Who is Responsible for a Truck Accident Due to Falling Cargo?

Trucks are vital to a country’s economy. They help transport goods and raw materials from one point to another. Trucking is also a lucrative and exciting career.

But trucking is also an industry that has plenty of risks. The size of the truck, along with the speed at which it travels, makes it extremely difficult to respond to sudden hazards on the road. Truck accidents also tend to cause severe injuries, especially for the other motorists involved. In such situations, the best option is to seek legal recourse and punish the at-fault party.

A truck accident lawyer can help you evaluate all the legal options you have at your disposal. They help you build a strong claim and ensure you receive the maximum compensation.

Because of the many unique factors, including the fact that a lot of movers secure, load, and drive the moving vehicles all by themselves, accidents because of falling cargo happen all too frequently. When such incidents do occur, they can result in devastating consequences.

What Causes Cargo to Fall from Trucks?

Despite the strict rules and regulations regarding the securing of cargo on trucks, accidents caused by falling cargo still continue to occur all too frequently. While the key contributing factor in such cases is often negligence, some of the most common secondary reasons include:

Inadequate or Broken Tie-Downs

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has strict guidelines when it comes to how many tie-down cargo haulers you need to use when transporting cargo.

In addition, the administration also dictates that drivers should stop from time to time to ensure that their tie-downs stay secure. Unfortunately, not many truck drivers follow this set of guidelines, which usually leads to cargo loosening during transportation.

Shifting Cargo

Most of the rules and regulations set by the FMSCA have to do with the proper distribution of cargo to help ensure that cargo doesn’t move around while being transported.

If cargo isn’t loaded properly, it might end up shifting during transport, increasing the risk of the cargo falling out of the truck.

Not just that, shifting cargo tends to affect the stability of the truck, leading to accidents.

Improper Stacking

When moving cargo using an open trailer, you need to keep your cargo loads low so you can prevent the cargo from falling back and onto the road behind you.

Unfortunately, most individuals and companies alike try to decrease the number of trips by overloading their trucks and trailers. This enhances the risk of cargo falling from the vehicle when the driver does certain maneuvers, like making sharp turns or when gusts of wind come through.

How Do You Hold the At-Fault Party Accountable?

If you are involved in an accident because of falling cargo, then you might be able to file a lawsuit for damages. There are two legal theories you can use:

1. Negligence

The main legal theory under which a lot of accident victims get compensation is negligence. You’ll need to prove that the other driver in the accident had a duty of care (which they do by virtue of just being in control of the wheel), and that they breached the said duty.

Furthermore, the victim has to prove that the breach of duty was the proximate cause and that the accident resulted in actual damages.

2.  Res Ipsa Loquitur

This term means “the thing speaks for itself” in Latin. When applied to personal injury claims, the term basically means that the accident wouldn’t have happened unless one of the parties involved in the accident was negligent. This theory applies to cases of fallen cargo accidents as well.

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