According to the most recently compiled crash data, over 4,500 large trucks were involved in fatal traffic accidents in a single year in the United States. Unsecured truck loads are a common cause of these fatal accidents. Loose cargo can become airborne, striking individuals with deadly force or causing the truck to lose control and roll over or collide with other vehicles.
In fact, more than one-third of fatal wrecks involving road debris occur when drivers swerve to avoid objects ahead. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued guidelines to regulate how cargo is to be secured based on the size, type, and weight of the materials being transported. Yet, with the strict and clear guidelines in place, who is liable when loose cargo causes a dangerous traffic accident?
The North American Cargo Securement Standard requires that:
- Every commercial vehicle’s cargo be safely distributed and secured.
- The commercial vehicle’s body and equipment, including spare tires, tailgate, and cargo restraining devices be secured.
- Secured cargo must not interfere with the safe operation and exit of the commercial vehicle at any time.
Trucking Cargo Accident Liability
Every commercial trucker should be aware of and adhere to federal cargo securement standards. If they neglect to properly contain, immobilize, and secure cargo prior to departing, they can be held liable for any damages resulting from unsecured truck loads. Truck drivers and companies can be held responsible for:
- Imbalanced loads
- Cargo that is too close to the edge of the flatbed
- Cargo against the door
- Improper use of restraints
- Unsecured tarps
- Open or unlocked doors
Determining liability for an unsecured truck load accident depends on establishing precisely how the hazard occurred and who allowed it. If the trucking company promotes and permits unsafe cargo loading practices, they may be liable. If the driver disregards federal guidelines creating a risk to others, they may be liable.
What to Do After a Truck Accident
If you were involved in a truck accident, it is important to document all the information as soon as possible. If you are physically able to do so, take down license plate numbers, collect the contact information of witnesses, and take photos and video of the accident scene. This information can increase your chances of recovering the compensation you deserve after being injured by a careless driver. A Virginia Beach truck accident lawyer can investigate the details surrounding your wreck to determine if negligence is to blame for your accident.
Our Virginia Beach Truck Accident Lawyers Represent Victims Injured by Loose Cargo on Trucks
When a truck is moving at an average speed of 50 miles per hour, unsecured cargo can become a deadly weapon. If you have been injured by an object falling off a tractor trailer, you may have cause to bring a claim against the truck driver or their employer. At East Coast Trial Lawyers, our skilled Virginia Beach truck accident lawyers will review your case and recommend the next best steps to take. Call us at 757-352-2237 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, we serve clients throughout Chesapeake, Eastern Shores, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk.