Many drivers have had an experience similar to the following: You are driving down the highway when you see you are coming up on a huge tractor-trailer. You can tell by the way the massive vehicle is swaying from side to side that the truck is loaded up and, quite possibly judging by the way the vehicle is moving, the cargo it’s carrying is not secured tightly.
Traveling alongside 18-wheelers and other commercial trucks is intimidating enough, but worrying that a dangerous load will cause the truck to spin out of control, roll over, or have the load fall on your vehicle can be terrifying.
Up until a few years ago, there were hardly any laws that mandated how cargo needed to be secured. There were approximately 50,000 truck crashes each year annually that were caused by unsecured loads. These crashes killed almost 500 people each year and leave more than 10,000 people injured. Although the federal government and many states have since passed laws, unsecured loads are still a serious issue on the road.
Truck accident attorneys represent victims who were injured because of a crash caused by an unsecured load on a commercial truck. Victims of these crashes may be entitled to financial compensation for their medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, permanent disability, and more.
Watch Out for That Cargo
There are many different ways the unsecured cargo can cause a crash. For example, when a load is not properly tied down, it can shift around in the trailer of the truck. This greatly spikes the increase of a rollover accident.
If the truck driver is forced to make a sudden turn or skids, a load that is unsecured can slam against the truck’s trailer and cause the truck to spin out of control, slamming into anything in its way.
Accidents can also occur if the cargo falls off or out of the truck. These pieces of freight fly off the vehicle, traveling at high speeds, and can act as a missile, hurling towards other vehicles and many times, smashing through windshields. Cargo that has fallen on the road causes other vehicles to swerve in order to avoid hitting it, but this often means the vehicle is swerving into another lane and into another vehicle.
Causes of Unsecured Cargo
Some of the more common causes of unsecured load truck accidents in the cases we have handled include the following:
- Knowingly overloading the vehicle
- Loading unapproved freight
- Not completely latching the cargo door on the truck or fully closing it
- Not using straps, tie-downs, or other securing devices correctly
- Using defective securing devices
- Not loading the cargo so it is evenly balanced in the vehicle
- Not conducting periodic checks of the cargo to make sure it has not shifted during travel
Contact Our Firm Today
Each of the above factors stems from an act of negligence on the part of the trucking company, truck driver, freight company, or some other responsible party. This means that the liable party could be any one of these entities or could be more than one party. A Virginia truck accident lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation of the accident and determine who should be named in any legal action the victim decides to pursue. Call Shapiro, Appleton, Washburn & Sharp to schedule a free consultation and find out what legal recourse you may have.