms who participated in or had a responsibility to secure the load: the “empty chair” defense. Virtually in every suit, the truck driver (or insurance lawyers defending the case) will try to blame “the empty chair” or the company who loaded the freight. The loader of the freight will often allege the load was secured upon loading and it was later on during the transport that load became unsecured. To ensure a complete and full recovery for injured parties, it’s vital to conduct a full investigation and involve all responsible parties. A seasoned truck accident lawyer can help you investigate the circumstances of the accident and identify all parties who should be incorporated into your eventual injury claims.
Help is Available After a Texas Commercial Truck Accident
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident involving an 18-wheeler, flatbed, logging truck, tractor-trailer, or other large truck in southeast Texas or statewide, contact the passionate and dedicated unsecured cargo accident attorneys at the Gilbert Adams Law Offices for a free consultation. Call 409-835-3000, or contact us online for immediate assistance.