Per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), truck drivers must secure their loads properly to maintain control of the vehicle and ensure their safety and that of others. If you have been injured in an unsecured load truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation.
An experienced unsecured truck load accident lawyer in Rock Hill, SC, will investigate the crash, gather evidence, and help you determine the at-fault. Your truck accident attorney may also be able to negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to get you the maximum amount of compensation available.
At Elrod Pope Law Firm, we are passionate about helping victims recover financially after a devastating Rock Hill, SC, accident. We understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll an accident can have on your life—and we’re here to help. Schedule a free case evaluation with us today.
Types of Cargo That Can Spill and Cause an Accident
One of the primary causes of accidents involving unsecured loads is cargo spillage on a commercial truck. Below are some of the cargo types that can easily spill:
- Bulk materials, such as gravel, soil, and sand
- Construction materials, including lumber and bricks
- Automotive parts, like tires and engines
- Livestock and animals
- Chemical products
- Hazardous waste products
How Do Unsecured Truck Load Accidents Occur?
No two crashes are the same in an unsecured truck load accident, but certain circumstances could lead to a crash. These may include:
- Cargo spillage: Cargo spillage is one of the leading causes of unsecured truck load accidents. When trucks are loaded improperly, cargo can easily fall off the trailer, leading to a severe accident.
- Inadequate load restraint: Drivers must use proper straps, nets, and other restraints to keep their cargo in place. If these restraints fail or break, cargo can become loose and cause an accident.
- Swerving to avoid an unsecured load: Sometimes, drivers may swerve to avoid an unsecured load spilling onto the road. If you lose control of the vehicle while making this maneuver, it may cause a serious accident.
- Load shifts on semi trucks: The lack of proper load distribution on semi trucks can also lead to an accident. If the load shifts while the vehicle is in motion, it can affect how it handles, leading to a serious crash.
FMCSA’s Regulations on Cargo Securement
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, FMCSA, has clear-cut cargo securement rules every truck driver and company must follow. Below is a quick highlight of some of these load securement regulations:
- All devices and systems used to secure cargo to and within the vehicle must be in perfect working order, i.e., with no damage or weakened components. These include straps, frames, tie-downs, dunnage bags, shoring bars, chains, and load binders.
- Cargo must be distributed evenly across the vehicle and secured from shifting during transit.
- Articles of cargo most likely to roll or shift must be restrained using wedges, chocks, a cradle, and other equivalent devices.
- There must be one tie-down if the articles of cargo are 5ft or less in length and 1,100 lbs or less in weight. Anything more than that should have at least two tie-downs.
Who is Liable in an Unsecured Truck Load Accident?
Liability in an unsecured truck load accident is often complex and depends on the specifics of the crash and whether the FMCSA rules were violated. Generally, the liable party could be one or more of the following:
- The truck driver: The driver may be held liable for failing to secure the cargo properly, driving recklessly, or violating federal regulations related to cargo securement.
- The cargo owner: If it is found that the cargo was improperly loaded or secured, the owner may be liable for any damages caused.
- The trucking company: This company may be liable if it fails to provide its employees with proper training on loading and securing cargo or to inspect and maintain vehicles as required by law.
- The manufacturer of cargo restraint devices: If investigations reveal that a defect in the cargo restraint device caused the accident, the manufacturer may be held liable.
Overall, determining liability in a truck accident is no simple task. An experienced attorney at Elrod Pope Law Firm can investigate your case thoroughly, engage experts to reconstruct the crash if necessary, determine liability, and help you pursue compensation. Contact us today if you’ve been injured in an unsecured truck load accident to find out how we can help.
FAQs About Truck Accidents
What happens when truck drivers ignore FMCSA regulations?
Violations of these regulations can result in citations, fines, or even license suspensions or revocations. Additionally, truck drivers may be liable for damages resulting from their negligence and failure to comply with FMCSA regulations.
What can I do if I’ve been injured in an unsecured truck load accident?
You should contact a skilled personal injury attorney immediately after seeking medical help and recording a statement. We will review your case, determine liability, and help you seek compensation for your injuries.