When many people think of a truck accident, they envision one where the truck collides with a passenger vehicle. However, in some cases, a collision can be caused by the cargo being transported falling off the truck. This can cause a devastating crash if the heavy load hits other nearby vehicles or drivers swerve to try to avoid the cargo strewn across the road or highway.
Why Loads Can Fall Off a Truck
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has specific guidelines for securing various cargos that are often violated when the load falls off a truck. Common reasons for these accidents include:
- Stacking too high. In an effort to save money and reduce trips, some trucking companies load as much as possible onto the truck’s trailer or flatbed. If the goods are stacked too high, this increases the likelihood that it will fall while being transported.
- Not distributing weight. When the load is not distributed evenly, the truck can become top-heavy or overloaded. This can make it more difficult for the trucker to slow down or safely turn, with a deadly jackknife, rollover, or other serious collision being the consequence.
- Not securing the load. The trucker or shipper loading the goods must secure the load properly or the risks that it will fall off the truck increases dramatically. Even when the truck driver is not responsible for loading the cargo, he should inspect the load to be certain it is properly secured before beginning his trip.
- Faulty cargo restraints. Tie-downs, steel straps, harnesses, and webbing are some of the restraints used to secure loads. When they are defective or too worn to be effective, the cargo can fly off the trailer or flatbed. Trucking companies and truckers have a duty to properly maintain and replace these restraints.
Possible Liable Parties in a Falling Cargo Truck Collision
There could be more liable parties than the trucker and trucking company when a load falls off the truck. If the shipper gave the trucker faulty loading instructions or loaded the cargo improperly, this company could face liability as well.
If you or a loved one were injured in a falling cargo truck accident, you need an experienced truck accident attorney to identify all the liable parties and pursue claims against them so that you receive the compensation that you deserve for your injuries. To learn about our extensive experience in truck accident cases and how we can help, call our Norfolk office to schedule a free consultation today.