For economic reasons or convenience, some people don’t always pay moving companies or other professionals to move cargo safely. Sometimes it is easier and cheaper to load things up that need to be moved in the back of or on top of a car than it is to hire professionals. Unfortunately, when people do this, they are not always careful with ensuring that the cargo is secured to the car. Unsecured cargo can easily fall into the path of oncoming vehicles, creating road debris which can cause serious accidents and injuries to drivers and passengers in these vehicles.
Unsecured or improperly secured cargo is also an issue caused by some trucking companies. There have been numerous Virginia truck accidents caused by cargo falling off a commercial truck onto the road, causing drivers to swerve and crash or the cargo falling on another vehicle and causing serious injury to its occupants.
A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety showed that over a three-year period, road debris was responsible for over 200,000 accidents and 500 deaths throughout the country. These numbers are especially alarming because the accidents caused by fallen road debris are preventable if people would properly ensure that the cargo they are transporting is secured.
When the debris causing the accident can be traced to a particular company or person, then a person who suffers property damage or personal injury can seek compensation from that company or person. However, in some cases, the road debris causing the accident is already on the road, having been dropped long before the victim comes across it. In these cases, it is more difficult for the victim to receive compensation. Although the state bears some responsibility to ensure the roads are safe and free from dangerous debris, seeking compensation from the state for injury or damage caused by road debris can be difficult.
While government entities state that they cannot be held responsible for damages caused by unreported road debris, if there is evidence that it did not take proper precautions to ensure that reported debris was cleared from the road, it would be possible for a driver to make a claim for injuries sustained from an accident. Drivers should note that the procedure for starting a lawsuit against a government agency to sue for damages is different than that of suing a person or a private company. A Virginia personal injury attorney can help with this process.
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The state of Virginia has one of the strictest statutes in the country. If a driver is found guilty of having an unsecured load in their car or truck, they can be fined up to $2,500. If there is an accident that happens as the result of the debris, and someone is injured or killed, the driver can be arrested and charged criminally for that crash, in addition to violating the unsecured load law.
When debris falls from an improperly or unsecured load and causes an accident that injures someone, that party should contact a Virginia truck accident attorney to see what legal recourse they may have against the negligent driver.
Call Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp today to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a member of our legal team and find out how we can help you get the financial justice you deserve.