There are many ways in which a truck can cause damage on the roady. A distracted driver, a mechanical failure, or even a pothole can send an 80,000 pound truck careening into a 5,000 pound passenger vehicle. But one of the most disastrous incidents that can occur is a truck losing or spilling its cargo. Unfortunately, this type of event is all too common.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by a fallen truck load, you are not alone. You may feel confused and overwhelmed, but the experienced, excellent attorneys at Giddens Law Firm are prepared to fight for justice and compensation on your behalf. You can reach out to us any time for a free initial consultation, where we can review your case and begin to address any questions you may have. Most likely, first among these is: who is responsible for securing a load on a truck?
Identifying Liable Parties in a Truck Accident Case
When a truck load falls, there are a few parties who may be responsible, depending on the details of the case. These parties include:
- The truck driver. In some cases, the fault of the spilled cargo lies with the driver. This may be true if the driver was exhibiting any kind of negligence while driving, such as texting or driving under the influence. The driver may also be responsible if the cargo spill was caused by reckless driving of any manner, such as speeding, tailgating, or unsafe lane changing.
- The trucking company.. There are different requirements for packing, securing, and transporting different types of cargo, all of which are intended to prevent a load from falling off the truck. For instance, wooden beams will be secured and loaded differently than metal roofing. If a trucking company is not exhibiting best practices when cargo is loaded, or has improperly trained their employees on how to do so, they could be at fault for the accident. If the cargo fell because it was not properly secured, this is the trucking company’s responsibility. Generally, a trucking company is responsible for inspecting their cargo, making sure it is properly secured and not obstructing the driver’s few, and that the weight is within legal limits and evenly distributed.
- The shipping company. In some instances, a truck’s cargo load is packed by an entirely separate shipping company. If the load’s falling is a result of it being improperly packaged, the shipping company could be responsible.
- The city or town. In select cases, the city or town in which the accident occurred could be held responsible for the accident. This may be the case if the load falling was caused by the truck hitting a pothole or encountering any form of poorly maintained or unsafe roadway. Maintaining a safe road for all driver’s is the city’s responsibility, and if they fail to do so, they could be at fault.
Determining Who Is Responsible for Securing a Load on a Truck in Case of Accident
With most accidents, it’s the insurance companies and insurance adjusters that determine fault. They will investigate the accident in great detail, and ultimately come to a conclusion about who bears responsibility for the collision. Much of this will be accomplished from afar — reviewing photographs of the accident, speaking to witnesses on the phone, etc — but they may also perform some fieldwork. Ultimately, the insurance adjuster will use this information to generate a decision on who is responsible. In some cases, fault may be shared by multiple parties. But this decision is not the end all and be all: If you disagree with the insurance adjuster’s determination, you and your attorney can dispute the outcome of the claim.
How are Truck Load Spills Prevented and Regulated?
The FMCSA has very specific requirements for the ways in which cargo must be secured. Violation of any of these carry serious consequences, and can cause horrible accidents. For example, the FMCSA requires that “cargo securement systems be capable of withstanding the forces associated with following three deceleration/accelerations, applied separately”:
- 0.8 g deceleration in the forward direction;
- 0.5 g acceleration in the rearward direction; and
- 0.5 g acceleration in a lateral direction.
There are also regulations for securement devices. Every truck that’s transporting a heavy load must abide by these requirements for tiedowns, headboards, anchor points, and all other devices used to keep the cargo in place. In regards to tiedowns, “there must be one tiedown for articles 5 ft or less in length, and 1,100 lbs or less in weight; two tiedowns if the article is 5 ft or less in length and more than 1,100 lbs in weight; or greater than 5 ft but less than 10 ft, regardless of weight.” Anything likely to roll during transport — for instance, wooden logs — must be kept in place with wedges, chocks, a cradle, or the equivalent.
All of this must be strictly adhered to. If not, the driver and all other involved parties risk repercussions and causing a catastrophic accident.
Filing a Personal Injury Suit
If your needs cannot be met through the insurance claim — which is very often the case — filing a personal injury claim may be your best course of action. Truck accidents often cause severe and long lasting injuries, which can also impact the victim’s ability to enjoy and participate in life. What’s more, in the vast majority of cases, the person most severely injured in a truck accident is not an inhabitant of the truck, but rather a pedestrian, cyclist, or, most commonly, member of a passenger vehicle. If you have experienced severe injuries as the result of a fallen truck load, you should speak to your Giddens Law Firm lawyer to discuss whether this may be an option for you and if they can help you determine who is responsible for securing a load on a truck. In the state of Mississippi, you have three years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury or property damage claim, but it’s best not to wait that long. Your Giddens attorney will work with you to assess the value of your case and act as quickly as possible.
Why Giddens Law Firm?
Giddens Law Firm is one of the premier personal injury firms in the state of Mississippi. John D. Giddens has spent the past three decades working tirelessly to protect the interests of his clients and help them achieve both justice and fair compensation.
The firm prioritizes a balance of speed and thoroughness; we approach each case with both diligence and a keen attention to detail. When you work with Giddens Law Firm, you can rest assured that no detail will fall through the cracks. Our reviews and credentials speak for themselves, and we have a stellar track record of securing multi-million dollar settlements for our clients.
With Giddens Law Firm, you don’t need to worry about racking up mysterious legal fees, or being handed an unexpected bill you can’t afford. We always discuss fees up front, so you know exactly what you’re paying for. Your initial consultation and case review is always free, and we do not get paid unless you win.
We believe all victims deserve justice, and we aim to provide that. Don’t hesitate to reach out for consultation.